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Markets Never Forget (But People Do): How Your Memory Is Costing You Money--and Why This Time Isn't Different


Think "this time it's different"? Think again.

From internationally recognized investment expert Ken Fisher comes Markets Never Forget (But People Do), a well-reasoned, logical, data-driven and often entertaining look at the many ways investors' memories fail them. What's more, Fisher provides tools investors can use to begin improving their faulty memories—now.

No matter how big, new and scary something may seem, according to Fisher we've almost always been through something similar before. And if you can remember that, find those other times and learn lessons from them, you can know better how to react—or not react. You can know that it's never as bad, as great or as lasting as your faulty memory makes you think. Just remembering that can make you a better investor. Don't forget. Markets don't.

Ken Fisher is best known for his prestigious "Portfolio Strategy" column in Forbes magazine, where his over 27-year tenure of high-profile calls makes him the fourth longest-running columnist in Forbes's 90-plus year history. He is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Fisher Investments, an independent global money management firm managing tens of billions for individuals and institutions globally. Fisher is ranked #252 on the 2010 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, and #736 on the 2011 Forbes global billionaires list. In 2010, Investment Advisor magazine named him among the 30 most influential individuals of the last three decades. Fisher has authored numerous professional and scholarly articles, including the award-winning "Cognitive Biases in Market Forecasting." He has also published seven previous books, including New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, The Only Three Questions That Count, The Ten Roads to Riches, How to Smell a Rat and Debunkery, all published by Wiley. Fisher has been published, interviewed and/or written about in many major American, British and German finance or business periodicals. He has a weekly column in Focus Money, Germany's leading weekly finance and business magazine.

Lara Hoffmans is a content manager at Fisher Investments, managing editor of, a regular contributor to and co-author of the bestsellers, The Only Three Questions That Count, The Ten Roads to Riches, How to Smell a Rat and Debunkery.

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1 The Plain-Old Normal 1

Yes Sir, Sir John 1

The Normal Normal 5

The Jobless Recovery 14

The Always Feared, Rarely Seen Double Dip 23

Chapter 2 Fooled by Averages 31

Bull Markets Are Inherently Above Average 32

Viva the V 36

Normal Returns Are Extreme, Not Average 47

The Pause That Refreshes (and Confuses) 49

Getting Average Returns Is Hard—Really Hard 53

Chapter 3 Volatility Is Normal—and Volatile 57

What the Heck Is Volatility? 58

Volatility Is Volatile 61

The Daily Grind 65

Stocks Are Less Volatile Than Bonds? 67

Economic Volatility—Also Normal 69

Volatility Isn’t Inherently Bad 71

Never a Dull Moment 74

Chapter 4 Secular Bear? (Secular) Bull! 81

Seeing the World Through Bear- Colored Glasses 82

Two Secular Bear Markets? 84

Stocks—Up Vastly More Than Down 90

Chapter 5 Debt and Deficient Thinking 101

Deficits Aren’t Bad, but Surpluses Will Kill You 105

The History of Big Government Debt 110

Just Who Is at Default Here? 116

Chapter 6 Long- Term Love and Other Investing Errors 123

No One Category Is Best for All Time 124

Long- Term Love Is Like Long- Term Forecasting—Both Wrong 129

It’s Still Heat Chasing Even When It Seems Safe 134

Use History to Your Advantage 146

Chapter 7 Poli-Ticking 151

Enter the Ideology- Free Zone 152

Your Party Isn’t Better 153

Presidents and Risk Aversion 155

Perverse Inverse—It’s Four and One 160

Poli- Tics Go Global 170

Poli- Tics Versus Entrepreneurs 172

Chapter 8 It’s (Always Been) a Global World, After All 177

It’s Always Been a Small World 179

Seeing the World Right 186

Conclusion 194

Appendix 197

Notes 201

Index 211