Chapter 1. INVESTING IS A SCIENCE

 

Seek simplicity, and distrust it.

 
 --Alfred North Whitehead
 

... but somebody said, "I don't believe it," and we had an interesting conversation because I said, "You don't have the option not to believe. Believing is not optional. If you accept that this is replicated science, then belief is obligatory."

 
 --Daniel Kahneman[1]

If we want to see investing clearly, one of the first things we must do is view its foundations—the ideas investing is supposedly built upon. This first chapter is going to be a doozy. In it, we're going to take a careful look at science and mathematics—two subjects that serve as the foundations of modern knowledge, especially for-investing—and debunk them. Well, not fully debunk, really. More like cast serious doubts on them both as panaceas for investing knowledge.

Math and science are, at their core, philosophies. They are ways of seeing the world; they are not some rules about the world we've discovered. I realize that will sound blasphemous to many. But as we uncover the inherent limitations—and benefits—sof math and science, much will be uncovered about how exactly stock markets and investing work.

APOLLO'S ARROW SHOT CROOKED

In the Greek Pantheon, Apollo was the god of reason. He represents light and the sun, truth and prophecy. He carries a bow and arrow—a master archer—and shot straight and true. He is an oracular god—the bringer of truths and clear vision.

And Apollo lives today! His spirit pervades the western world, ...

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