10 10 2007


This chapter focuses again on the human side of trading. While in the poor-house, Larry is offered assistance by a brokerage firm with special needs. While working within this firm, Livingstone lets his feelings win over his judgement again and makes a mistake that he regretted more than any other he made on Wall St. One can repay money with money, kindness and favours must be paid back in kind. This is where Larry undid himself, by allowing himself, unknowingly, to be used by a brilliant and cold-blooded businessman.

An interesting theme in this book is repeated in the way the character reacts once he realizes that he has been used. Even though he was hurt and angry, he simple thanked his sponsor and left. He was as angry at himself for the markets were trading well and he was reading it accurately, but he let his own gratitude tie his hands. Following this involvement, the markets went flat – no profit to be made – for five years where Larry lived again in the poor-house. But worse, he was not only broke, but now he was greatly in debt.


This was a great chapter for me to read at this time in my life. It focuses on the importance of self-study. One must work out internal conflict to be able to trade the market effecively.


Coffee example – a trader must be prepared for the unexpected and the unexpectable!


Trading is a high stress occupation

25 09 2007


Trading is a high stress occupation, and frequent holidays are important. Larry removes himself from even hearing about the markets by going out on a fishing boat. When he does finally hear about the market while on holidays, Larry often cuts his holidays shorter than planned if he sees that the market is ready for it’s next movement. Before going on holidays, all positions are liquidated.

After this fishing trip, Larry returns to the quotation board and watches the tape for an idea of the market’s mood. Although he is generally bearish, the short-term indications seem to point him to long one particularly active stock. He explains his reasons for buying the stock and puts on a large line. As it turns out, the position wasn’t proven correct so he bales out – then shares his observation of others who stayed long and started to sweat, and to hope. ‘The only thing a man can do when he is wrong is to be right by ceasing to be wrong’. In exiting his position, Larry sells at the market. Although one can lose a few ticks on poor execution by a broker, setting a limit order is often worse. Often your limit isn’t hit, and you get stuck with a bigger loss when you try to get out later. When you want to get out, get out.

Market behavior and people behavior are not the same. After an outrageous rally in a bear market, people started to talk bullish again. The course of the market, however, said the rally had run it’s course. And Larry sold. His profits reminded him that he was right and he sold more. After four months of trading on the bear side, the markets began to slow down. Larry cleaned up operations and took a holiday in Europe for the summer. Returning early from this trip as well because of market conditions, we are again given the inside view of the ‘other’ traders mind. The market was megaphoning it’s warning to the world until the day of reckoning for the bulls that, ‘dreading the pain of a small loss at the beginning, were now about to suffer total amputation – without anesthetics.’ The mouse in the glass bell analogy fits perfectly.

The rest of the chapter talks about the tightness at the bottom of the bear market, the profits that our character has pulled from the markets, and finishes with a great quote; ‘But my biggest winnings were not in dollars but in the intangibles: I had been right, I had looked ahead and followed a clear-cut plan. I had learned what a man must do in order to make big money; I was permanently out of the gambler class’