In 1987 my father and I purchased a seat on the New York Futures Exchange
for $100 and established a trading account with $25,000. The goal, he explained,
was to make $2,500 a week. Although this seemed like an extraordinary
annualized return on investment, I had heard of legendary traders
who had taken meager sums and transformed them into vast fortunes, and
so I embarked on a journey that eventually culminated in the publication of
I wish I could tell you that this book contains the secrets of how I accomplished
that formidable goal, but I never did learn how to consistently
produce even a 100 percent average annualized rate of return on my capital.
I will say that if I had somehow accomplished that goal I would probably
have very little knowledge to offer the typical trader. Instead my journey
was a difficult one in which I gradually learned that trying to earn several
hundred percent on my capital annually was, for me at least, a recipe for disaster.
And yet if I had known what I now understand about realistic rates of
return on investment vis-à-vis risks taken to achieve those returns, I might
not have chosen speculation as a career, and that path has given me far
more than mere financial rewards. It has taught me to be open-minded, patient,
objective, consistent, disciplined, even-minded, and nonattached to
the results of my actions. In addition, it taught me how to survive as a trader
while suffering from being severely undercapitalized.