I recently read Will Storr’s excellent book ‘The Science of Storytelling’[i]; which is an exploration of how our brains process stories and why they are such a fundamental component of human experience. Whilst it is primarily designed as an aid for writers seeking to better craft their narratives; for me, it also served to underscore the underappreciated but essential role that stories play in financial markets.
Linking storytelling and investments is not a revelatory observation – investors are often lured into a poor decision by a compelling story and no financial bubble in history has been absent some beguiling narrative – however, their importance is hugely understated. Rather than a susceptibility to stories being a behavioural quirk; the human brain’s reliance on narratives to make sense of the world means that they define much of our investment behaviour. The noisy, chaotic and unpredictable nature of financial markets is anathema to our mind’s desire for order and clarity; stories reduce our discomfort and allow us to navigate the ever-capricious waters. It seemingly matters not that most of the yarns we spin are works of fiction.
More here – Behavioural Investment