Investing is a giant topic. Companies and TV networks are devoted to covering it 24/7. It feels completely overwhelming. But as stated earlier, market efficiency is a gift because it is highly focusing.

3 ideas come into plain view:

  1. Most investing effort is wasted effort
  2. Your human capital is a better investment
  3. Stick to a low overhead strategy

Limits of human effort

Investor Dean Williams delivered a keynote in 1981 entitled Trying Too Hard. He has strong opinions on the limits of our efforts in such a noisy domain.

“We probably are trying too hard at what we do. More than that, no matter how hard we try, we may not be as important to the results as we’d like to think we are.”

His stance is easily supported. Here's Williams on the futility of predictions:

“One of the most consuming uses of our time, in fact, has been accumulating information to help us make forecasts of all those things we think we have to predict. Where’s the evidence that it works? I’ve been looking for it. Really."

Unfortunately, the situation is even worse. Our sunk efforts commit us to the idea that they are worthwhile. Highly self-defeating. Consider what our efforts do to our confidence.

“Confidence in a forecast rises with the amount of information that goes into it. But the accuracy of the forecast stays the same. And when it comes to forecasting—as opposed to doing something—a lot of expertise is no better than a little expertise. And may even be worse.”

He is not making this up. Princeton Review founder, Adam Robinson, recounts a study of how horse bettors’ signals were diluted by additional data while simultaneously boosting their confidence. A devilish combo.

<aside> 💡 The domain of investing has a weak link between effort and results.