I have launched this blog for three reasons: first, to review new books on trading and investing (assuming publishers are generous with review copies); second, to share insights from earlier published material; and third, to offer some ideas of my own now and again. What credentials do I have to undertake these tasks? I’m a trader and investor with an academic and business background. As an academic, I taught philosophy at Yale; as a businesswoman I headed a book production company. Books have always been a focal point in my life.
Traders and investors should be readers. We may not invest like Warren Buffett, but it may pay to emulate him in one respect. He reads. As Charlie Munger advised, "If you want to succeed, if you really want to be the outlier in terms of achievement, just sit down . . . and read -- and do it all the time." Admittedly, traders can’t spend their days reading the way a long-term investor like Buffett does, but then they don’t have to slog through countless financial statements and annual reports. They do, however, want to have an equity chart that slopes convincingly upward from left to right, indicating that they have an edge and are executing well. And one way to achieve this is to read and then read some more. Or, with those rare gems, to read and re-read, over and over.
Beginning traders and investors are sometimes loath to read because reading opens up too many vistas. Just buy that super-duper trading system or take that expensive seminar and go to it! We know that’s a path to financial perdition. And traders and investors with more experience may be complacent, figuring they know enough and they’re doing okay. But is “okay” the best they can do? “Okay” is no performance outlier.
Reading will not in and of itself guarantee improved returns, but it should be an integral part of any trader’s and investor’s program of continuing education and performance evaluation. And who knows? Perhaps Emerson was right: “Many times the reading of a book has made the fortune of the man. . . .”