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Charlie D.: The Story of the Legendary Bond Trader Hardcover – November 3, 1997
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From the Publisher
Charles DiFrancesca, or "Charlie D" as he was known throughout the financial world, was perhaps the greatest trader of his time. What Warren Buffett is to stocks and George Soros to hedge funds, Charlie D was to treasury bonds. Now in this book eagerly awaited by investment professionals from New York to Tokyo, financial reporter William Falloon chronicles the life, achievements and strategies of this elusive figure who was as renowned for his extraordinary generosity as for his financial genius.
From the Inside Flap
Like a modern day Colossus, his larger-than-life presence loomed over the top step of the Treasury bond pit at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). His unchallenged prowess in the pit earned him much more than financial rewards, for to see him in action was to witness a virtuoso working at the top of his form. In recognition, his admiring peers and colleagues affectionately dubbed him the "Sultan of Scalp," after another legendary powerhouse, Babe Ruth. Who was this extraordinary man? Charles P. DiFrancesca, or as he was known throughout the financial world, Charlie D, the greatest trader of his time. Like Buffett is to the stock market, and Soros to the daring alchemy of hedge funds, Charlie D is to the world's largest futures trading pit in U.S. Treasury bonds. Yet, for all his phenomenal success, Charlie D never once granted an interview. He never revealed his trading secrets to any but a few close friends. Now, in this unprecedented and eagerly awaited biography, financial reporter William Falloon chronicles the remarkable life, achievements, and strategies of this elusive, enigmatic, and fascinating figure. A natural born risk-taker, Charlie D approached trading as the ultimate sport. His daily trading positions were often larger than those of the banks and corporations which traded against him. His flare for life dazzled those around him, whether battling volatile market swings in the bond pit, tossing the dice at the craps table in Las Vegas, relentlessly pursuing the perfect golf swing, or playing one of his notorious practical jokes. Beneath the flamboyance, however, there was a quieter, less assuming side to Charlie D, a salt-of-the-earth midwesterner in striking contrast to the popular media image of greedy market inhabitants. Charlie D was a world-class philanthropist. From cab drivers to valet attendants, from washed-out traders to close friends and family, from former high school football coaches to leading medical researchers, he gave and gave and gave. Perhaps the ultimate legacy of Charlie D will be his ferocious tenacity in the face of personal tragedy. When an aggressive lymphoma attacked his system-and his brother and mother were also diagnosed with cancer-Charlie D grew more determined than ever to live life to the fullest. His outlook never changed. Returning to the CBOT's bond pit between chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he donned a protective vest beneath his jacket and resumed his position on the top step, where he remained until two weeks before his death on May 23, 1991. Told with a style and flair equal to its unique subject, Charlie D. unfolds like a great detective story with the author in hot pursuit of his reluctant quarry. Deftly interweaving intimate, personal detail with technical explanation, William Falloon paints a richly detailed, compelling portrait of Charles DiFrancesca, the man behind the myth of Charlie D. What emerges from this expansive biography is a penetrating exploration of the psychology of success.
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Top Customer Reviews
"The principles of trading are the same if you're trading 10,20,50 or 100 contracts at a time, or if you're simply trading one. But it takes less time to make more money when you're a larger trader."
When Charlie figured out trading calendar spreads was the most consistent way to make money he mastered the concept and started trading 50-lots at a time instead of always living in fear of losing money trading 1-lots.
He took little blips out (of the market) with enormous size.
Everybody's trading price relationships, you have to have a position on to earn a living. The bigger the position the less time it takes and the more you earn. Always challenge yourself to do it bigger and better and with more size.
"The longer time you serve ... with a position on, the more you know about yourself and the more you know about trading."
"One of the most important things you learn with positions on is how to get out of a trade. You have to take losses today so that you can come back tomorrow."
"The time you know you've become a good trader is that first day you were able to win by holding and adding to a winning position."
At least 2 chapters have nothing to do with Charlie and the ones that talk about him you can't stop thinking that more could have been said.
Nevertheless, I did appreciate the reading.
I did enjoy the book based on the personality of Charlie D which comes thru along with the anecdotal stories. Be prepared to skim the slow parts.