Could it be? Is it possible that day trading--the hottest thing to hit the market since analysts started forecasting stock movements by the heft of Alan Greenspan's briefcase--is simply a bait-and-switch that promises unlimited riches but delivers only aggravation? Joey Anuff, cofounder of the Suck.com humor Web site, certainly thinks so. With a literary assist from Wired magazine's Gary Wolf, he takes us into the belly of the beast in Dumb Money. And his rollercoaster first-person account of the day trading life graphically shows that while this highly romanticized world may be consistently exciting and occasionally quite profitable, it sure ain't pretty.
Set to the tempo of a trading day that begins each dawn in Anuff's San Francisco apartment, the book chronicles an existence fueled by CNBC and Starbucks and has little room for anything else. Envious of the vast riches that everyone else seems to be accumulating, Anuff jumps into the abyss full-bore to the detriment of his personal life, his regular job, and even his sanity. Through witty writing and self-effacing irony, he shows why he stayed glued to his keyboard each day until the closing bell, repeatedly risking tens of thousands on stocks he couldn't even recall a few weeks later. Along the way, he introduces us to several top players in the game, and explains how everything from discount brokerages to Web message boards affect the action. A true cautionary tale, it's recommended for anyone who has ever read about a trader's million-dollar day and seriously wondered, "Why not me?" --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
Literate day traders are bound to enjoy this brisk, canny account of one day in the life of young profiteer Joey Anuff, provided they can tear themselves away from their browser windows and news feeds. Anuff, who created the edgy humor site Suck.com and racked up a six-figure trading account when he made an early killing on eBay stock, takes us through the rhythms of the Nasdaq trading day as experienced from his San Francisco loft. With CNBC blaring in the background, we wake up to the blistering pace of morning trading, segue into the "midday dead zone" while hitting up a few novice-filled chat rooms, and then wait out the market close. Anuff peppers his real-time vignettes with reportage on the evolution of day trading, revisiting the scene of killer Mark O. Barton, whose rampage through the Atlanta offices of All-Tech Investment Group put day trading on the national radar screen, and harking back to legendary traders like Harvey Houtkin, "b?te noir of the NASD." To his credit, Anuff explores the cliquish culture of veteran traders and explains plenty of insider babble from the Nasdaq exchange. Yet the book's tone wavers between deliberate cynicism and paranoid delusion, which may be faithful to day-trading psychology but can make the narrative seem contrived. When Anuff concludes by renouncing day trading and its dumb money for a real life, one feels as though the persona of the mercenary, bug-eyed trader has been a bit of a swindle. (Apr.)
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