The book is a compilation of 17 interviews. 16 interviews of top traders and one interview of a psychologist who focuses on helping professional traders. The book was originally published in 1989, so we don’t get to read how those top traders did during the most recent economic crises.
Some initial observations: All the traders are from the United States. I am sure that there are excellent traders in other parts of the globe. Maybe Mr. Schwager wanted to keep it simple by staying in The United States. Another observation is that all the traders are male. I hate to stereotype, but I have noticed that there are not that many women who work as professional traders.
The stories collected were incredible. Many of the traders interviewed went from trading a few hundred dollars to becoming millionaires or managers of multibillion dollar portfolios.
Although each story on its own was interesting, when you put all of them together, they all begin to sound like the same story. For example, Michael Marcus started trading with $700 and retired with 80 million dollars. Bruce Kovner borrowed $3,000 from his credit card and now has over $4.8 billion dollars. All the other traders have similar stories. They all went from very little to an incredible amount of money. They all are fanatic about trading at the expense of everything else in their lives. All of them gave practically the same advice: “You have to work hard. You have to do your homework.”
There were two stories in particular that I found very valuable; the one of William O’Neil, and the one about David Ryan. They did not talk so much about how they became successful, instead they explained their process in becoming successful. Although the purpose of the book was not educational, I felt that I learned something reading those two chapters.
Overall, I give the book four stars out of five. The material was excellent, except that after a while it became too repetitive.
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