How Legendary Traders Made Millions

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Author: John Boik

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi

One way to quickly achieve success in life is to have a mentor or learn from experienced people in one’s area of interest. The same applies to stock-investing. Therefore, it is a good idea that John Boik has written this text entitled “How Legendary Traders Made Millions” to assist (prospective) investors. Boik, a controller and former stockbroker has been the featured guest on business investment radio shows that have been broadcast throughout Canada and the United States.

This author profiles eight of the greatest traders of all time, focusing on the historic trades and strategies behind the legends. He emphasises the need for you to learn from the legends.

As regards structure, this text is divided into 12 chapters. Chapter one is christened “Industrial stocks produce a millionaire (1897-1909”. Boik explains that Baruch was one of the most successful stock market traders ever and transaction reiterated that his favourite time to purchase stocks was when the general market was beginning a strong upward trend after coming off a low market period.

The author adds that Baruch’s observation skills and experience from watching and participating in the markets since 1891 gave him the confidence to take advantage of strong opportunities when the market presented them. “He made most of the errors many market participants make in the market over the prior six years when he was starting out and learning exactly how the market operated. But he learned from his mistakes, decided he would never give up, and kept fast to his study,” discloses Boik.

Chapter two is tagged “A few sidestep landmines to profit (1910-19)”. Here, the author says the year 1912 witnessed the end of the long recession in February that had begun two years before. Boik adds that it should be noted that these flat years were very frustrating to many active traders at the time. He explains that the first reason was because of Jesse Livermore. Boik expatiates that as the two-year recession ended in January 1915, the war in Europe had begun and some uncertainties were lifted, making the market to start picking up. The author educates that after a slow beginning in January and February, the market sprang forwards in March.

He reveals that as America started to become the supplier of arms and food for the war, many leading stocks looked poised for solid returns. Boik says some of the leading stocks that stepped forwards included American Smelting, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, etc. He adds that Livermore purchased Bethlehem Steel as it rose strongly and hit $98 per share. According to him, the very next day it hit $145, and Livermore sold out for a quick $50,000 profit. In Boik’s words, “It turned out  he actually broke one of the vital rules of trading: don’t be quick to sell a winning leader…Livermore would actually end the year with $150,000 in his account as he clearly stayed attuned to a rising market and made trading and investment decisions within the context of a healthy and profitable market environment.”

Chapter three is entitled “Shrewd traders made and kept millions (1920-29)”. In this chapter, the author says the markets began the 1920s where they had left off in 1919 sliding downwards. Boik adds that Richard Wyckoff, during his continued study of the markets, remarked in 1920 that the market was changing. Boik explains that Wyckoff noticed after the war had ended, that there were many more industries vying for the lead in the market.

The author discloses that through his observation, he (Wyckoff) concluded that he needed more than just pure market action to discover the real standout leaders for the future. And with this new expanded study in mind, Wyckoff set out and formed Richard D. Wyckoff Analytical Staff, Inc., in which he (Wyckoff) was the sole owner, says Boik.

According to the author, “Wyckoff was more of a shorter-term participant, and he always made sure to retain his profits when he had them instead of giving them back…He did confine his trades to active leading stocks, and he conducted his own research. He would commonly trade what he called the ‘four horsemen’ of speculative stocks, which were American Can, Studebaker, U.S. Steel and Baldwin Locomotive….”

In chapters four to 11, Boik analytically X-rays concepts of patience and flexibility (1930-39), illustrated with Gerald Loeb; victory creating more opportunity for a legendary trader (1940-49), illustrated with Gerald Loeb; innovative stocks producing fabulous profits (1950-59), illustrated with Nicholas Darvas; a ‘go-go’ bull run putting profits that studied history (1960-69), as exemplified by Jack Dreyfus and most getting whipped up and down except the best (1970-79), illustrated with William O’Neil.

Other concepts are: a great trader outrunning the bull and avoiding the crash (1980-89), also illustrated with William O’Neil; new technologies producing unprecedented opportunities (1990-99), also illustrated with William O’Neil; and avoiding bear tracks keeps prior profits in expert accounts (2000-2004), exemplified with Jim Roppel.

Chapter 12 examines the concept of learning from the lessons of history and the greatest traders. The author asserts that it pays to listen to one of the most successful stock market operators in history. Boik adds that the one has probably studied more than any other person, and in meticulous detail, the history and action of the stock market and the leading stocks that made the best gains throughout history.

Conceptually, this text is rich. Stylistically, it is also on the high rung of the ladder. For instance, the author’s language is simple. Also, the depth of Boik’s research is especially underscored by the minutest detail and reflective illustrations accorded every chapter. He generously employs graphical embroidery to visually reinforce his conceptual details.

However, errors of punctuation technically called “graphological errors” in “Stylistics”, an area of English Studies, are noticed, e.g. “Through his observation he concluded that he needed more than just pure market action to discover the real standout leaders for the future…With this new expanded study in mind he set…” (pages 34-35), instead of  “Through his observation, he concluded that he needed more than just pure market action to discover the real standout leaders for the future…With this new expanded study in mind, he set….”

Finally, this text is a classic.  It is a must-read and the tips must-apply for experienced, inexperienced and intending investors.

GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425

Email: gokeiles2010@gmail.com

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng



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