New Livermore biography - 10 free review books for T2W members

Sharky

Staff
Thanks 0007 for your initial impressions. We've got a great new review book lined up later this month, so anyone who received the biography please make sure to post your review here to qualify for the next book.
 

Lord Flasheart

Legendary member
Thanks 0007 for your initial impressions. We've got a great new review book lined up later this month, so anyone who received the biography please make sure to post your review here to qualify for the next book.

Im only up to page 100,but its certainly an impressive read so far.I love the way it has ordered his life. Will crack on with it this week.
 
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Jason101

Experienced member
Firstly thanks to T2W and Sharky for enabling these review copies of Jesse Livermore Boy Plunger.
Only having read the first 100 pages I wanted to leave a review now in case anyone was considering this book for Christmas.

Having read approximately 30 trading books (and listened to over 400 trader interviews) I would say that up until now my favourite book has been the semi fictitious book Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre, (closely followed by Nicolas Darvas.) But this is probably about to change.

So with this in mind, I can't help but compare this book to that of Edwin Lefèvre's.

First off this book being biographical gives clarity to the murky aspects of separating fact from fiction within the Reminiscences book. It is clear Tom has put a lot of research into it. This book gives a lot more detail than Edwin Lefèvre's, not just about Jesse Livermore's life but also painting a pretty good picture of the surrounding financial world and the times that Livermore lived in and the spaces he occupied. It gives a better understanding of historical events, putting everything into context.
Also because this book is written in modern times with modern language it is an easier book to understand and relate to.
To sum it up I feel Tom Rubython's book lends itself to a greater implied authority in the fact that the subject matter can be looked at from an unbiased historical perspective.

If the rest of the book is as good as the first 100 pages I can see myself returning to read this book again and again.
 
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neil

Legendary member
Damn good read about a human being

Firstly thanks to T2W and Sharky for enabling these review copies of Jesse Livermore Boy Plunger.
Only having read the first 100 pages I wanted to leave a review now in case anyone was considering this book for Christmas.

Having read approximately 30 trading books (and listened to over 400 trader interviews) I would say that up until now my favourite book has been the semi fictitious book Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre, (closely followed by Nicolas Darvas.) But this is probably about to change.

So with this in mind, I can't help but compare this book to that of Edwin Lefèvre's.

First off this book being biographical gives clarity to the murky aspects of separating fact from fiction within the Reminiscences book. It is clear Tom has put a lot of research into it. This book gives a lot more detail than Edwin Lefèvre's, not just about Jesse Livermore's life but also painting a pretty good picture of the surrounding financial world and the times that Livermore lived in and the spaces he occupied. It gives a better understanding of historical events, putting everything into context.
Also because this book is written in modern times with modern language it is an easier book to understand and relate to.
To sum it up I feel Tom Rubython's book lends itself to a greater implied authority in the fact that the subject matter can be looked at from an unbiased historical perspective.

If the rest of the book is as good as the first 100 pages I can see myself returning to read this book again and again.
To continue in a similar vein to Jason. The book, I feel, is superior to Lefevre's -it shows Livermore the human being. His youthful potential as a budding mathematician, his love of figures and their interpretation related to price movement. Plus he had an understanding of human nature that helped him as a trader. We read of him reacting to the world around him, how he related to other people. He had a magnetic personality that drew more experienced traders to him -this same personality that also made him a favorite among the ladies. His human side is revealed to an extent that the reader sees a well rounded character to care about, a character that brings the book to life as opposed to a dry, unexciting "biography" which it could have become in less experienced hands. Other characters are also described sufficiently for the reader to "care" about their relationship with Livermore and events within their own lives.It places Livermore in his world and registers changing events ( birth of proto-type of SEC for instance). All viewed from a 21st Century perspective which helps the reader to align changes in Livermores' success as a trader, along side changes in an evolving financial world. We read of a man able to amass several fortunes only to end his days in despair in a hotel cloakroom. Think on it -to have one hundred million dollars at one time, only to leave a pittance to surviving relatives upon his demise.
Without spoiling too much in the books narrative -the end chapters reveal some surprising suppositions relating to events post Livermores suicide.A good read and thorough insight into Livermore as a flawed but intelligent, and gifted human being.
Buy it(y)
 
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Mr. Charts

Legendary member
I'm half way through this page turner, a real beach book for anyone so inclined.
The reviews so far, 0007's, Jason's and Neil's are so good I doubt if I'd be able to add anything of merit to what they have said.
It's a great present for anyone interested in the markets and their interaction with the minds of traders.
I agree, BUY IT !
 

0007

Senior member
Follow-up review

This is a follow-up to my initial impressions at post #40.

Having had time to read the book in full over the Christmas holiday I can now say that it turned out to be an even more interesting and worthwhile read than I already anticipated. Although comprising 42 chapters this biography basically covers three areas: (1) Livermore's personal life (2) Livermore's trading (3) other financially-related events.

To me as a trader, Livermore's personal life is of least interest – colourful and of a flawed nature, he is rightly portrayed as a philanderer who had a long-term problem with women: nothing unusual about that and probably fairly typical of many people today. And yet, in contrast he always repaid in full his financial debts. Probably the most interesting (as you might expect) is Livermore's trading personality – despite being one of the richest men in America three times over, he comes across as a great risk taker but also very shrewd assessor of the markets. Yet eventually he seemed to lose his prowess. Over the years he gradually became unable to cope and finally gave up in the most permanent of ways. The great attraction for us lesser mortal traders is the hope that we might learn something from him: well, don't over-trade for a start! (Unless of course, you enjoy going from rags to riches and back again). It appears that Livermore was often an inside trader – something not available to most of us (I assume) – and was not afraid to leverage it whenever the opportunity arose.

It's a few years since I read "Reminiscences" by Lefevre (quite an interesting guy in himself it appears) so with a hazy memory of that, some of the lessons I have drawn from this biography might be repetitious. Some uncanny and repetitive thoughts that occurred to me while reading were along the lines of: "I've done that", "that happened to me", "I felt like that" and so on. It's tempting to think that one has the same sort of trading DNA as the great trader himself but on reflection I decided that all human nature is pretty much the same under similar circumstances and that's where the commonality lies. A bit disappointing really, but there you go! All the usual lessons appear in this account: being patient, knowing when to go for the kill, not knowing when to cut a loss and believing you are right when the market is telling you the opposite. However, the most telling one for me was Livermore’s differentiation between what he expected a price was going to do and when it would do it, ie. its timing. It seems that Livermore sometimes had the problem of easily knowing the direction but was unable to pin down the timing – in my experience getting the two right simultaneously is one of the most difficult of trading problems, so it's reassuring to know that one of the world's greatest traders suffered similarly. General opinion is that Livermore offers us many lessons – this book certainly does reinforce that view.

The aspect of the book which surprised me most was my (3) – other contemporaneous financial events. There is interesting coverage of the 1906 and 1929 crashes and some famous names crop up in connection with these and other events. We learn that during the 1920/30s Livermore had a contact in the Bank of England from whom he received extremely valuable insider information via daily telephone calls – albeit at horrendously expensive charges but nevertheless very adequately compensated by correspondingly large profits. No name is mentioned for this contact but it would certainly make an interesting read should the facts ever come to light. The accounts of these financial difficulties resonate with our recent problems in 2008 and brings home the thought that in the financial world (as in many others also) human nature doesn't change and neither do the problems and their solutions. There is a super lesson on solving difficult problems with simple solutions: JP Morgan – called in to sort out 1929 banking crisis had to find a way of dealing with the problem of queues of people wanting all the money out while the bank hadn't physically got enough in hand even though plenty more was on the way – the banks couldn't be seen to run out of money because that would destroy confidence (Northern Rock anybody?). His simple solution: get the cashiers to count out the withdrawals three or four times instead of just the once, thereby slowing up the number of withdrawals but maintaining the confidence of being able to honour all withdrawals. Nice and simple.

This book is full of the sort of stuff any trader who is worth his salt would be interested in and it all makes for a great read. It's got to be essential reading for any wannabe trader unfamiliar with the life of Livermore (just so that they do know the best and the worst in this business) and I suspect almost anybody else with any kind of interest in the financial markets will find something of value.

Highly recommended.
 
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Lord Flasheart

Legendary member
Review

If your interest is trading and the stock market then this book is a must have. Similarly if biography's or celebrity culture is your thing, then this guy did it all long before David Beckham and the likes came along. The research and attention to detail that has gone into the chronological timeline while making it smooth to read is incredible.The only negatives are that it can be a little repetitive and heavy going in some areas,but his life did follow a very repetitive pattern and its a lesson we can all learn from.

I love the way that the meetings, phone calls and those involved are portrayed. The words and the pictures give a real feel about who was who and what they were like.
It annoys the hell out of me when publishes group all the pictures together to save costs.If the picture of J. Pierpoint Morgan and others had been in the right place I would have felt like I was at the meeting!!

The similarity in the mistakes that the bankers and politicians made then and what happened in 2007 is uncanny. Don't they ever learn !!!! I could just see Jesse in 2007 thinking the cost of housing is 10 times earnings, 125% mortgages, buy to let,sub prime,etc,etc: I know," I'll sell the **** out of this" Sadly had he spoken to Gordon Brown I'm sure he would have been bigoted off.

The book portrays him as a likable honest kind of guy who always paid his debts. I'm not really sure that was the case. If you look at his family life he comes across as a very shallow person whose friends were his friends through his work and what he could give to them. Had he been around now,he would have been locked up for insider trading and manipulation etc. The book clearly takes the angle that it was others and circumstances that made him turn this way. I guess my head would be messed up with all that money and popularity. He and his family really were the original celebrity dynasty.

From a trading point of view there is nothing here that isnt in "Reminiscences", just the usual lessons we all read about but never follow. Most of the time he was a brilliant economist and trader and yet like all of us we are capable of losing our gains rapidly through ill discipline and emotion.

Recently there has been much said about celebrities,rich people and sports stars about how depressed and unhappy they can be in their lives during and after their careers. The timeline clearly shows his dramatic ups and down and his emotional need to get back what he had. Despite his success and wealth when it came to it he was on his own with little sympathy or help around.

It really is a great read and gives real feeling to Livermore thoughts,emotions and the times he lived in.
 

Mr. Charts

Legendary member
This is a follow-up to my initial impressions at post #40.

Having had time to read the book in full over the Christmas holiday I can now say that it turned out to be an even more interesting and worthwhile read than I already anticipated. Although comprising 42 chapters this biography basically covers three areas: (1) Livermore's personal life (2) Livermore's trading (3) other financially-related events.

To me as a trader, Livermore's personal life is of least interest – colourful and of a flawed nature, he is rightly portrayed as a philanderer who had a long-term problem with women: nothing unusual about that and probably fairly typical of many people today. And yet, in contrast he always repaid in full his financial debts. Probably the most interesting (as you might expect) is Livermore's trading personality – despite being one of the richest men in America three times over, he comes across as a great risk taker but also very shrewd assessor of the markets. Yet eventually he seemed to lose his prowess. Over the years he gradually became unable to cope and finally gave up in the most permanent of ways. The great attraction for us lesser mortal traders is the hope that we might learn something from him: well, don't over-trade for a start! (Unless of course, you enjoy going from rags to riches and back again). It appears that Livermore was often an inside trader – something not available to most of us (I assume) – and was not afraid to leverage it whenever the opportunity arose.

It's a few years since I read "Reminiscences" by Lefevre (quite an interesting guy in himself it appears) so with a hazy memory of that, some of the lessons I have drawn from this biography might be repetitious. Some uncanny and repetitive thoughts that occurred to me while reading were along the lines of: "I've done that", "that happened to me", "I felt like that" and so on. It's tempting to think that one has the same sort of trading DNA as the great trader himself but on reflection I decided that all human nature is pretty much the same under similar circumstances and that's where the commonality lies. A bit disappointing really, but there you go! All the usual lessons appear in this account: being patient, knowing when to go for the kill, not knowing when to cut a loss and believing you are right when the market is telling you the opposite. However, the most telling one for me was Livermore’s differentiation between what he expected a price was going to do and when it would do it, ie. its timing. It seems that Livermore sometimes had the problem of easily knowing the direction but was unable to pin down the timing – in my experience getting the two right simultaneously is one of the most difficult of trading problems, so it's reassuring to know that one of the world's greatest traders suffered similarly. General opinion is that Livermore offers us many lessons – this book certainly does reinforce that view.

The aspect of the book which surprised me most was my (3) – other contemporaneous financial events. There is interesting coverage of the 1906 and 1929 crashes and some famous names crop up in connection with these and other events. We learn that during the 1920/30s Livermore had a contact in the Bank of England from whom he received extremely valuable insider information via daily telephone calls – albeit at horrendously expensive charges but nevertheless very adequately compensated by correspondingly large profits. No name is mentioned for this contact but it would certainly make an interesting read should the facts ever come to light. The accounts of these financial difficulties resonate with our recent problems in 2008 and brings home the thought that in the financial world (as in many others also) human nature doesn't change and neither do the problems and their solutions. There is a super lesson on solving difficult problems with simple solutions: JP Morgan – called in to sort out 1929 banking crisis had to find a way of dealing with the problem of queues of people wanting all the money out while the bank hadn't physically got enough in hand even though plenty more was on the way – the banks couldn't be seen to run out of money because that would destroy confidence (Northern Rock anybody?). His simple solution: get the cashiers to count out the withdrawals three or four times instead of just the once, thereby slowing up the number of withdrawals but maintaining the confidence of being able to honour all withdrawals. Nice and simple.

This book is full of the sort of stuff any trader who is worth his salt would be interested in and it all makes for a great read. It's got to be essential reading for any wannabe trader unfamiliar with the life of Livermore (just so that they do know the best and the worst in this business) and I suspect almost anybody else with any kind of interest in the financial markets will find something of value.

Highly recommended.

This is a brilliant review which is better than anything I could have written and since there is nothing I could add it's pointless posting a review myself.
Well done, 0007 !
Richard
 

Lord Flasheart

Legendary member
Thanks 0007 for your initial impressions. We've got a great new review book lined up later this month, so anyone who received the biography please make sure to post your review here to qualify for the next book.

Any news on this Sharky?
 
 
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