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What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars Hardcover – June, 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Hardcover, June, 1994
$19.73 $6.75
--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Editorial Reviews


Worthwhile reading for those who don't believe in the holy grail in the markets; a must-read for those who do.

(Jack Schwager, author of Hedge Fund Market Wizards)

A novel approach aimed at pushing you inside your head and outside the losing habits most folks adopt right after multiple successes. A must-have for traders blessed with a string of hot trades.

(Ken Fisher, Fisher Investments FORBES)

At Ned Davis Research, we like to say that we are in the business of making mistakes and that the only difference between winners and losers is that winners make small mistakes and losers, big mistakes. This book does an excellent job in explaining in simple English the potential psychological 'flaws' that cause investors to make big mistakes.

(Ned Davis, Ned Davis Research, Inc.)

One of the rare noncharlatanic books in finance.

(Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder)

Plenty of books recount past successes or focus on how to make money in the market, but what about keeping the money you already have? This may seem like a high-class problem, but it is a very real challenge for investors with substantial capital.

(John Mihaljevic Beyond Proxy)

[An] enlightening read.

(Brenda Jubin Investing.com)

The book points out very early that many successful investors have opposing styles and theories on how to make money, and that they can not all be right at the same time. The most important point to take from the book is how to avoid losing money...

(Steve Osbiston Financial Times Advisor) --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.


Seldom do we hear the message that the management of risk, not just the taking of risk, is at the heart of success in habitual entrepreneurs. Just as the professional athlete learns to play his or her game mentally before the actual contest, so the successful entrepreneur reduces the risk of the new challenge by planning before implementing.

(Edward M. Moldt, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington) --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Infrared Pr (June 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963579495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963579492
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,293,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a self taught investor/trader (arent we all) so I've collected my share of books. But this one by Jim Paul/Brendan Moynihan is the most unique book I have ever read so far. It's the only book which correctly points out that trading and investing are personal journeys; about finding out who are you, and then how to manage what you find out. Until you do, one can never be consistently successful at this game. This is largely why the public can never make a career out of trading. It never dawns on them that it's all about soul searching and then applying your strengths while controlling your weaknesses. Everyone is different; which is why there are infinite ways to make a profit. There are no "secrets" to trading. It never dawns on them that investing seminars are utterly useless. It never dawns on them that you don't have to watch CNBC either.

The book is basically two sections. Jim describes his life stories in the first part, then Brendan writes about the psychology of it all in the second part. Copies of this book are relatively pricey given the rarity. Wait until several sellers show up to take advantage of price competition. Good luck trying to find it in public libraries. This book is worth every dollar I spent to read it. It's one of those that you'd want to reread once a year so you never forget the correct way to approach the markets. The earlier in your career you get a chance to read this book, the better off you'll be.
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Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for anyone who thinks they "wanna trade like the pros" and become a full-time financial markets trader. This book makes it clear that most people don't lose because of what the market does but because of how they respond to the markets ... and how they handle losing trades.
Jim Paul's realization that there are countless ways to make money in financial markets and only a few ways to lose it is very insightful and though provoking. Read it again and again.
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Format: Hardcover
An alternative title to this book could be, "What I learned losing my ego."

After describing a meteoric rise to the top of the Chicago food chain, Jim Paul essentially boils down the secret of his success to being a cocky punk with an exceptional lucky streak that had to run out.

I think he gives himself less credit than he deserves in ascribing all his early success to luck--it takes confidence and selling ability to take advantage of the "lucky breaks" he got--but that is beside the point. His main message is that success fed his ego until he felt that winning was his birthright. He thought he could do no wrong, which led to inevitable downfall.

One small quibble. The ironic thing about Paul's stories of loss are that he was 99% there most of the time. If he hadn't have let the bean oil get back to zero, he could have walked away with at least a couple hundred grand in profits... if he hadn't let the stock options purchased for an eighth (or whatever it was) go to zero after seeing them hit $4, he could have had six figures in profit there again, etcetera.... I got the impression that even the big downfalls in this book were actually success stories with "oops" endings tacked on.

In this light, I didn't really understand the blurbs on the back talking about how Jim Paul shows you the perils of the trading game. What perils? The perils of not taking a huge, monster profit when it is sitting in front of your face?

This is why I have to think the book will probably just reinforce the ideas that readers already have when they pick it up. Someone with a big ego and a small mind could easily think in the back of his mind, "Nice story, Jim... good thing I won't make the same mistakes you made.
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Format: Hardcover
The title of this review is a chapter in Jim's book. I bought this book after Jim passed away on September 11, 2001 in 1 World Trade Center. He told us about this book in 1997, and I was so glad it was still in print. It is an excellent book, and it is written by an extraordinary individual. When I met Jim I could tell he was amazing, and his personality comes through in this work, which is part autobiography and part trading treatise. Jim's rise and fall and subsequent rise again makes for an incredible story, and his insight into the markets are superb. Even if you are not interested in the market, this book is worth purchasing just to learn more about Jim's amazing life story. Jim is candid, funny and dynamic in this work. I wish the world had more people like Jim Paul and more books like "What I learned While Losing a Million Dollars."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best book out there to explain why we do what we do to lose money in the market and what we should change to avoid it. It's an easy and fun read, and the author provided tremendous focus and clarity to get his point cross.

It helps me to see exactly why my own mentor, a successful trader with net worth over $100 million, made his trading rules as they are, which are based on almost exactly the same principle as expressed in the book. The book would have saved me tens of thousands dollars trading loss if I had read it earlier.

I would personally consider this book more insightful than Elder's book on trading psychology simply because it provided concise, clear, and practical steps to confront and resolve the root cause of our trading losses. This book is similar in style and content to those written by "tutles" including Curtis Faith.

If your fund is limited, I highly recommend you purchase instead Mark Douglas' two books on trading psychology, particularly "Trading in the Zone", if you think you need to work on your mindset/emotional control.
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