Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
Reminiscences Of A Stock Operator by Edwin LeFevre
Fictionalized biography of immortal speculator Jesse Livermore. Presents much market wisdom and fascinating reading about one of America's most famous traders.This reprint of the 1923 classic has become over the years one of the most widely sought after and read books ever published on the stock market. This work of fiction is in fact a thinly disguised biography of the most colorful market speculator in the stock and commodity trader's Hall of Fame, Jesse Livermore. The principles of market behavior and the characteristic behavior of market participants described herein are immutable, and will remain much the same as long as markets are allowed to fluctuate freely, and speculators are allowed free access to and participation in the marketplace. (308 pgs)
As quoted by Jack Schwager in the Foreword: What has made Reminiscences so timeless? I think it is because it accurately captures the mind of a trader---the recollections of mistakes made, the lessons learned, the insights gained. To readers who have trading experiences, the book rings remarkably true. In fact, Reminiscences vividly portrays the experiences and thoughts of its protagonist, Larry Livingstone---a pseudonym for Jesse Livermore. Many, if not most, people who have read this book believe that Edwin Lefevre is a pseudonym for Livermore.
Lefevre, however, was a real individual. He was a journalist, columnist, novelist, and short-story writer who had a remarkable ability to get people to open up. His son recollects that Lefevre would meet people in the course of everyday affairs (clerks, taxi drivers, and so on) and within ten minutes he would know their life story. Lefevre spent several weeks interviewing Livermore---none of this time, incidentally, was spent observing Livermore trade---and Reminiscences was the outcome.
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is filled with observational gems about the markets and trading. Some of these stories have become such integral elements of Wall Street lore that the original source has been forgotten. For example: (Prices) are never too high to begin buying or too low to begin selling. There are so many wonderful lines in this book that it is difficult to select isolated examples. However, I must offer at least one quote to give the bookstore browser a flavor of this volume:
'I did precisely the wrong thing. The cotton showed me a loss and I kept it. The wheat showed me a profit and I sold it out. Of all the speculative blunders there are few greater than trying to average a losing game. Always sell what shows you a loss and keep what shows you a profit.'
Any experienced trader can identify with those lines; inexperienced traders can learn from them. And so it is with numerous sections of this book. Readers who can absorb and follow the lessons spread throught this book can significantly improve as traders. Those who can't will still get a compelling read.
The word classic has, unfortunately, been overused. To my mind, a true classic is a book that because of its unique content or expository style remains widely read and is appreciated generations, and sometimes even centuries, after its publication. In this sense, Reminiscences is a true classic. First published in 1923, it remains one of the most highly regarded financial books ever written and seems all but certain to enter the twenty-first century as a volume still in print. Moreover, if I had to bet on which financial books will still be around at the end of the twenty-first centery, Reminiscences would be at the tope of my list.
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Wiley; (May 11, 1994)