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Jesse Livermore - Boy Plunger: The Man Who Sold America Short in 1929 Hardcover – May 7, 2015
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About the Author
Paul Tudor Jones’ connection with Jesse Livermore began when he started his career in finance at Livermore’s first broker, E.F. Hutton at the age of 26. Shortly afterwards he founded his own investment firm, the Tudor Investment Corporation. He became a student of Livermore and resolved that every new employee be handed a copy of Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, the fictional biography of Livermore, on their first day at work. His study of Livermore’s methods paid off in 1987 when he was able to predict Black Monday on 19th October 1987. Employing exactly the same short strategies as Livermore did in 1907 and 1929 he is said to have tripled his net worth that day. He never looked back and by 2014 his firm had over $14 billion under management. He has consistently made money for himself and his clients so much so that Forbes magazine rated him the 345th richest man in the world in its 2014 wealth rankings. Nowadays he devotes as much of his time to philanthropy as making money for himself running the highly successful Robin Hood Foundation. He started it to give money away himself and encourage other successful fund managers to do so as well. The Foundation is unique in that 100% of donations are spent on good causes. Fortune magazine called it: “one of the most innovative and influential philanthropic organizations of our time.”
- Publisher : The Myrtle Press; 1st edition (May 7, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0990619915
- ISBN-13 : 978-0990619918
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.34 x 1.4 x 9.46 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #265,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Jesse Livermore started from very meager beginnings and the early part of the book was about how he used networking skills to change that very quickly. His father pulled him out of school at 14 and told him he would be a farm laborer. A life that didn't interest him. He ran away from home with his mothers help.
In town he went right up to a financial house and asked for a job. So begins his first stock experience. Bucket Shops. This was a new concept for me. They enabled people to bet on stock prices without actually owning stock. These operated like mini casinos including turning people away for winning too much. They were shady and eventually were banned.
Jesse made and lost fortunes time after time. In this respect there is a lot about him not to model. His personal life was often a disaster. My original goal of learning from him was altered because there is so much I don't aspire to. Making a fortune is great, but not if you lose it shortly thereafter. He also had a number of bad marriages and ended his own life.
The parts I do want to copy are his methods of determining if something was working. He believed that the only way to test the truth of something was to see if he made money with it. He also used a method that stopped losses from becoming dangerous as he was often right, but early. The only time he felt guilty was when he altered his method on another persons advice against his better judgement.
He did spend an absurd amount of money on stupid things and without this vice a lot of his life would have ended up better. This was a fantastic book, not just because of his personal history, but because of what it says about the period he lived in.
Almost everyone interested in stock trading has heard of Jesse Livermore who made $ 100 million in the crash of ’29. He was a fascinating man who lived fully and knew everyone on Wall Street from Joseph P. Kennedy to Bernard Baruch. Yet when he died in 1940 less than $ 5 million was left. His fictionalized story appears in “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” by Edwin LeFevre who knew him and interviewed him thoroughly. Many young stockbrokers are required to read that classic. A good, relatively recent book focusing on his techniques was written by Richard Smitten. It’s for the reader to decide the extent to which these techniques are still useful
I’ve read LeFevre and Smitten, both good, but this book is simply spectacular. It is wonderfully written and a very complete biography. The author extensively reviewed, it seems, everything about Livermore. What I especially like is the way the author explains the economic and societal environment at each stage of Livermore’s career. Also, he appears to have gained great insight into the evolution of Livermore’s mind over his career of more than forty-five years.
This work has an extensive bibliography, active index, and some good pictures (a bit small on Kindle). All in all this should be the classic Livermore story for modern traders and those simply interested in the American economy from 1890 to WWII.
5 stars for this engaging story!
Livermore was a fascinating man and the world's greatest speculator. I liked the book so much I read it twice and highlighted the most important parts (to me). Mr. Rubython did an excellent job of researching this book. Highly recommended.
Top reviews from other countries
I work in the markets and I often hear what a great, perhaps even super trader Livermore was. However, I don't agree because a good/super trader adapts to any market (he has to), quiet, busy, volatile, messy etc. But Livermore didn't seem able to do this, he only was able to make money in the larger moves. Not only that, he was a crazy gambler, basically for much of his trading career an all or nothing guy, Red or Black, all in, no money left in reserve. Hence when he got it right he made so much money it was unreal but when wrong, boom, he was bankrupt and normally within a very short amount of time. But to do this you still need great skills so I'm not saying he was a mug-punter although he lost most if not all of his fortune. I think this was why he finally sadly took his own life, the pressure of all in gets to most if not all.
If you're interested in Livermore buy the book it's a good read.
Livermore's best known for the quasi-fictionalised portrayal of him as "Larry Livingston" in Edwin Lefevre's "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" - essential reading for any investor. This book completes the picture, especially his extraordinary coup in making a gain of $100 million in one day in the great stock market crash of 1929 - in today's terms, about $6.2 billion!
However, Livermore couldn't hold on to his wealth and Rubython provides a desperately sad description of how Livermore and his family ended up, with he himself, his son, and his grandson all taking their own lives. Proof, if it were needed, that money can't buy happiness . . .
I took off one star, because although the book's a fascinating read, Rubython's prose is leaden and repetitive to an extreme. He really could have done with a decent editor.
pg49: "he was in no hurry and his first few weeks in New York were used for getting his head straight and analyzing what had really happened in the last few weeks in Boston"
pg 50 quotes: "I arrived in this city in the morning, and before one o'clock that same day I had opened an account with the firm and was ready to trade."
Some contradiction, here and there in the book.