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.

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