Behind the Brilliance 124: Dr. Daniel Crosby on Money, Meaning, and Mental Manipulation


This episode is probably in my top 10 favorites of all the BTB episodes because of how practical and important the conversation was. Most so-called finance gurus repeat platitudes about skipping lattes and “saving more” without ever addressing the stuff that really gets in the way of people making the kind of money they want to make and knowing what to do with it when they make it. Daniel and I unpacked all of that and more in this conversation.

Let me + Daniel know what you thought of this episode – did you learn anything interesting?:



Dr. Daniel Crosby | Behavioral Finance Expert + Author, The Laws of Wealth

109c029Dr. Daniel Crosby, a behavioral finance expert and sought after thought leader on market psychology, is the founder of Nocturne Capital. Dr. Crosby created the sentiment and valuation measures that serve as the overlay for Nocturne’s tactical strategy. His ideas have appeared in the Huffington Post, Think Advisor, and Risk Management, as well as columns for and Investment News.

Daniel was named one of Investment News “40 Under 40” and a “financial blogger you should be reading” by AARP. Daniel’s second book, “Personal Benchmark”, co-authored with Charles Widger of Brinker Capital, was a New York Times bestseller that outlines a highly personalized approach to investing that aligns intention with action while fostering an investment experience that is both enjoyable and rational.

TOPICS COVERED (partial list)

-the amount of money research says is optimal for “happiness”

-why you shouldn’t “stay in your lane” when it comes to education and career

-modern considerations for wealth creation

-the reason super smart people get money management wrong

-the connection between money and lifestyle satisfaction

-and much more

STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE (clickable links below)

Daniel on Twitter

Nocturne Capital (Daniel’s site)

The Laws of Wealth (Daniel’s book)

You’re Not That Great (Daniel’s book)

Personal Benchmark (Daniel’s book)

Thinking Fast and Slow


The Hidden Brain




The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao

Nocturne Capital Book List

You’re Not So Smart podcast

Farnam Street


  • Q. Fyah

    Lisa, thanks for your inspiring and informative podcast! This episode was super helpful in many ways. However I hit a wall when you and Daniel began talking about attitudes toward money and wealth, and you implied that rich people are rich because they worked for it and others are poor because they’re lazy (gross oversimplification of your conversation, I realize). But, really?! It seems like you’re ignoring the existence of systemic oppression. Capitalism isn’t built upon poor people being lazy; it’s built upon poor people working VERY, VERY hard for wealthy people who then hoard the majority of wealth and capital through various political and economic strategies. They are not all individually a**holes (many wealthy people are kind, good, creative and hard-working people just as many poor people are), but in terms of the big picture there is definitely a level of exploitation and oppression necessary for 1% of folks to hold the majority of society’s resources. Is this not problematic? I don’t think that people who point this out are simply “hating” on rich people out of jealousy. I think they are observing a social reality, one that is worth changing. Just my two cents, as I (like Daniel) am also a psychologist who strayed from the sanctioned path…I ended up working in sociology, economics, philosophy, and social change. I think we too often blame people for their social positions by focusing on the individual level. I’d love if we could all better understand societal patterns and acknowledge how strongly our institutions and policies influence where people end up in life. Definitely calls for a “both/and” perspective, plus a great deal of compassion and humility when referring to the struggles of working class people…thanks for the episode! 🙂

    • Hi,

      You started by noting that you grossly oversimplified the conversation so I’ll point out that that’s probably why you missed the points that were being made.

      I (nor Daniel) overlooked systemic oppression or societal patterns. We simply made the point that we all have CHOICES to make and that is independent of anybody’s attempt at oppressing you. This is especially true in the Western world.

      As a black woman, the socioeconomic complexities that prevent many working class and poor people from rising are not lost on me. That said, I’m also very clear about the power of choice and that in many cases, people (especially those who listen to Behind the Brilliance) may find it easier to excuse away their position instead of asking more complex and nuanced questions about their current position in life and how it can be improved.

      Further, I’m not in the business of denying realities or being generally mad at the system without doing whatever I can to bend it to my will. If we live in a capitalist society, then we live in a capitalist society. Unless I (or you) go into politics to change that, the time and energy is best spent figuring out how to make yourself prosperous and then share that prosperity with disenfranchised groups by teaching them to fish and offering them opportunities.

      Throughout the 100+ episodes, I have never denied the existence of race, gender, and other kinds of discrimination that make succeeding economically difficult at best. I have, however, continued to encourage listeners to do their best, to apply themselves, and to consider that the conventional road may not take them to the “success” that their parents, peers, or society has sold them.

      I appreciate your feedback and hope my note above clarifies what my perspective and the show is about.

      • Q. Fyah

        Thanks for your response, and my sincere apologies for the oversimplification of your exchange with Daniel. To be clear, though, the point of the episode (and of the show in general), has never been missed. I share your belief in the power of choice and emphasize it’s critical role in life outcomes to all of my psychotherapy clients. I also acknowledge, as I believe you also do, that some folks have much more difficult choices to make and barriers to face than others.

        I think that this is why I was disheartened by what seemed to me an assumed causality between external locus of control and financial struggle. Research shows that these phenomena are correlated, but the implication that locus of control is the main factor causing poverty felt both naive and overly judgmental, especially coming from a Black woman (as Black women are some of the most ambitious and enterprising folks on the planet, and yet still experience a great bulk of the poverty and disenfranchisement both in the US and around the world).

        I realize that you were speaking from your experience and that you know your audience. I just wanted to express what came up for me, since in my field this idea of “locus of control” and other such constructs are often used to blame exploited people for their own exploitation and to draw attention away from more structural social issues. In order to bend the system to one’s will, there would first have to be an acknowledgment that the system exists. Sometimes, we really do need to name that it is (at least partially) “the system’s fault,” and then we are in a better position to ask, “So now what?” I didn’t hear that reality reflected in this particular conversation, and I worried that listeners who are struggling financially might feel more shamed than empowered. Given the broader context of your show and your work, perhaps that’s an unfounded concern, but I thought it worth mentioning.

        Again, I very much appreciate the interview and the helpful resources shared.