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Barry Ritholtz

Why the Story Failed at Valeant and Theranos

We're hard wired to believe well-told tales.
A tale told by a...oh, nevermind.

A tale told by a...oh, nevermind.

Photographer: David Orrell/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty images

Everyone loves a good story. The problem as we have seen time and again is that these stories can kill your portfolio and your returns. Look no further than Valeant Pharmaceuticals on the public side, now suffering through a 60 percent haircut; the private equivalent would be blood-testing company Theranos.  In both case, the narrative is failing.

Story-telling is an issue that comes back to haunt us. We can't help it; we seem to be hard wired to love a great yarn. Whether it's Ulysses or "Star Wars" or a “disruptive, revolutionary, scalable new technology” (or some other set of buzzwords), we're suckers for a well-told tale, special effects optional.