This is big, and I'll show you why in a minute...
University of Chicago heavyweight thinker Professor Richard H. Thaler just won the Nobel Prize for Economics.
I read all the stories about Thaler's win with real interest.
You see, I'm a big Thaler fan for one very good reason: When it comes to the economy and the stock market - and the role investor emotion plays - nobody "gets it" like Thaler.
And right now, Thaler says he's "nervous" about stocks.
"We seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping," Thaler told Bloomberg Markets. "I admit to not understanding it."
Take it from me: This is a guy you need to listen to. I have - for years.
In fact, in our 1998 book, "Contrarian Investing: How to Buy and Sell When Others Won't and Make Money Doing It," my money manager co-author Anthony M. Gallea and I cited Thaler's work as a foundation for our out-of-favor stocks strategy.
And after years of having his research and theories on behavioral finance ballyhooed by the "smart money," Thaler's views are now taken as investing gospel.
However, elevating Thaler's cautionary comments to fire-drill status - and cashing out of stocks completely - may not be the answer, either.
After all, members of the gloom-and-doom crowd have been predicting disaster for several years now - and have lost out on trillions in wealth as U.S. stocks have set one record after another.
Indeed, take heart - there's a middle ground. And it's a good, profitable place to be.
Unlike most "compromise" stances, our "middle-ground strategy" is a powerful one: We'll keep grabbing the gains as long as the bull market rages. And when the inevitable decline comes, we'll cash in while the rest of the crowd panics.
So today, I want to show you more about this strategy we use constantly, pioneered by Professor - and now Nobel Laureate - Thaler.
Drilling down into Prof. Thaler's savvy take on the stock market's inner workings is the perfect place to start...
The Death of "Homo Economicus"
Thaler, 72, was a founder of a field of thinking known as "behavioral economics and finance." His basic premise: Human emotion has a much bigger impact on decision-making than cold, hard facts.
For a long time after Thaler first espoused this theory, it was viewed as financial blasphemy by the entrenched academic elite. Those folks hated this viewpoint because it wholly contradicted the traditional belief in the existence of a "rational man."
Indeed, in its story detailing the Nobel announcement, The Atlantic said Thaler earned the prize in economics by "killing Homo economicus."
So emotion - not facts or logic - drives some of our most critical investment decisions.
Investors aren't rational, they're irrational. Predictably irrational.
And that's a bit of insight you can profit from.
About the Author
Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning at Money Map Press.