Jesse Livermore has almost been forgotten today except by the stock market community. However, in his heyday, the 1920s he was the most feared speculator on Wall Street. Jesse Livermore is still regarded today by many market historians as the greatest speculator of all time.
He was born in 1877 and started his career by making a killing on every type of stock and commodity that traded. He made his first fortune in 1906 by shorting the Union Pacific railroad, which had been severely damaged by the San Francisco earthquake. He became famous as the boy plunger of Wall Street. Despite his great talent he declared bankruptcy four times in his long career. After each bankruptcy, fellow investors would grub stake him for his new assaults on the market.
His greatest triumph was in 1929 when his bear market raids, in the minds of many, broke the stock market and made him a fortune of $ 100 million, a staggering sum in those days. But, after that it was all down hill. In 1940 his once great fortune gone and facing a fifth bankruptcy, he blew his brains out in an exclusive New York nightclub.
In his suicide letter he stated that he no longer knew what worked. Since his death no momentum player or trend chaser has arrived to pick up his mantle because the momentum thesis in the long run takes back from you all that it has given you and more.
In a strange way I have a close personal relationship with Jesse. You see I compete with him every day on Amazon.com. My book competes with Jesse’s book which is called ” Reminiscences Of A Stock Market Operator.” It was ghost written by Edwin Lefevre in 1923. Since that date it has sold and sold and sold. I don’t think it has ever been out of print. It is among the top three investment books of all time.
The other two top sellers are “How I Made Two Million Dollars In The Stock Market” and “The Intelligent Investor.” It currently ranks 1,762 on Amazon.com and has 212 customer reviews. Now unless you are an author that is not going to sound very impressive to you. Trust me it is very impressive. Amazon.com tracks about six million books. As hard as this is to believe it is a triumph to rank in the top 100,000. If you rank 100,000 you are selling about 35-45 books a month. IF your royalty is say $ 4.00 you are making about $ 1,800-$ 2,000 a year. If you rank 5,000 you are selling about 450 to 600 books a month or say about $ 24,000-$ 28,000 a year. At 2,000 and below you can easily afford an around the world cruise every year.
My goal is to beat Jesse Livermore. Up to now I haven’t come close.
Fred Carch is the author of Forty Years A Speculator. His blog is http://www.fortyyearsaspeculator.blogspot.com
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