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Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
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Critical Praise¡­ "In my interviews with over 30 of the best traders of our time, there were some questions that I raised in each conversation. One of these was: Are there any books that you found particularly valuable and would recommend to aspiring traders? By far, the most frequent response was Reminiscences of a Stock Operator¡ªa book that was over 70 years old!" ¡ªfrom the Foreword by Jack Schwager Author of Market Wizards and The New Market Wizards "Although Reminiscences¡­was first published some 70 years ago, its take on crowd psychology and market timing is as timely as last summer¡¯s frenzy on the foreign exchange markets." ¡ªWorth magazine "The most entertaining book written on investing is Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, by Edwin Lef¨¨vre, first published in 1923." ¡ªThe Seattle Times "The best book I¡¯ve read is Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. I keep a supply for people who come to work for me." ¡ªMartin Zweig "After 20 years and many re-reads, Reminiscences is still one of my all-time favorites." ¡ªKenneth L. Fisher Forbes Offering timeless lessons about the market and investor psychology, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator has enriched the lives of generations of investors and continues to be the most widely read and celebrated investment book ever written.

Stock investing is a relatively recent phenomenon and the inventory of true classics is somewhat slim. When asked, people in the know will always list books by Benjamin Graham, Burton G. Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings by Philip A. Fisher. You'll know you're getting really good advice if they also mention Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lef¨¨vre.

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 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 Lef¨¨vre 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."

If you've ever spent weekends and nights puzzling over whether to buy, sell, or hold a position in whatever investment--be it stock, bonds, or pork bellies, you'll be glad that you read this book. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is full of lessons that are as relevant today as they were in 1923 when the book was first published. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards

Customer Reviews:

  • A classic investment tome, and a very entertaining narrative
    This book is truly a classic in investing. When I first became aware of this book I had my reservations-how could anything written over 80 years ago carry THAT much weight in today's investing world? The time chronicled in this book occurred before the crash of 1929, and in my mind I couldn't conceive how anything that dated could be very pertinent to today's market environment. Regardless I picked this book up, and immediately realized my incredible short-sightedness. Not only is this book as relevant now as it was 80 years ago, in many ways it's more so. The tremendous insights to be gleaned from this book will no doubt make anyone a more effective trader or investor.

    Reminiscences is actually a thinly veiled biography of Jesse Livermore, one of the Street's most prolific and successful investors. Though he made and lost several fortunes over the course of his life, Livermore had an incredible sense of market direction and momentum and tremendous discipline, and most of his losses came either early in his career or when he deviated from his proven system. Essentially, Livermore's style was to read and sense the general direction of the market and invest accordingly, starting with small positions (in order to limit potential losses if his feeling was wrong) and adding to them as a trade went his way. When he found a favorable trade he was willing to invest heavily into it, leading to very large profits when he guessed correctly. Through his anecdotes and narrative investors glean several very important investing concepts: go with (and not against) the trend, be willing to change your bias on a dime, follow the path of least resistance, average up on your winning trades, and cut losers quickly while letting winners run.

    Reminiscences is a fascinating and very engaging read, but there is much more to this book. I enjoyed it both for its narrative quality and for its insights into the world of investing. ...more info
  • Still the Best
    This is a classic book on trading and market speculation, and is still the best introduction to the subject. The author was one of the most successful traders of all time, gaining and losing massive fortunes multiple times in his life. The candid account of his experiences that is passed on in the book is priceless and accelerates one's development as a trader immensely. Recommended reading for all traders....more info
  • Reminiscences is a required read
    This book is about the joys and trials of a stock operator and makes for a good read. It is a must for those interested in investing and trading. It is recommended that one read this book and be thoughtful of the lessons learned in the character's life, so as not to be so easily fooled or toyed with when entering the market....more info
  • Every Trader, Novice or Experienced Should Read
    This book is a classic. It was recommended to me, and I understand why. This book is written from the perspective of a powerful and successful trader who actually lived 'the life' of a trader. His ups, and his downs. What is valuable about the book is his insights into trading. He helps a novice understand why the deck is stacked against you, and for the more experienced, provides the warm and fuzzy's of a collegues world experience. If you are considering being a trader, or have just started down the path, reading this book will provide you with the 'back drop' or 'scene and setting' for developing a mindset that MAY help you be successful. In other words, this book is a book of wisdom, that is, if you would rather learn from someone elses success and failures, then to learn them all on your own. Granted, there is much to learn in the commodities trading world, but this book is small price to pay to avoid at least some of the negative experiences the protaganist experiences.
    I couldnt put the book down, but then again, I am currently fascinated with the traders profession....more info
  • Best Book for traders and non traders

    over 85 years old and still going strong, read it and find out why...more info
  • Purchase of Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
    Product arrived promptly and was in even better condition than advertised. Completely happy with this purchase!...more info
  • I haven't received the book at all
    I do think it's a great book, that's why I ordered it overseas.
    But,after a long-time-waiting,I haven't received it yet.So I don't have chance to read it at all....more info
  • The more things change ... the more they stay the same - Required reading!
    This vintage tomb from a bygone era ... is simply one of the best financial texts you could ever hope to lay your hands on. One of the strongest realizations that emerge from the author's engaging style of writing, is that the lessons learned a century ago, are as relevant and useful today as they were back then. The examples and analysis peppered throughout this book, are some of the most insightful examples available to the average reader. There are no mathematical formulas or detailed charts (one of this book's strong points) yet there is plenty of meat on the bone here, for anyone that is searching for clear and practical advice on successfully navigating the rough waters of the financial markets. Many lessons learned and dissected in clear detail. Highly recommended reading....more info
  • If I Knew THEN - What I Know NOW - I'd SLEEP with Lefevre's book!!!!

    This is it folks, when all is said and done, the world of making money in the stock market comes down to a handful of books. Knowledge that you must absorb, NO, more than absorb, you have to take OWNERSHIP of this knowledge. More than any other book, this book is on the list. Oh yes, there are several others you desperately need to OWN also.

    Certainly you should be reading all of Benjamin Graham's works including "Security Analysis", the 1940 Edition, and also Graham's "The Intelligent Investor". Philip Fisher's extraordinary "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" is another fabulous work, but none of them, and no other book for that matter reads like a novel, a Hollywood thriller in fact - only Edwin Lefevre's "Reminiscences...." fulfills that role.

    Very briefly, Jesse Livermore's life as a stock and commodities trader is portrayed in the book through the character of Larry Livingston. As you probably know, in a novel you can do and say things, and take literary license that you could never do in an actual biography.

    The period covered is basically the beginning of the 20th century through the 1920's. Livermore made and lost several fortunes in his lifetime; ultimately he went belly up and emotionally could not deal with it. This led to his suicide in a hotel in New York City. With today's medical knowledge he would have been classified with severe bipolar disorder, and presumably drugs would have been able to reign in the personality extremes that he suffered from. Of course that is now, and we are dealing with then.

    What is noteworthy is that Livermore was astute enough to realize that he had these bouts of depression, and he did not trade during those periods when he suffered from them. He knew his thinking was not clear enough during those periods, and his judgment would suffer, and oh did this man have judgment. He was the ultimate professional trader.

    This is not a book to be read once. In that it is like reading Shakespeare's plays. Each time you work your way through it, you will learn more and more. If you have trading experiences to fall back on, then this book becomes even more important to you. Read the book in conjunction with your trading. You will understand what you did wrong, and what you NEED TO CHANGE, to do it right.

    There are some who will tell you that Jesse Livermore was such a force in the markets, that it is hinted that he was responsible for the market crash of 1929, the tsunami of all market crashes. John Kenneth Galbraith, the Harvard economist, and one of the most knowledgeable historians dealing with the depression, argues differently. What is important is that Livermore had to hire a bodyguard during this period, and also went into seclusion, which indicates that many people believed the story.

    There was a point in his career where Livermore made as much as $[...] million in trading profits in a month. Imagine, at a time when a 6 course meal at Delmonico's on Wall Street was a dollar? Here are some of the extraordinary concepts you will pick up in reading this book:

    I am personally 35 years into trading, and formally retired from Wall Street when I was 45. You have no idea how important Livermore's advice is. There is no substitute for years of experience living through the cycles. It gives you a tremendous grounding in historical truth that prevents you from getting suckered out at the bottom, or fooled at tops.

    Yes, and this is why a great stock trader from the 1920's, would do just as well today as then. I knew Salim Cy Lewis the modern founder of Bear Stearns; some would argue he was as good a trader as Livermore. I worked for Alan "Ace" Greenberg, Chairman of Bear Stearns, who was the greatest trader of his generation. Livermore is right, learn the strategies, and you will be successful on any battlefield, at any point in history.

    Ignore this instruction at your peril, never catch a falling knife. Let it hit the floor, and then buy on the way up. Never buy on the way down, you never know where down is, where down stops. You only buy on the way up.

    Who doesn't know this; just try executing on it consistently, every day, day in, day out. Try taking emotion out of the trade, try to be objective. Try selling, realizing you were wrong, and jump right back in, while your fellow traders think you are nuts.

    This is such common sense that a child would say, well of course that's what you should do. It takes a rare type of individual that can live by the code, and execute on its wisdom daily.

    Jesse Livermore was everything you think he was, and more. His untimely death at his own hand is not what should be studied, and learned. We all have our pains that we must deal with. Read this book, and change your investing life forever, or don't read it, and pay a price with your portfolio, and forgone profits. Good luck

    Richard Stoyeck

    ...more info
  • A good first taste.
    If you are curious about how an extremely clever speculator thinks and lived his life this is a must. If you are looking for how to trade there are a few very general gems in there, but you have to look for them.
    An example in one part of his life he knew the market would moved in a certain direction and so shorted but the market wasn't ready to move quite then and he suffered as the market moved in the wrong direction for a while. So he learnt to be prepared for a change but not to act until the market showed the change was active. A very general common sense rule, but the telling of that episode for me was great (much more interesting than I made it sound) so it has stuck in my mind and stopped me making mistakes. Also it shows how dangerous the stock market can be with those once in a lifetime events that will probably happen one day in your lifetime....more info
  • best book on trading
    I have a background in finance and recently decided to get serious about trading. Most books you find will discuss technical analysis or trading psychology. All of that is good and well but this book allows you to get into the head of a successful trader and actually experience the psychology and analysis that most others talk about.

    Though times have changed this book will offer insights into the markets and human fallacies that no textbook can.

    Enjoy... I finished this book the second I picked it up in the bookstore.. I think you will too if you're interested in trading....more info
  • How (not) to invest
    Jesse Livermore committed suicide on November 28, 1940 after incurring heavy losses in the market. This book is a fictionalized account of his life. It is undoubtably a classic, but readers tempted to follow his advice would do well to consider that he had repeatedly lost his entire fortune, regained it, only to lose it again not long afterwards. Not long before he died, he finished a book on his investment strategies. Unlike this book, it didn't sell very well back then, and it still doesn't sell well now. Readers should also keep in mind that the author of this
    book, a writer by the name of Lefevre, wasn't much of an investor himself (just a few isolated investments over his lifetime, according to the book's foreword.) Apparently, the author didn't have much faith in Livermore's methods.

    It's almost funny how often I've seen this book mentioned by other books on investing. For the most part, they neglected to mention how he died and why....more info
  • Thesis on market behavior
    If you are looking to start trading the stock market this is an absolute must first read. This isn't a book about a trading system. It doesn't tell you buy points or sell points. There is absolutely no information on how to screen the market for the next big thing. What it does tell you is how the market behaves and what to expect.

    When I first started trading I read How To Make Money in Stocks by William O'Neil, and I have had great success with his strategy. I wish I had read this one first. It gives you a much greater idea of how stocks can behave and how you should react to that behavior. It shows you what happens when you let your emotions get in the way, in the words of someone that let that happen - several times. I'm not saying you'll be able to take your emotions out of a trade, but you will have a better idea of what to expect emotionally. Then you will be better prepared to handle it.

    Read this book. Then read How to Make Money in Stocks....more info
  • Not what it is hyped up to be.
    Before purchasing this book it was hyped pretty high. I though it would have more sound investing information rather than just a semi-fictional story about one man and his investing life. If you are not a champion of speculating then this book will not be that valuable to you. Bottom line I don't like to read fiction and this book is fiction. I don't care about people's nonsense ideas about the market and this is just one "fictional" persons account. I did find it interesting gleaming some historic knowledge on places and people. I would recommend reading this book if you get it for free or very cheap but don't buy it if there are other books you want to read. I think the people who love this book are more into fiction than I am and maybe feel they "should" love this book because other people do. I found freakanomics to be more interesting than this book. If you want to read a book about investing then read Intelligent Investor....more info
  • Oldy but a great Goody
    Never before had I so much fun reading and learning about the psychology of buying and shorting stocks. This is an extraordinarily written piece of work that eases into explanations of the power of the subconscious as well as the power of emotions on the conscious decisions made during those uncertain moments of trading. Great book!...more info
  • This Book Teaches The Importance of Risk Management
    This is a powerful lesson on the importance of risk management. Learn from Livermore's mistakes. It is never okay to risk money you do need for the hopes of accumulating money you do not need. Always know your risk exposure at all times....more info
  • Reminiscenses
    One of those books everyone should read, but some of the material is dated....more info
  • A timeless classic
    It clearly shows what lies ahead if your interests are in trading long term. A fascinating story with tons of pointers. ...more info
  • An Investment Classic
    This book really brings to life an era of finance that is long gone. And the lessons of the book are still very relevant today. It is part biography and part tutorial for aspiring traders. Everyone should be required to read this book before being allowed to play the markets. If even half of the people on Wall Street had read this, the USA would be in much better shape today financially. It is a very engaging and entertaining read....more info
  • Fascinating look inside wall street
    This is essential reading for anyone even remotely interested in the stock market. He describes with uncanny insight the psychology of the stock market. A fictional yet utterly authentic biography of a real stock player, Jesse Livermore (1877-1940), whom Lefrvre interviewed at length for his book. He was a speculator, a market timer: "The speculator is not an investor. His object is not to secure a steady return on his money at a good rate of interest, but to profit by either a rise or a fall in the price of whatever he may be speculating in" (122). Livermore couldn't care less about the "fundamentals" of a stock, its inherent worth. He looked at the pattern of its rises and falls, the volume of trading, and the general trend of the market. Thousands if not millions do the same today, with much less success that Livermore. Even for the most die-hard "buy and hold" stock investor, the temptation to try to time the market is almost irresistable. In any case, Livermore made many millions, although he lost several fortunes also.

    One point that he makes that is often quoted is that "there is nothing new in Wall street. There can't be because speculation is as old as the hills. Whatever happens in the stock market today has happened before and will happen again." That's true, of course, but I was struck by how much different the stock market was back in the early years of the century, especially how much smaller and simpler it was. Livermore lived in an age when one person selling a large block of stock could put the price down temporarily. Only the very largest mutual funds have that kind of power now. Livermore himself comments on how much bigger and more complicated the stock market became during his lifetime: "Difficult as profitable stock speculation always has been it is becoming more difficult every day. . . . It requires more time and work to keep posted and to that extent stock speculation has become much more difficult for those who operate intelligently." If that was true in 1923, when this book was published, think how much truer it must be today. When Livermore was young, it was possible for him to keep track of all available stocks and virtually every important factor affecting market trends. Now the stock market is so vast and complicated that professionals must specialize in one sector, and even then have very little success predicting future movements.

    Lefrevre also does a good job explaining how insiders manipulate the market and profit from ordinary traders without inside info. The laws prohibiting trading on inside info are much more strict now, but there's still a lot of truth to that. ...more info
  • Mark Twain meets John Meynard Keynes.
    This is a well worn classic. Anyone who has ever worked on a trading floor has heard of this book. If you haven't, and you are thinking of trading, stop reading this review, get off your computer, and read it. There is no better description of the type of personalities and mentalities that have always existed on Wall Street (or "The City", or Tokyo, or any trading floor in the world). Although it was written nearly a century ago, and the writing style seems to be more Huck Finn than High Finance, make no mistake; this is how trading and traders go about their business.

    It may not be as 'modern' as books describing the blowups at LTCM or Amaranth....but by describing the psychology of speculators, it tells you how those blowups really happened. I've worked at cutting edge financial tech shops, and I've seen it first hand - time and tech may change, but traders don't.... ...more info
  • OUtstanding book for all traders of all markets
    Found the insight of Jesse Livermore to be very helpful in understanding winning trader behaviour. Its the type of book that really focuses on the experiences of a trader who shares what is needed to really succeed in the markets. Would reccommend this book to any serious trader looking to improve his/hers performance in the markets....more info
  • Best Speculation Read
    I consider this the best book on speculation. It offers excellent guidance through the guise of a story. Well worth the read....more info
  • Classic but stilll timely
    Great read covering the psycological aspects of trading(Winning, Losing, and learning from one's mistakes.)...more info
  • Excellent story
    This is really one of the most interesting books on trading out there. A true classic that anyone who is interested in the markets will enjoy. It is an excellent story of great triumphs and also those big mistakes in the life of Jessie Livermore, one of the most famous traders of all time.

    Even though it was first published in 1923 it is still relevent today. It is well written and will almost get you involved in the story which full of market excitement. So if you enjoy a good ride then I would encourage you to read this book. You will not be disappointed....more info
  • Fascinating Story About A Remarkable Stock Speculator
    Edwin Lefevre tells the fascinating story of Jesse Livermore, a famous stock operator who time and again made and lost fortunes by speculating on the market. Its greatest value is on the insights and reasoning process behind each move and associated result. It provides good entertainment for stock investors and speculators. Highly recommended!...more info
  • From the Stock Traders Headquarters library
    A story based on the life of legendary trader Jesse Livermore who was famous for being short the market just before the 1927 crash and made over 100 Million dollars while 99% of all investors lost their life savings. A truly fascinating story and after reading it, I was a believer that timing the market and individual stock moves can be done with great success. My journey into the world of TA began after reading this book.

    David Colletti
    ...more info