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The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing: Do's and Don'ts to Protect Your Financial Life by Phil DeMuth, Ben Stein

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Chapter 2. Wall Street Therapy: For Good and for Evil

If we human beings are weak, impressionable creatures desperately looking for a little guidance where our investing is concerned, perhaps there is someone who can help us out a little. We have a lot of money; we just need someone to give us a helping hand. Is that too much to ask?

Welcome to Wall Street, the place where the "two to take him" (as in "a sucker born every minute and two to take him") live.

Unfortunately, entrance into this world does not mean that our problems are over; in fact, they probably have gotten worse. Before, we were struggling in waters over our heads. Now, we look down to see we are in a shark tank.

Here's how it works. Readers of a certain age will recall the three ego states from Eric Berne's Games People Play:

  1. Parent Ego State: Contains all the parental messages we heard growing up

  2. Adult Ego State: Our logical information-processing tool for dealing with the outside world

  3. Child Ego State: The kid who still lives inside each of us

Figure 2.1 diagrams the three ego states (Parent-Adult-Child) in a typical adult-to-adult transaction between a Wall Street financial professional and a client. Notice how investing is an adult-ego-state, thinking-oriented activity, with little role for either the parent or child ego states.

When it comes to investing, however, our parent and adult ego states are a little shaky, leaving our inner child feeling frightened and confused. This sets up the classic investing countertransference. ...

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