The following are quotes from Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre.  It’s a “is the thinly disguised biography of Jesse Livermore”, one of the greatest speculators of all time; and one of the books you must read if you are a serious trader.  It is on the top or close to the top of every hedge fund managers recommended book lists.  The following are quotes, in order, from the book.  The quotes come directly from a series of essays called “The Wisdom of Jesse Livermore” (CTRL+F “Wisdom of Jesse” and you’ll find them) that was sent to me by a friend.  This list is not complete but should still prove helpful for anyone looking for some investing/trading/speculating wisdom. I’ve added explanations where the quotes aren’t obvious.  (Thanks to Andre for sending the essays over.)
Sorry for them crunching together, apparently there are too many and WordPress just doesn’t know what to do.

“Another lesson I learned early is that there is nothing new in Wall Street. There can’t be because speculation is as old as the hills. Whatever happens in the stock market to-day has happened before and will happen again. I’ve never forgotten that.”
“That’s all the fun there is – being right by using your head. If I was right when I tested my convictions with ten shares I would be ten times more right if I traded in a hundred shares. That is all that having more margin meant to me – I was right more emphatically. More courage? No! No difference! If all I have is ten dollars and I risk it, I am much braver than when I risk a million, if I have another million salted away.”
“I knew something was wrong somewhere, but I couldn’t spot it exactly. But if something was coming and I didn’t know where from, I couldn’t be on my guard against it. That being the case I’d better be out of the market.”
“My plan of trading was sound enough and won oftener than it lost. If I had stuck to it I’d have been right perhaps as often as seven out of ten times. In fact, I always made money when I was sure I was right before I began. What beat me was not having brains enough to stick to my own game – that is, to play the market only when I was satisfied that precedents favored my play. There is a time for all things, but I didn’t know it.”
“There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks he must trade all the time. No man can always have adequate reasons for buying or selling stocks daily – or sufficient knowledge to make his play an intelligent play. I proved it.”
“The desire for constant action irrespective of underlying conditions is responsible for many losses in Wall Street even among the professionals, who feel that they must take home some money every day, as though they were working for regular wages.”
“A stock operator has to fight a lot of expensive enemies within himself.”  –  It is of the utmost importance that traders be completely unemotional when trading.  In the long run, and usually much sooner, emotions lead to the destruction of your portfolio.
“I don’t know whether I make myself plain, but I never lose my temper over the stock market. I never argue with the tape. Getting sore at the market doesn’t get you anywhere.”  –   When you get mad (emotional) about market action, you are rendered useless in effective decision making.  You will be blind to new opportunities.
“We ran into a crazy bull market when stocks didn’t react enough to wipe out even the one-point margins, and, of course, all the customers were bulls and winning and pyramiding.” – It’s easy to win in a bull market, everyone does.  Traders should not care about the direction of the move, just of the opportunity.
“It takes a man a long time to learn all the lessons of all his mistakes. They say there are two sides to everything. But there is only one side to the stock market; and it is not the bull side or the bear side, but the right side. It took me longer to get that general principle fixed firmly in my mind than it did most of the more technical phases of the game of stock speculation.”
“With me I must back my opinions with my money. My losses have taught me that I must not begin to advance until I am sure I shall not have to retreat. But if I cannot advance I do not move at all. I do not mean by this that a man should not limit his losses when he is wrong. He should. But that should not breed indecision. All my life I have made mistakes, but in losing money I have gained experience and accumulated a lot of valuable don’ts. I have been flat broke several times, but my loss has never been a total loss. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here now. I always knew I would have another chance and that I would not make the same mistake a second time. I believed in myself. A man must believe in himself and his judgment if he expects to make a living at this game.”
“It took me five years to learn to play the game intelligently enough to make big money when I was right.”  –  Don’t be discouraged by early losses.
“Speculation is a hard and trying business, and a speculator must be on the job all the time or he’ll soon have no job to be on.”
“The game taught me the game. And it didn’t spare the rod while teaching.”
**”If somebody had told me my method would not work I nevertheless would have tried it out to make sure for myself, for when I am wrong only one thing convinces me of it, and that is, to lose money. And I am only right when I make money. That is speculating.”
“Everything happened as I had foreseen. I was dead right and – I lost every cent I had! I was wiped out by something that was unusual. If the unusual never happened there would be no difference in people and then there wouldn’t be any fun in life. The game would become merely a matter of addition and subtraction. It would make of us a race of bookkeepers with plodding minds. It’s the guessing that develops a man’s brain power. Just consider what you have to do to guess right.”  –  He said this right after losing his entire $50k ($1 Million now) in two trades at the age of 22.  He would never have bounced back were it not for the resilient attitude shown in the above quote.
“If I hadn’t made money some of the time I might have acquired market wisdom quicker.”  –  Lessons are learned quicker when they cause pain and discomfort.
“I was twenty when I made my first ten thousand, and I lost that. But I knew how and why – because I traded out of season all the time; because when I couldn’t play according to my system, which was based on study and experience, I went in and gambled. I hoped to win, instead of knowing that I ought to win on form.”  –  If you’re not getting setups for your method, WAIT.  If you wait and nothing comes up, develop another method but never gamble.
“There is nothing like losing all you have in the world for teaching you what not to do. And when you know what not to do in order not to lose money, you begin to learn what to do in order to win. Did you get that? You begin to learn!”
“After all, the game of speculation isn’t all mathematics or set rules, however rigid the main laws may be.”  –  The main laws being things like buy fear and sell greed. (He was referring to price action alone.)
“If a stock doesn’t act right don’t touch it; because, being unable to tell precisely what is wrong, you cannot tell which way it is going. No diagnosis, no prognosis. No prognosis, no profit.”
“I should say that a chart helps those who can read it or rather who can assimilate what they read. The average chart reader, however, is apt to become obsessed with the notion that the dips and peaks and primary and secondary movements are all there is to stock speculation. If he pushes his confidence to its logical limit he is bound to go broke.” – Methods should be varied.
“But not even a world war can keep the stock market from being a bull market when conditions are bullish, or a bear market when conditions are bearish. And all a man needs to know to make money is to appraise conditions.”
“The more I made the more I spent. This is the usual experience with most men. No, not necessarily with easy-money pickers, but with every human being who is not a slave of the hoarding instinct. Some men, like old Russell Sage, have the money-making and money-hoarding instinct equally well developed, and of course they die disgustingly rich.”
“But not even a world war can keep the stock market from being a bull market when conditions are bullish, or a bear market when conditions are bearish. And all a man needs to know to make money is to appraise conditions.”  –  Look at the current primary trend.
“I couldn’t afford anything that kept me from feeling physically and mentally fit. Even now I am usually in bed by ten. As a young man I never kept late hours, because I could not do business properly on insufficient sleep.”
“It taught me, little by little, the essential difference between betting on fluctuations and anticipating inevitable advances and declines, between gambling and speculating.”  –  Wait until the odds are stacked WAY in your favor and you are almost certain you are correct, then bet big.
“When I think I have found the solution I must prove I am right. I know of only one way to prove it; and that is, with my own money.”
“But I am not sure of the exact value of losing, for if I had lost more I would have lacked the money to test out the improvements in my methods of trading.”  –  While losses are important to learn from they have to be contained; otherwise you’ll have no money to invest.
“They say you never grow poor taking profits. No, you don’t. But neither do you grow rich taking a four-point profit in a bull market.”  –  If you want to win big, hold out for big wins.
“This semisucker is the type that thinks he has cut his wisdom teeth because he loves to buy on declines. He waits for them. He measures his bargains by the number of points it has sold off from the top.”  –  A previously $100 stock can still be a terrible buy at $20 if the fundamentals aren’t there.

“Another lesson I learned early is that there is nothing new in Wall Street. There can’t be because speculation is as old as the hills. Whatever happens in the stock market to-day has happened before and will happen again. I’ve never forgotten that.”

“That’s all the fun there is – being right by using your head. If I was right when I tested my convictions with ten shares I would be ten times more right if I traded in a hundred shares. That is all that having more margin meant to me – I was right more emphatically. More courage? No! No difference! If all I have is ten dollars and I risk it, I am much braver than when I risk a million, if I have another million salted away.”

“I knew something was wrong somewhere, but I couldn’t spot it exactly. But if something was coming and I didn’t know where from, I couldn’t be on my guard against it. That being the case I’d better be out of the market.”

“My plan of trading was sound enough and won oftener than it lost. If I had stuck to it I’d have been right perhaps as often as seven out of ten times. In fact, I always made money when I was sure I was right before I began. What beat me was not having brains enough to stick to my own game – that is, to play the market only when I was satisfied that precedents favored my play. There is a time for all things, but I didn’t know it.”

“There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks he must trade all the time. No man can always have adequate reasons for buying or selling stocks daily – or sufficient knowledge to make his play an intelligent play. I proved it.”

“The desire for constant action irrespective of underlying conditions is responsible for many losses in Wall Street even among the professionals, who feel that they must take home some money every day, as though they were working for regular wages.”

“A stock operator has to fight a lot of expensive enemies within himself.”  –  It is of the utmost importance that traders be completely unemotional when trading.  In the long run, and usually much sooner, emotions lead to the destruction of your portfolio.

“I don’t know whether I make myself plain, but I never lose my temper over the stock market. I never argue with the tape. Getting sore at the market doesn’t get you anywhere.”  –   When you get mad (emotional) about market action, you are rendered useless in effective decision making.  You will be blind to new opportunities.

“We ran into a crazy bull market when stocks didn’t react enough to wipe out even the one-point margins, and, of course, all the customers were bulls and winning and pyramiding.” – It’s easy to win in a bull market, everyone does.  Traders should not care about the direction of the move, just of the opportunity.

“It takes a man a long time to learn all the lessons of all his mistakes. They say there are two sides to everything. But there is only one side to the stock market; and it is not the bull side or the bear side, but the right side. It took me longer to get that general principle fixed firmly in my mind than it did most of the more technical phases of the game of stock speculation.”

“With me I must back my opinions with my money. My losses have taught me that I must not begin to advance until I am sure I shall not have to retreat. But if I cannot advance I do not move at all. I do not mean by this that a man should not limit his losses when he is wrong. He should. But that should not breed indecision. All my life I have made mistakes, but in losing money I have gained experience and accumulated a lot of valuable don’ts. I have been flat broke several times, but my loss has never been a total loss. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here now. I always knew I would have another chance and that I would not make the same mistake a second time. I believed in myself. A man must believe in himself and his judgment if he expects to make a living at this game.”

“It took me five years to learn to play the game intelligently enough to make big money when I was right.”  –  Don’t be discouraged by early losses.

“Speculation is a hard and trying business, and a speculator must be on the job all the time or he’ll soon have no job to be on.”

“The game taught me the game. And it didn’t spare the rod while teaching.”

**”If somebody had told me my method would not work I nevertheless would have tried it out to make sure for myself, for when I am wrong only one thing convinces me of it, and that is, to lose money. And I am only right when I make money. That is speculating.”

“Everything happened as I had foreseen. I was dead right and – I lost every cent I had! I was wiped out by something that was unusual. If the unusual never happened there would be no difference in people and then there wouldn’t be any fun in life. The game would become merely a matter of addition and subtraction. It would make of us a race of bookkeepers with plodding minds. It’s the guessing that develops a man’s brain power. Just consider what you have to do to guess right.”  –  He said this right after losing his entire $50k ($1 Million now) in two trades at the age of 22.  He would never have bounced back were it not for the resilient attitude shown in the above quote.

“If I hadn’t made money some of the time I might have acquired market wisdom quicker.”  –  Lessons are learned quicker when they cause pain and discomfort.

“I was twenty when I made my first ten thousand, and I lost that. But I knew how and why – because I traded out of season all the time; because when I couldn’t play according to my system, which was based on study and experience, I went in and gambled. I hoped to win, instead of knowing that I ought to win on form.”  –  If you’re not getting setups for your method, WAIT.  If you wait and nothing comes up, develop another method but never gamble.

“There is nothing like losing all you have in the world for teaching you what not to do. And when you know what not to do in order not to lose money, you begin to learn what to do in order to win. Did you get that? You begin to learn!”

“After all, the game of speculation isn’t all mathematics or set rules, however rigid the main laws may be.”  –  The main laws being things like buy fear and sell greed. (He was referring to price action alone.)

“If a stock doesn’t act right don’t touch it; because, being unable to tell precisely what is wrong, you cannot tell which way it is going. No diagnosis, no prognosis. No prognosis, no profit.”

“I should say that a chart helps those who can read it or rather who can assimilate what they read. The average chart reader, however, is apt to become obsessed with the notion that the dips and peaks and primary and secondary movements are all there is to stock speculation. If he pushes his confidence to its logical limit he is bound to go broke.” – Methods should be varied.

“But not even a world war can keep the stock market from being a bull market when conditions are bullish, or a bear market when conditions are bearish. And all a man needs to know to make money is to appraise conditions.”

“The more I made the more I spent. This is the usual experience with most men. No, not necessarily with easy-money pickers, but with every human being who is not a slave of the hoarding instinct. Some men, like old Russell Sage, have the money-making and money-hoarding instinct equally well developed, and of course they die disgustingly rich.”

“But not even a world war can keep the stock market from being a bull market when conditions are bullish, or a bear market when conditions are bearish. And all a man needs to know to make money is to appraise conditions.”  –  Look at the current primary trend.

“I couldn’t afford anything that kept me from feeling physically and mentally fit. Even now I am usually in bed by ten. As a young man I never kept late hours, because I could not do business properly on insufficient sleep.”

“It taught me, little by little, the essential difference between betting on fluctuations and anticipating inevitable advances and declines, between gambling and speculating.”  –  Wait until the odds are stacked WAY in your favor and you are almost certain you are correct, then bet big.

“When I think I have found the solution I must prove I am right. I know of only one way to prove it; and that is, with my own money.”

“But I am not sure of the exact value of losing, for if I had lost more I would have lacked the money to test out the improvements in my methods of trading.”  –  While losses are important to learn from they have to be contained; otherwise you’ll have no money to invest.

“They say you never grow poor taking profits. No, you don’t. But neither do you grow rich taking a four-point profit in a bull market.”  –  If you want to win big, hold out for big wins.

“This semisucker is the type that thinks he has cut his wisdom teeth because he loves to buy on declines. He waits for them. He measures his bargains by the number of points it has sold off from the top.”  –  A previously $100 stock can still be a terrible buy at $20 if the fundamentals aren’t there.

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