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The Sceptical Investor: How contrarians bet against the market and win - and you can too

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The Sceptical Investor: How contrarians bet against the market and win - and you can too

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Everyone wants to be a contrarian investor. From the hedge funds who bet against the US housing market in the run up to 2008, to George Soros’s billion-dollar bet against the Bank of England in 1992, some of the most famous and most profitable trades in history have been contrarian calls. And with the relentless growth of passive investing – investors blindly following the market – the opportunities for a smart investor to profit by betting against the crowd should be greater than ever. Yet being a contrarian is hard work. It takes patience, the conviction to stand by an unpopular viewpoint, and the mental toughness to endure being ‘wrong’ for prolonged periods of time. Standing out from the crowd goes against our every natural instinct. Which is, of course, why it works. So how do you go about it? There is no single, mechanical investment approach that marks an investor out as a contrarian. Instead, you need to adopt a sceptical mindset: a flexible mode of thinking that allows you to stand back and spot when the market’s view of the world is badly out of touch with reality – and the best way to profit when reality eventually reasserts itself. In The Sceptical Investor, John Stepek, executive editor of MoneyWeek, pulls together the latest research on behavioural finance, and examples from well-known contrarian investors, to offer practical techniques to help you to spot opportunities in common investment situations, from turnaround plays to bubbles and busts, that others in the market miss. It won’t make you popular and it won’t make you famous. But it will make you money.

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