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Opinion
Barry Ritholtz

Stop Thinking About Markets as if They Were Human

Your portfolio will do better if you do.
People climb, markets don't.

People climb, markets don't.

Photographer: Michael Hanson/National Geographic/Getty Images

The above definition is from "The Devil's Financial Dictionary," Jason Zweig's market-focused version of Ambrose Bierce's brilliant early-20th-century satire on the meaning of common words.

Zweig cites research by Michael Morris, a professor at Columbia Business School, who wrote (with three other professors) a paper titled "Metaphors and the market: Consequences and preconditions of agent and object metaphors in stock market commentary." The conclusion: How commentators speak about markets can influence investors' opinions.