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The Indomitable Investor

The Indomitable Investor: Why a Few Succeed in the Stock Market when Everyone Else Fails (Wiley; April 2012; $29.95; 978-1-1181-1034-8; Hardcover, Ebook) is the book Wall Street hopes Main Street never reads.

Written by Steven M. Sears, a Barron’s and Barrons.com columnist, The Indomitable Investor shows dumb money -- and that’s precisely how Wall Street views individual investors -- how to become smart money. His book is filled with rarely discussed insights and disciplines from the most successful and sophisticated investors.

The Indomitable Investor takes a sharply different approach from most investment books. Sears has for the first time synthesized complicated, disparate ideas critical to successful investing into an easily understood book anyone can use to better navigate the stock market. Readers will not encounter get rich quick gimmicks, or bogus moneymaking secrets common in other books.

The Indomitable Investor shows how some investors consistently outperform the market using a dramatically different approach from all others that is predicated upon not losing money by understanding and containing investment risks. Most individual investors wrongly believe the stock market is, first and foremost, a place to make money. They never recover from that fatal misstep.

Sears’ new book reveals how successful investors listen to the market, and just as importantly, ignore the distracting noise surrounding trading that tricks many people into making bad decisions.

“Anyone who spends meaningful time in the market quickly learns the public’s understanding of what occurs, and why, rarely resembles what takes place,” Sears says. “Most individual investors remain trapped in an often destructive investment cycle because they have no idea such a dichotomy exists.”

The Indomitable Investor’s key points:

  • The most important words investors can know: “Bad Investors think of ways to make money. Good investors think of ways to not lose money.”
  • How to use historical trading patterns and economic cycles to optimize investment decisions and increase returns.
  • How to boost mutual fund returns with easy adjustments to redirect the bulk of profits to investors —not mutual fund companies.
  • Using financial news, rather than getting used by it, to escape the dumb-money rut.
  • How to spot “black swans.”
  • How to break the curse of buying high and selling low.
  • Recognizing the influence of key behavioral finance insights, including how images cue investors to make risky decisions.

Sears criticizes Washington and Wall Street for lamenting the nation’s financial literacy crisis - and doing nothing to fix the problem. He proposes Washington’s leaders appoint an Investor Laureate to initiate a national conversation about investing anyone can understand. Washington now speaks through complex securities laws that can only be understood by securities lawyers, and Wall Street’s experts who find ways to sidestep the spirit, if not intent, of the very laws intended to protect investors.

Sears says merging the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission is a critical first step to insure the U.S. regulatory structure catches up with the modern market’s rapid evolutions. Everyone knows the futures market sets stock prices, but SEC does not regulate financial futures.

The essence of many people’s investment problems, Sears says, is traced to how quickly America morphed to a nation of investors, rather than savers. Many people mistakenly think what works on Main Street works on Wall Street. The disconnect bothers no one on Wall Street or Washington, which is why it is imperative to arm investors with the principles and disciplined approach detailed in The Indomitable Investor so they can begin taking more out of the stock market than the stock market takes out of them.