Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, annotated edition

Tuesday was a glorious day for me the book lover if not for the markets. Early in the morning I finished one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. When the markets closed I trudged up my long driveway for the mail. Among all the junk in the mailbox was a package from Wiley that UPS was too lazy to deliver properly. Inside was Edwin Lefèvre’s Reminiscences of a Stock Operator with New Commentary and Insights on the Life and Times of Jesse Livermore (Wiley, 2010). Jon D. Markman did the extensive annotations, and Paul Tudor Jones wrote both a foreword and an “afterword.”

I never write a review before I’ve actually read the entire book, but here I’m making an exception. Of course, I read the original Lefèvre book. And I read the fascinating Paul Tudor Jones contributions to this book. What I described as an afterword is really a series of extended responses to questions Markman posed. But so far I’ve only started reading what is essentially an entirely new book.

Don’t be put off by the word “annotated.” This book doesn’t have those fussy little sidenotes that explain words you don’t know or things you don’t care about. What Markman has done is to provide the historical context for the fictionalized Livermore reminiscences. There are profiles of major traders and financiers, accounts of deals that succeeded and deals gone bad, and throughout a running biography of the real, as opposed to the fictionalized, Livermore. There are pictures, charts, and newspaper clippings.

As for the format, it’s a large 8” x 10”. Essentially it’s laid out in two columns, but often the annotations span the entire page.

This book is a gem. I am absolutely thrilled to have it, and I can’t imagine any trader not having it in his library. Find any excuse to buy it! At under $25 on Amazon, the excuse can be pretty darned flimsy.

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