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Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (Harriman Definitive Editions): The classic novel based on the life of legendary stock market speculator Jesse Livermore Hardcover – February 13, 2017
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Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is the unforgettable story of the life of Jesse Livermore, one of Wall Street's greatest ever stock speculators.
Loosely fictionalised in 1923 in collaboration with journalist Edwin Lefevre, this is the story of the highs and the lows, the strategies and the street smarts, the epic wins (and sometimes epic losses) that has inspired generations of investors and traders.
This edition comes with an exclusive foreword by Tim Price, author of Investing Through the Looking Glass.
Harriman Definitive Editions offer the best quality editions of the best financial books of all time. Meticulously proofread, beautifully typeset in new designs, accompanied by forewords by the best modern financial writers, printed and bound in high-quality hardcovers on acid-free paper - they are essential long-term additions to the portfolio of every investor and trader.
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“Simply a very well-written book and an engulfing story for anyone interested in the stock market” ―Matt Koppenheffer, The Motley Fool
"Witty, self-deprecating, and crammed with practical advice about the nature and practice of trading the financial markets, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is a delight to read." ―Tim Price, author of Investing Through the Looking Glass
“I never thought stories of stock-market trading could be so entertaining.” ―J. D. Roth, Get Rich Slowly
“You'll be glad that you read this book.” ―Value Walk
“Probably the single most important book on trading that exists.” ―Bill Bonner
“...a fascinating and perceptive work for many reasons. Not only does it provide an interesting historical insight into the US stock market as it was during one of the most exciting times of the early 20th century, it also gives readers a lesson on trading psychology and how to make (and lose) money.” ―Richard Gill, Master Investor magazine
About the Author
Edwin Lefevre (1871-1943), the son of a steamship agent, trained as a mining engineer before changing his mind and pursuing a career as a journalist aged 19. He went on to become a stockbroker and an independent investor, as well as a novelist and writer of short stories. Having been born in Panama while his father, a Channel Islands emigré to the United States, was stationed there with the Pacific Steamship Company, Lefevre became the Panamanian ambassador to Spain and Italy in 1909.
He wrote eight books across his career, including a collection of financial fiction, Wall Street Stories (1901), Sampson Rock of Wall Street (1907) and the nonfiction Making of a Stockbroker (1925). His most famous book is the classic Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (1923). This lightly fictionalised account of stock speculator Jesse Livermore's career began life as a series of articles in The Saturday Evening Post, and was first published across 1922 and 1923.
Edwin Lefevre spent much of his life in Vermont, where he died in 1943. He was survived by his wife, Martha, and two sons.
- Publisher : Harriman House (February 13, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 408 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0857195948
- ISBN-13 : 978-0857195944
- Item Weight : 1.78 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.36 x 1.31 x 9.57 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is a work of historical fiction, a roman à clef, originally published in 1923. At the time of publication, people who read about the key character, Larry Livingston, believed that to be a pseudonym for a famous securities trader of the day, Jesse Lauriston Livermore. The wisdom and knowledge of events portrayed could only come from one deeply engaged in the stock and commodity markets from late 19th to early 20th century.
You can buy several modern versions of this entertaining and educational investment classic these days. There are already hundreds of reviews of this book in its various versions posted on Amazon. I have purchased and read the top three versions over the years. Rather than tread over ground that has already been thoroughly covered by others, this review focuses on the differences among versions to hopefully assist you in deciding which one to purchase.
The main three print versions are these. Included are links to the Amazon page for each book.
- The Wiley Investment Classic Version with Foreword by Jack Schwager, author of the Market Wizards series. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (Wiley Investment Classics)
- The MarketPlace Book with Foreword by Market Wizard William J. O'Neil, Founder of Investor's Business Daily. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (A Marketplace Book)
- The Annotated Edition by Jon D. Markman with Foreword by Market Wizard Paul Tudor Jones, Founder of Tudor Investment Corporation. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator: With New Commentary and Insights on the Life and Times of Jesse Livermore (Annotated Edition)
There is also a PDF Version available online via search engines. Here are brief summaries of the differences among versions.
The Wiley Investment Classic Version. This is the original book without embellishment. There are no illustrations. There is no table of contents. This version includes a short Foreword by Jack Schwager. This is the one to buy if you want the original work but cannot afford the gilded price tag of a very rare original edition.
The MarketPlace Book. This book reproduces a series of 12 articles by Edwin LeFevre published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1922. It includes one installment, the first, that does not appear in the Reminiscences book. This version is richly illustrated with black and white cartoons in the Saturday Evening Post style, that is, humorous and wickedly ironic. In his Foreword William J. O'Neil says that of his thousands of investment books, Reminiscences is "one of the top 10 or 12" in his library. This is the one to buy if your objective is to see the markets as did the public in the years before the 1929 stock market crash.
The Annotated Edition. This is the best of the lot in my opinion. The commentary by Jon D. Markman and the Foreword by Paul Tudor Jones, one of the most successful investors operating today and perhaps in history, make this the one to buy if your objective is investment education.
The PDF Version. This is a typewritten copy of the original text of the book. You get the whole story. Personally, I find Reminiscences so valuable a reference that I want a hard copy in hand to mark up and re-read from time to time, in part or in all. You may want to read it first in PDF and then decide.
This is a five star book and a must-read for every investor. Enjoy!
All throughout the book, amidst the inspiring stories and witty humor, the reader will find numerous pieces of advice - on anything from human psychology and public behavior to insider trading and investing/speculation strategies. I completely agree with other reviewers who state that this book needs to be read more than once. You simply won't absorb all the useful information the first time. Maybe not even the first two times. Or three.
Some of the book's advice is very obvious, as it is repeated many times over. Livermore makes his basic strategy clear - incremental or "probe" approach, where he would slowly build his position in a certain stock/commodity by buying (or selling) blocks of securities until he reached his target - if the ticker tape confirmed his outlook. For example, assume Livermore wanted to go long on A with an investment target of $10,000. He'd first buy $1,000 and wait. If the price moved up, his assessment seemed to be correct - so he'd buy another $2,000 of A at the slightly higher price. If the price kept going up, he'd then increase his position to $6,000 - and eventually up to $10,000 - his original target. If, of course, the price reacted differently, his market "probe" would tell him that his assessment may not have been correct.
Other "obvious" advice in the book is equally important - history repeats itself (he describes 2 amazing cases - Stratton's corner on corn and insider boosting of Tropical Trading - where he used the same technique to turn a commodity or stock bearish), don't ever follow tips from anyone (trust in yourself only), and don't cash out quickly for a small profit - but rather ride your investment out (go long in a bull market, short in a bear market).
Amidst examples and stories in which the above pieces of advice appear to shine over and over again, other small and hidden tid-bits pop up throughout the entire book. Livermore is unafraid to talk about his mistakes, and he makes it clear that it's not his wish to brag about his successes - but to simply inform the reader why he did what he did. And he does a fantastic job in that.
The book is very well written. It feels like a novel, where every chapter follows the main story arc but talks about something different each time, with great insight on yet another topic. The stories are very engaging, often witty and humorous. I read through more than half of the book carefree, simply enjoying the great prose and Lefèvre's literary skill - before I realized that Livermore has been giving me timelessly precious advice all throughout, and that I need to pay more attention.
I will read this book again. I will take notes again. I don't want to miss anything.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the stock or commodities markets. It is enjoyable and entertaining, and it is eye-opening and insightful. It can be read simply as a collection of intriguing stories, or as an "investment bible" with much advice that is still applicable today. While the rules of the exchanges and the amount of money that flows through them have changed, the people trying to beat the market haven't.
+ beautiful literary prose
+ intriguing, engaging, witty stories
+ lots and lots of investment advice that still holds true today (80+ years later!)
+ many examples of historical events that have and will continue to repeat themselves
+ great as either a low-key bed-time book or as a serious stock/commodity investment and speculation guide
+ each chapter talks about something new, making it easy to read the book over time without losing track of the main story
- first published in 1923 - so keep in mind that, of course, some things are outdated (i.e. certain rules and practices are in place now that weren't then, the amount of money has increased to a point where stock price manipulation is not as easy, etc.) - but treat this as a history lesson
- probably needs to be read more than once (but is that really a con?) for the investment advice
Top reviews from other countries
The author displayed excellent knowledge of the stock market and those elements of the book were insightful. It was rather humorous in places and I did find myself smiling at some passages.
This is not a guide to the stock market so do not pick this book up with the hope of becoming a trader.