Warning: session_start(): open(/var/lib/php/session/sess_vdr803o1vm98s5fujs6d6ott4r, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in /var/www/html/includes/config.php on line 34

Warning: session_start(): Failed to read session data: files (path: /var/lib/php/session) in /var/www/html/includes/config.php on line 34
addabook - Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
addabook home timeline gallery
signup or login
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
Edwin Lefèvre
read on October 1, 2010

I sometimes hear about people having a book that they go back and re-read once per year. I've never had that book. I can't actually think of any book that I've read more than twice come to think about it. Anyway, this book probably comes as close to being worth such a status as I've come across. I guess time will tell, but it screams re-readability.

The book is is the memoir of a somewhat fictional stock trader from the early 1900's. All throughout he imparts knowledge he's picked up from a life of trading. A lot of it is absolutely still relevant today. The psychology of buying and selling- how to hang on to winners and ditch losers, etc. Lefèvre writes many of the things Buffet or Graham would- as far as not being emotional and only trading when you are sure about what you're doing. It's almost all stuff that you've heard before, but it's very well presented, and told in such great context that the lessons really shine through.

Towards the end the book begins to lose that feeling of timelessness though. Lefèvre spends quite a bit of time talking about stock manipulation, where one trader's activity can affect the market. In the '20s this was pretty easy to do. Markets weren't exactly as deep as they are today, and one trader with a decent pocketbook was able to move prices fairly easily. Unfortunately, those opportunities are gone these days- so while this discussion was entertaining, it didn't carry the same weight as other parts of the book.

Author Bio:

Lefèvre was born George Edwin Henry Lefèvre on January 23, 1871 in Colón, Colombia (now Republic of Panama), the son of Henry Lefèvre (1841–1899), who was for many years the general agent of the Pacific Steamship Company American for Panama; he was born in Jersey, in the Channel Islands and emigrated to the United States in his youth. Mr. Lefèvre sent his son Edwin to the United States when he was a boy and he was educated at Lehigh University where he received training as a mining engineer. However, at the age of nineteen, he began his career as a journalist and eventually became a stockbroker, as well. Following his father's death, he inherited some wealth and became an independent investor; and while living in Hartsdale, New York a collection of Edwin Lefèvre's short stories were published (1901) under the title "Wall Street Stories." This was followed by several novels about money and finance until 1908 when Lefèvre and his wife Martha and their children moved to a country estate in East Dorset, Vermont. In 1909 he was appointed ambassador to Spain and Italy by his native country, Panama. Lefèvre did work as a broker on Wall Street and was the financial writer for the New York Sun newspaper. He later returned to his home in Vermont where he resumed his literary work, providing short stories for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and writing novels. Of the eight books written by Edwin Lefèvre his Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is considered a classic of American business writing. The book began as a series of twelve articles published between 1922 and 1923 in The Saturday Evening Post. It is written as first-person fiction, telling the story of a professional stock trader on Wall Street. While published as fiction, it is generally accepted to be the biography of stock market whiz Jesse Livermore. The book has been reprinted in almost every decade since its original publication in 1925, the latest put out by John Wiley & Sons in hardcover and paperback in 1994 which remains in print. It has been translated into the Chinese, German, French, Polish, and Italian languages, amongst others. A George H. Doran Company first edition, even in fair condition, can sell today for more than a thousand dollars. In December 2009, Wiley published an Annotated Edition that bridges the gap between Lefèvre's fictionalized account and the actual exploits, personalities, and locations that populate the book. Page margins in the 2009 edition explain the historical setting and the real companies, individuals, and news events to which Lefèvre alludes.