The Anxious Investor: Mastering the Mental Game of Investing

by: Scott Nations (0)

A revelatory new guide to becoming a smarter investor, drawing upon behavioral psychology, economic modeling, and market history to offer practical advice for reaching your financial goals

"With the equity and fixed-income markets off to a rough start in 2022, investors might do well to review the lessons shared in Mr. Nations’s book." —Wall Street Journal

The human brain is ill-suited to making wise investment decisions. We are overconfident in our own knowledge and hunches, terrible at assessing risk, and prone to chasing financial thrills rather than measured long-term goals. Making matters worse, periods of severe market turbulence—whether the dotcom bubble of the late 90’s, the Great Recession a decade later, or the brief, vertiginous COVID crash of 2020—bring out our most irrational selves, at the exact moment when the consequences for investment mistakes are most severe.

Scott Nations has spent his career studying market volatility. His firm, Nations Indexes, is the world’s leading independent developer of volatility and option-enhanced indexes. In The Anxious Investor, he teaches readers how to understand markets, master their own fear, and make the most of their money. Drawing upon cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology, Nations shows that the secrets to excellent investing lie in mastering the quirks of human psychology. How are some investors able to make prudent decisions under pressure, while others rely on gut instinct to disastrous effect? How can we prepare for a market crash before it happens? And what can help us stay the course when the waters get choppy? Using the stories of three infamous market bubbles as his backdrop, Nations offers readers history’s hard-earned lessons about greed, volatility, and value.

Whether you’re saving for retirement, a home, or a child’s college education, The Anxious Investor offers a blueprint for achieving your goals. While we can never know exactly which financial surprises may loom ahead, here is an indispensable resource for investors to make sense of them.

The Reviews we are with another of Scott Nations books. This is a "lighthearted" look at investment bias, and how we as humans invest with the wrong mindset in the worst possible ways at the worst possible times. I say lighthearted because he coaxes us, the readers, to employ some self examination throughout the book to see where each of us may be using a particular bias (and since none of us are perfect - I confess I saw myself in some of those situations), and how these psychological tricks we play on ourselves, work against us and not for us. It is also lighthearted in that, he urges us to do the self examination not in an accusatory way, but in a gentle, "yes, you suffer from this bias, but we all's human nature, and there is no shame in having succumbed to human nature." However, the good news is that, we CAN in fact fix ourselves, provided we are able to have this conversation about our own biases. I will admit that it is not easy, but with practice and with the courage to understand and then the important part, FORGIVE ourselves, can we improve our bottom line in our investment accounts. The most important tip I learned was that we should make sure that our investment time horizon matches our expectations of where we think our account balance should be. For example, if there is more than five years until we expect that we will need our money from our investment accounts, then we should not be worried about what the balance is in our portfolio on a monthly or even yearly basis. If these two expectations don't match, then expect to have trouble in justifying holding an investment that isn't performing as we would like with our long term goals.

After enjoying his "History of the U.S. in Five Crashes," I was looking forward to Nations’ next book. I was not disappointed. I found "The Anxious Investor" well researched, interesting and informative. New investors would benefit from becoming aware of the behavioral aspects of investing presented in the book. Likewise, those with more experience would be well advised to be reminded of biases in investing that they might be familiar with and to learn about some they may not realize they are subject to.

Scott Nations does not have the literary prowess of Jim Grant but he is a MUCH better investor. I always learn from SN and this book is no exception

Scott does a great job of describing the many pitfalls (biases) of investing. He uses historical market events to show where these biases have taken hold. Any type of investor can benefit from the many nuggets of good advice in this easy to read book.

Scott Nation's latest book is a fun and enlightening read. I am looking forward to discussing it at our investment group meeting.

The author does a great job describing the many thoughts that go through the head of the average investor and how to best manage them

This is a great resource for even an amatuer investor like myself to make more thoughtful and educated decisions.


I liked this book so much from the on-line library that I purchased it for a reference book.This book spoke directly to me as an anxious and emotional investor, rather than calculating and patient.

Price point is a little high in my opinion. I thought the fourth chapter was the strongest. That part of the book can read a little choppy, but contains a lot of insightful concepts into an investor's psychology. The first parts of the book seemed to me to run on a tangent or two. This is not an investment strategy book and I don't agree with all of the author's assertions or retelling of historical episodes. Still, I think this book is worth a read for anyone interested in investment psychology.

More helpful advice than I could possibly enumerate. Thank you for writing it. On to the next self help book.

Good book - adds stories to behavioral issues- most found in Kahneman Thinking Fast Thinking Slow..but distilled for the average investor..

Good, though unsurprising, survey of behavioral biases that can undermine investment performance. Lots of extraneous, granular narrative about market crashes of past decades, presumably lifted from the author's prior book, which was a history of crashes.

The Anxious Investor: Mastering the Mental Game of Investing
⭐ 4.4 💛 66
kindle: $3.59
paperback: $26.74
hardcover: $12.04
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