As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of Gustave Le Bon’s books; in particular I like The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. I reread it (again) last week and was delighted to uncover some insights that I had not recognized fully before. So I thought I’d share some of them with you because I think that a sound understanding of crowd psychology is really useful for constructing or refining your investment process.

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The enigma that is eccentricity can be unraveled by grasping this single statement; that which you perceive is a matter of the object of your perception and your apparatus of perception. Eccentricity, then, is as much a quirk of the popular mind as it is of a particular person. So with the assumption that you seek creativeness and insight — here’s how to think eccentrically, find your edge and risk little for lots.

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It may be just me, but it seems like the majority of market participants are terrible at dealing with one of the rudiments of life as a human being; time. It is almost as if the herding man lives in constant contempt for his former self and dogmatic surety about his current convictions (whether they relate to past, present or even the future). If this hunch happens to be true, then it doesn’t take much to see the folly – for surprise surprise; as time passes the much-loved present conviction joins the realm of past regrets. So to thwart the arrogance of the gold bubble-top callers and the long-for-the-sake-of-being-long speculators here I outline why you, they and — hell — I might just buy that forthcoming parabolic move in gold.

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Russell Napier (renown financial historian and consultant for CLSA) has articulated some fantastic insights on the generational cycle, bear market bottoms and currencies in recent years. So for this reason we decided to compile a ‘Russell Napier’s Greatest Hits’ video for you to enjoy. See below for the video and summary.

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Herd opinion seems to be a chronically troublesome matter for the allocator of capital. Not only does the herd hold a deep suspicion for making money as such, but it seems that agreement is regarded as an imperative when it comes to considering the future. I might contend that the question; ‘How dare they consider that which all of us are unable/unwilling to consider?’ contains the primary sentiment behind the crowd’s contempt and condemnation… Supposing that this suspicion is true it might be considered quite important for us, as speculators, to overcome this. As ever, we think that it is contrary thought that reveals the key to prudence. Here I invite you to mull over the controversial question in the title; is the crowd capable of correctly identifying intelligence and stupidity? continue reading »