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Think about governments incentives and what they will or won't allow to happen. Nov 16, Mohamed Diab Embbya rated it liked it Shelves: A semi-autobiographical treatise of a speculator, sportsman and a music dilettante. At times it was a dull and excruciating read but I thought seven of the sixteen chapters are a must read for anyone interested in finance and speculation; but while I felt I was tediously trudging through the remianing chapters, they did contain pockets of insights and foresights and despite my three star rating, all in all the book is worthy of reading, perhaps only selective reading though.

Topics covered which A semi-autobiographical treatise of a speculator, sportsman and a music dilettante.

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Topics covered which I found most interesting: Jan 23, Paul Barnes rated it liked it Shelves: Niederhoffer is a big-time hedge fund manager. Between ordering this book from Amazon and it's arrival Niederhoffer went bust, betting that Asian markets would lift after substantial falls. That was the greatest lesson of the book - you have to be with the trend, not betting against it.

A colourful character and a fun read. Nice cover art — with Niederh0ffer in his socks. Great inspiration to be myself given my aversion to wearing shoes.

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Jul 10, Daniel rated it really liked it. I'd recommend this book for patient intermediate to advanced investors. The book is mostly a memoir, it's not really an investing book per se, although there's a lot of wisdom here in metaphor form if you're willing to look for it. Jan 10, Donald Plugge rated it really liked it Shelves: Niederhoffer may or may not be a good investor, but he is certainly quite eccentric.

I have him 4 stars, as I just might go back and reread select chapters of the book. Niederhoffer lives life in a big way and that includes a huge loss of 's of millions on a bad investment. How does such a person go on after losing that much money? He goes on by brushing himself off and getting back on the house -- moxie. Perhaps that spirit was behind his push to become a ranking handball player. The boo Niederhoffer may or may not be a good investor, but he is certainly quite eccentric.

The book describes his youth and the influence of various relatives and friends, people who taught him how to play games and even gamble. I enjoyed the read. Sep 28, Ben Peyton rated it it was ok. This was all over the place and needed to be cut in half. Also, what got me was the constant attacks against investors who use random correlations to invest but then he had two chapters on how investing is like music and another one on how investing is like sex which were chalk full of random correlations and observations.

At that point I had enough of his supposed ideas and it took everything in mean to finish this book.

The Education of a Speculator by Victor Niederhoffer

Mar 29, William rated it liked it. One heck of an interesting investment mind. He lost millions in the Asian Crisis in but his story and thoughts are truly unigue. He has a following among some very, very bright investment minds and his insight into different areas of thinking made a great read. Jul 27, Charles Melendez rated it it was amazing. I am here to claim that this is one of my favorite books.

It is very un-edited and fresh. It is a topic that I was very interested in, so I did not have a problem reading it, however, I can see others losing interest in reading it. Sep 06, Thomas rated it liked it. He's very egotistical, and went out of business in Nevertheless, he's a smart guy, and a good trader. Acclaim for The Education of a Speculator, a provocative andpenetrating look into the mind, the soul, and the strategies of oneof the most controversial traders of all time "A compelling and an entertaining read.

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Taken together, this is pure nectar to those whoaim for consistently superior stock market performance. Successful speculating is as fine an art as chess,checkers, fishing, poker, tennis, painting, and music. Niederhofferbrings forth the best from each of these fields and shows theinvestor how their principles can enrich one's life and net worth. What emerges is abook full of insights, useful to the professional and laymanalike.

Delphic Oracles and Science. Markets, which are essentially a concurrent expression of individual and social psychology, are an intellectually valid and meaningful field of study because they lead to valuable insight into basic human behavior. I believe the reason that so many readers have such dissonance about this book is not due to Niederhoffer's attempts at intellectualizing markets. It is due to the fact that his attempts at intellectualization are incomplete. Although his idiosyncratic observations about markets are indeed valuable, his ideas are very fragmented.

Personally, I didn't mind this. But I think most people were bothered that he made no effort to tie them up into a cohesive whole, which is what the field of behavioral finance is currently doing.


Niederhoffer's need for validation seems to manifest itself in every aspect of his life. He fancies himself a Renaissance man who studies everything, from literature, to history, to music, to philosophy. But most of these efforts come off as fake, including, at times, his effort to be a trader. The casual, jovial tone he uses throughout the book gives readers the impression the market is more like a toy that he likes to play with - a mere a curiosity at best and a vehicle for recognition at worst.

His jovial tone is in stark contrast to the hardened tone that most veteran traders acquire as a result of the battles they have fought and the emotional beatings they have taken in the markets. Hence, his nonchalant attitude leads to situations where the big risks he takes and consequently, the large loses he endures are not really a concern to him. Although he intellectually comprehends the seriousness of his meltdowns, they don't seem important enough to motivate him to re-evaluate himself. His attitude about blowing out a billion dollar account is like a skateboarder who understands that he can fall and crack his head open but doesn't really care.

I wonder, though, what this ultimate indifference is based on. One Amazon reviewer pointed out that he "takes faith in the synchronicity of Nature as though it can save him". This attitude leads Niederhoffer to allow the market to determine how much money he makes, instead of relying on his own ability to act. Another reviewer believed that Niederhoffer's constant overleveraging indicates that he lacks basic trading skills.

This could be a valid explanation. Regardless of the reason, there seems to be an unhealthy level of passivity in his trading which leads to systematic failures. Based on his shortcomings i. One could even further argue that it would be best if he didn't trade at all, and that he should simply be an analyst who does research and analysis in a strictly advisory role. In response to these questions, I think Niederhoffer needs to do two things. First, he needs to reflect on the basic question of why he trades. The answer to this question will determine whether or not he actually wants to be a trader.

Assuming that he does, then I think he should discern between the different skills needed to be a trader vs. He then needs to figure out if he is able to - and wants to - acquire the skills which he doesn't currently have. If he decides that he doesn't want to be a trader then there is nothing wrong with this. Tom DeMark is someone who has built a stellar reputation as an analyst based on his intellectual work in the field of market analysis. Niederhoffer on the other hand, seems to be determined to push forward despite any shortcomings as a trader.

This path, while obviously worrisome, is not necessarily a doomed strategy.

Jim Rogers is someone who has openly confessed that he is a bad trader. When Rogers worked at the Quantum Fund, his role was to be strictly an analyst, with Soros being the trader.

My Book Reviews

Yet, Rogers has been able to maintain a successful long-term track record - despite exhibiting the same trademark stubbornness that Niederhoffer shows. Much of what I am writing about Niederhoffer is admittedly conjecture, but since he is being so open yet deliberately elusive, he is begging to be analyzed. Unfortunately for me, this was the most difficult review I've ever had to write.

Niederhoffer's opaque style forces readers to process his words in order to extract their meanings - but I don't mean in a philosophical way in which one ponders the deeper issues of life. His impenetrable exterior leads to a fog of confusion which leaves readers feeling frustrated, confused and shortchanged. In my opinion, Niederhoffer had the opportunity to make "The Education of a Speculator" one of the greatest trading books ever written. Anyone who has read the popular article written by John Cassidy in about Niederhoffer in the New Yorker "The Blow-Up Artist" sees how much valuable information and lessons he has to share.

If only Niederhoffer didn't try to sound so profound, and had fused his undeniable intelligence with equal parts vulnerability, then maybe this could have been a reality. My Book Reviews --! Here are some other interesting topics and quotes from Speculator: Attempts to answer the pivotal question of speculation invariably raised twice as many questions as they solve.