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The Only Three Questions That Still Count: Investing By Knowing What Others Don't, 2nd Edition


Learn the three simple questions that can help improve your investing success

Most investors understand that the best way to improve investing success is by knowing things others don't. But how can you consistently find new and unique information in an increasingly interconnected world? In The Only Three Questions That Still Count, the revised and updated new edition of Ken Fisher's investment bestseller, he teaches you a methodology you can use right away to find unique information—and the basis for a market bet. Fisher's methodology is simple—a set of three questions you can use to avoid common errors, find information others miss and gain control of your brain. Filled with images, anecdotes and practical advice to help you every step of the way, The Only Three Questions That Still Count is essential investment reading from a true expert and the ultimate guide to gaining the edge to leave your competition in the dust.

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 money management firm managing tens of billions for individuals and institutions globally. Fisher is ranked #263 on the 2011 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans and #736 on the 2011 Forbes Global Billionaire 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 eight previous books, including bestsellers The Only Three Questions That Count, The Ten Roads to Riches, How to Smell a Rat, Debunkery and Markets Never Forget (But People Do), 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 coauthor of the bestsellers The Only Three Questions That Count, The Ten Roads to Riches, How to Smell a Rat, Debunkery and Markets Never Forget (But People Do).

Jennifer Chou graduated from the University of California with a BS in finance. She was a research analyst of global capital markets and macroeconomics at Fisher Investments.

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xix

1 Question One: What Do You Believe That Is Actually False? 1

If You Knew It Was Wrong, You Wouldn't Believe It 1

The Mythological Correlation 8

Always Look at It Differently 15

When You Are Really, Really Wrong 21

2 Question Two: What Can You Fathom That Others Find Unfathomable? 31

Fathoming the Unfathomable 31

Ignore the Rock in the Bushes 32

Discounting the Media Machine and Advanced Fad Avoidance 33

The Shocking Truth About Yield Curves 38

What the Yield Curve Is Trying to Tell You 49

The Presidential Term Cycle 57

3 Question Three: What the Heck Is My Brain Doing to Blindside Me Now? 67

It's Not Your Fault—Blame Evolution 67

Cracking the Stone Age Code—Pride and Regret 72

The Great Humiliator's Favorite Tricks 85

Get Your Head Out of the Cave 87

4 Capital Markets Technology 95

Building and Putting Capital Markets Technology Into Practice 95

It’s Good While It Lasts 100

Forecast With Accuracy, Not Like a Professional 105

Better Living Through Global Benchmarking 113

5 When There’s No There, There! 131

Johns Hopkins, My Grampa, Life Lessons and Pulling a Gertrude 131

In the Center Ring—Oil Versus Stocks 136

Sell in May Because the January Effect Will Dampen Your Santa Claus Rally Unless There Is a Witching Effect 148

6 No, It’s Just The Opposite 155

When You Are Wrong—Really, Really, Really Wrong 155

Multiplier Effects and the Heroin-Addicted iPod Borrower 163

Let’s Trade This Defi cit for That One 170

The New Gold Standard 175

7 Shocking But True 185

Supply and Demand . . . and That's It 185

Weak Dollar, Strong Dollar—What Does It Matter? 200

8 The Great Humiliator and Your Stone Age Brain 213

That Predictable Market 213

Anatomy of a Bubble 221

Some Basic Bear Rules 229

What Causes a Bear Market? 244

9 Putting It All Together 251

Stick With Your Strategy and Stick It to Him 251

Four Rules That Count 257

Finally! How to Pick Stocks That Only Win 274

When the Heck Do You Sell? 281

Conclusion: Time to Say Goodbye 289

Transformationalism 290

Appendix A: Causal Correlations and the

Correlation Coeffi cient 295

Appendix B: News You Can’t Use 299

Appendix C: Greater Fools 301

Appendix D: I Hate Funds 303

Appendix E: Annualized Versus Average 307

Appendix F: The Wizard of Oz and an OZ of Gold 309

Appendix G: 1980 Revisited 313

Appendix H: Popular But Problematic 317

Appendix I: Covered Calls—Covering What? 321

Notes 323

About the Authors 329

Index 331