Columnist James Glassman discusses the Efficient Markets Hypothesis with John Allen Paolos, author of A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market.

If you believe in the EMH, you understand that highly successful stock selections are really just lucky guesses…

But, to tell the truth, while I believe in the EMH intellectually, I have a hard time acting on it.

I have read Paolos’ book, and one its themes is how, in spite of his understanding of the efficient markets hypothesis, he invested heavily in Worldcom and rode the stock most of the way down.

As Paolos and Glassman point out, there are observations in behavioral economics that suggest that people invest irrationally, which would tend to undermine market efficiency. Unfortunately, one of the biggest components of irrationality is to over-estimate one’s own skill at investing.

For Discussion. If the majority of people who believe that they are superior investors are in fact inferior investors, what should you do if you believe that you are a superior investor?