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Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

by Edwin Lefèvre

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Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is the thinly disguised biography of Jesse Livermore, a remarkable character who first started speculating in New England bucket shops at the turn of the 20th century. Livermore, who was banned from these shady operations because of his winning ways, soon moved to Wall Street where he made and lost his fortune several times over.

What makes this book so valuable are the observations that Lefèvre records about investing, speculating, and the nature of the market itself. For example:

"It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight! It is no trick at all to be right on the market. You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears in bear markets. I've known many men who were right at exactly the right time, and began buying or selling stocks when prices were at the very level which should show the greatest profit. And their experience invariably matched mine - that is, they made no real money out of it. Men who can both be right and sit tight are uncommon."

Years later, many trading and investing books repeat the very same rules first enunciated by Livermore in Reminiscences, such as: Go with the trend; no stock is too high to buy or too low to sell; let your winners run and cut your losses short; make your own decisions; and market history repeats itself. Interestingly, Livermore frequently violated his own rules and usually lost money as a result.

The enduring appeal of the book rests in Livermore’s view that the market is made up of people and the excesses of the market reflect mass psychology. The mistakes of individuals are frequently the result of the inability to control fear and greed. Livermore’s views and lessons continue to be relevant to every new generation of investors and traders.

"...certainly one of the most entertaining books ever written about stock trading..." (Money magazine, November 2007)

"...is a classic that gives readers a sense of a trader's mind..." (Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2006)

"…an engaging read, chock-full of pearls of wisdom and amusing anecdotes...candid and analytical style evoking sympathy for the narrator." (Money Week, October 2006)


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