It’s been a while since I last posted an excerpt or quoted from one of the trading books I own. Tonight’s small excerpt is from the book: ‘Wall Street. Its Mysteries Revealed: Its Secrets Exposed’ published in New York, 1921 by William C. Moore. The book contains short and to the point chapters like: ‘The crowd mind’, ‘How the public speculates’, ‘Mental suggestion’ and ‘Market advice’ to name but a few. I chose the one on ‘Greed’ as I consider it great advice and timeless wisdom. Enjoy.
Greed p. 123-124
An avaricious or keen desire for profits is one of the most prevalent causes of failure in speculation. This weakness is general among traders. They desire “just a little more ” profit. If the stock or commodity bought advances, then that’s proof to them that it will advance further and so they hang on. They usually overstay and thus miss their market. If they fail to obtain the top price and it reacts, then they assure or console themselves by the expression: “Oh, it will come back.” It may “come back” but often it does not, and instead, declines to below the purchase price and frequently results in a loss. The same observations apply to a short sale for a further anticipated decline. It is a good policy to be satisfied with a reasonable profit and be willing to leave some for the other fellow. The market is always there and other opportunities for making profits will present themselves while the greedy trader is waiting to get the last eighth.
Greed leads to disaster in another way. A speculator has started in to buy at the inception of a bull movement. He makes money. The more he makes, the more avaricious he becomes as the market moves forward. His confidence in himself increases until he develops a mental state known in the vernacular as “big head” or “swelled head”. He now has unbounded confidence in himself and “plays the limit”. Soon thereafter the market culminates at the top and the trend reverses, but Mr. Swelled Head is ignorant of this, so continues to buy on set-backs instead of selling on rallies. A drastic slump follows and Mr. B.H. goes to the scrap pile – BUSTED.
Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction. – Erich Fromm