Book Review: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (Annotated Edition)

I read Reminiscences of a Stock Operator around ten years ago.  I was trying to understand trading dynamics in the market, and the book was mentioned frequently.

It is a classic.  But can a classic be made better?  In this case yes.  Jon Markman, an able financial writer, has written notes around the narrative, with pictures and graphs that illustrate many things that would be obscure to the reader of the book.  Markman brings forgotten people to life, and motivates the events that transpired.

It was an exciting era, one where the common law of contracts played a greater role, and statutory law played a lesser role.  It wasn’t no-holds-barred, but it was close.

We are experiencing our own era of leverage that is too high, and what happens when it breaks.  The protagonist of the book, Jesse Livermore, aims for best advantage, and learns as he goes along, going broke several times in the process, and dying broke as well.  Leverage cuts two ways.  Live by leverage; die by leverage.

Paul Tudor Jones II writes an appendix to the volume, as well as a foreword.  Being a trading billionaire who started from scratch and went broke a few times, he is an excellent man to get into the mind of Livermore on a modern basis.

Who would benefit from this book: Historians would benefit, as would those interested in trading.  Economists wanting to get a look at market microstructure would also benefit.  Livermore, more than most, gives a full view of technical analysis, because he lays bare the motivations of players, and how other players attempt to devine those motivations.

If you want to buy this book you can buy it here: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator Annotated Edition.

Full disclosure: Publishers send me books.  I review some of them.  I try to review the best of them, but I promise the publishers nothing.  If you click on a link that leads you to Amazon through my website, and you buy something, I get a small commission.  My view is that you should buy what you want.  Don’t reward me for something that you don’t like.  Rather, enter Amazon through my website and buy what you want; it will cost you nothing more.

4 Comments

  • “i don’t believe in luck, i believe in the immutable law of averages”

  • TDL says:

    Second book that I read before I started trading, I should have read it several times before I placed my first bid.

    Regards,
    TDL

  • Tom Foltz says:

    Yes, the book is a classic for sure.
    The book just put it all out there for
    anyone to see trading history from that
    era that seems to relate to the trading
    world of today.
    Thanks for giving the excellent review.

  • Greg says:

    David — just started reading this edition, Reminiscences is as good as I remember, and the side anecdotes are a handy extra to put some things in historical context.

    I bought the book through your link (you are rich now!) to say thanks for all the work / effort you put into this blog