Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kiev, Hedge Fund Masters, a second look

I wrote briefly about this book last year but decided to return to it. Ari Kiev, who died just over a year ago, was best known in the trading world as an author and as a coach to traders at Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors in the early 1990s. Hedge Fund Masters addresses the kinds of traders he coached.

I took notes on Kiev's book when I first read it, and I’m going to select four self-therapeutic passages from them for this post. I suspect that most of my notes are quotations, but I don’t think it’s important to check their accuracy, though I will provide page references.

* * *

By establishing a vision, you have promised to achieve something. The promise means you are giving yourself permission to begin to act in the realm of the impossible, to create all kinds of openings. In that one promise, you begin to abandon self-doubt and the need for approval. This way of being in the world lets loose huge reserves of energy and creates enormous possibilities. Yet none of this can happen until you take the first step forward in pursuit of a goal with no guarantee of outcome. (p. 218)

Living in the gap makes you vulnerable. Once you’re out there, on the cutting edge, you’ll suffer breakdowns as well as breakthroughs. Although it will not always be comfortable, living in the gap between where you are and where you want to be will make your days far more interesting and action packed than if you traded with the intention of avoiding pain and discomfort. (p. 229)

It is useful to note when an activity becomes tedious, dull, and routine and leads to withdrawal and avoidance. This is the time to consider whether you are facing obstacles and are retreating behind your survival needs or whether these feelings signify that you have reached your goal and now need to raise the stakes. (p. 236)

The development of mastery is, in a sense, an existential and experiential methodology, directed at what is and what can be. You invent your own future through commitment to a goal, identifying what is necessary to produce specific results, and learning how to handle the unknown. (p. 247)

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