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Market Wizards, Updated: Interviews With Top Traders Paperback – January 17, 2012
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Q & A with Jack D. Schwager, author of Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders
More than twenty years have passed since the first edition of this book was released. Is it as relevant today as it was then?
Absolutely. Markets may change and the specific techniques or systems that work best may change, but the underlying core principles that lead to trading success stay the same. And there is a good reason for that. Through all periods, market price moves reflect some combination of underlying fundamentals and human behavior. Since human nature doesn't change, the market's basic behavioral patterns don't change either. I believe that every conclusion I reached about the factors important to trading success in the first edition remains equally valid today. Perhaps the best testament to the continued relevance of Market Wizards in today's markets is that so many of the managers I meet who read the original edition early in their careers make it required reading for new traders in their organization.
Has trading fundamentally changed with the rise of the quants and algorithmic traders?
The growing role of algorithmic trading may have eliminated some market inefficiencies as sources of profitable strategies, and it may even have impacted the efficacy of some trading systems, but I don't believe it has changed fundamental market behavior. The same basic concepts that are critical to trading success remain as valid now as they were a generation ago when computerized trading was in its infancy.
What are these basic concepts?
Well that's what this book is all about. But to offer one example, I believe that developing a trading methodology that fits your personality, as opposed to seeking someone else's approach, is an absolutely critical element to succeeding as a trader.
Why do most traders fail?
There are many reasons. They seek easy answers. They listen to "experts" and chase trading fads instead of doing the hard work of developing their own methodology. They focus almost all their energy on determining trade entry points and all but ignore the more critical questions of trade exit and risk management. They listen to other people. These are a few of the reasons. Readers will find a lot more in the book.
Which trader interview in the book has been the most popular?
Readers will often tell me that a certain chapter was their favorite and by far the most important in improving their own trading. The interesting thing is that they always seem to mention a different trader. There is no consensus. Different readers will find different things in the book important. They will relate to different traders. It all goes back to the importance of finding your own approach in the market.
Have the interviews you did for Market Wizards been important to your own trading?
The interview and writing process has helped solidify in my own mind the principles that are important to trading success. At times, it has also had a very specific influence. A great example occurred last summer. At the time, the stock market was approaching the high end of a long-term trading range, and for a variety of reasons, I expected the rally to fail and was positioned on the short side of stock index futures. Then the government released an extremely bearish employment report. It was so negative that commentators couldn't even cite one offsetting bullish consideration, as they usually do. The market initially sold off sharply in response--"perfect," I thought of my trade--but by the end of the day, it nearly recovered the entire loss, ending the week near the recent high. From the perspective of a short, this was terrible price action. I thought I was in trouble. I was prepared to cover most of my position when the market opened on Sunday night. On Sunday night, however, the market opened lower. I immediately thought of Marty Schwartz's advice in this book: "If you're very nervous about a position overnight, and especially over the weekend, and you're able to get out at a much better price than you thought when the market trades, you're usually better off staying with the position." I did, and Schwartz's insight saved me a lot of money, as the market proceeded to move sharply lower in the ensuing weeks.
More About the Author
Mr. Schwager has written extensively on the futures industry and great traders in all financial markets. He is perhaps best known for his best-selling series of interviews with the greatest hedge fund managers of the last two decades: Market Wizards (1989), The New Market Wizards (1992), and Stock Market Wizards (2001). The latest book in the series, Hedge Fund Market Wizards is due to be released in May 2012. Mr Schwager's first book, A Complete Guide to the Futures Markets (1984) is considered to be one of the classic reference works in the field. He later revised and expanded this original work into the three-volume series, Schwager on Futures, consisting of Fundamental Analysis (1995), Technical Analysis (1996), and Managed Trading (1996). He is also the author of Getting Started in Technical Analysis (1999), part of John Wiley's popular Getting Started series.
Mr. Schwager is a frequent seminar speaker and has lectured on a range of analytical topics including the characteristics of great traders, investment fallacies, hedge fund portfolios, managed accounts, technical analysis, and trading system evaluation. He holds a BA in Economics from Brooklyn College (1970) and an MA in Economics from Brown University (1971).
Top Customer Reviews
I highly recommend it to anyone who is involved in the markets. Simply stated, this is THE book for anyone who wants to learn about trading or investing -- It is simply a must read.
What's so utterly compelling about the interviews is how consistent the themes are that arise from so many different traders; This is true regardless of the markets they work in (commodities, equities, currencies, bonds) or the style they employ (technical, macro-economic, fundamental, quantitative).
The basic concepts revealed by the Wizards are Discipline, Capital Preservation, Risk Management, Individual Responsibility, Flexibility, Intellectual Honesty and Consistency. Please note that these ideas have nothing to do with coming across a hot tip, or getting a big IPO allocation, or chasing the "darling of the day." It's especially relevant, given some of the speculative excesses of the most recent (March '03) rally.
This book should cause all investors, both novice and experienced, to step back and consider their strategies and methodologies. These are much more important than finding the next "flavor of the month." This is especially true now that a new group of stock pickers have been inundating the airwaves.
Perhaps because Jack Schwager was a commodities analyst, the first and largest section, "Futures and Currencies", is dedicated to commodities traders. Jack Schwager provides brief explanations of the futures and currency markets, then moves on to interviews of 7 commodities traders. Interview subjects include the great Michael Marcus, who multiplied his company account 2500-fold in a decade, and his protégé Bruce Kovner, perhaps the world's largest currency and futures trader at the time. Larry Hite tells some great stories about what not to do when playing the markets. Part 2, "Mostly Stocks", features interviews with 4 traders of stocks or index futures, including William O'Neil, his protégé David Ryan, and the man who won big several times in the U.S. Trading Championships, S&P futures trader Marty Schwartz.Read more ›
No, you read this book to realize several things about yourself. If you want to make a success, you will have to work at it and stay committed. There is no way around it. Sometimes things will be difficult. Learn from your mistakes and learn that your biggest enemies are emotions and, in some cases, lack of knowledge. One common trait I see in this book is that the traders make it perfectly clear they have self-discipline. Some techniques are common between the traders, and they involve controlling their emotions after bad streaks or winning streaks.
This book examines a side of trading rarely addressed: the human side. In it some of the world's greatest traders and investors respond candidly to questions regarding their experiences growing up, how they became involved in trading, how they honed their skills and developed as traders, their trading experiences, philosophies and styles, and even some of the considerations that go into their daily selection of trades. A wide variety of personalities and trading methods are represented; whether you scalp the e-minis on Globex or leisurely trade stocks on the NYSE, you will find something of value. This book should be especially valuable to anyone who aspires to trading success but lacks a trading mentor.
Break away from your TradeStation or C-Trader, put on a pot of coffee, and read this book. It will expand your mind regarding the markets and improve your trading immeasureably. I have read it several times, and continue to learn from it. Highly recommended.
Jeffrey Owen Katz, Ph.D.
Author: "The Encyclopedia of Trading Strategies" (McGraw Hill, 2000)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book for a passive Sunday afternoon read, interesting to see these guys' approach to trading, not just stock traders but also commodities futures and options traders. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Chicago Kiwi
Learned a lot. Will buy "Way of the Turtle" thanks to Richard Dennis interviewPublished 3 months ago by craig claussen
This was the second time I read. Still very worthwhile. Every would-be trader should read it.Published 3 months ago by Bert Dohmen
Read, absorb, and then keep reading... I've been trading for over 20 years and in the pursuit of always trying to get better I can say with utmost confidence that this is one of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert Kirk
More investment wisdom in this book than assembled anywhere else. If you're serious about investing, you need to understand how the best investors in the world do it.Published 4 months ago by tgowan