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Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders

Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders

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"Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders" looks at 15 of the men and women who have beaten the US indexes year in, year out - and tries to uncover their secrets. In a world of tracker funds, computer-generated buying decisions, and roller-coaster stock prices, the ability to consistently outperform the market is a precious commodity.

Each trader is interviewed at length. The dialogue is then presented Question and Answer style on the page, and at the conclusion of each chapter, Schwager summarises what lessons can be drawn from their replies. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, in a clutch of mavericks who beat the crowd, every one is different. There are obsessives like Mark Minervini, with his 14-hour trading days, who claims not to have taken a day off in ten years; but then there is Mark Cook, who combines caning the market with working on his farm. There is Ahmet Okumus, whose goal is to be the best money manager in the business, this year and every year; but there is Stuart Walton who walked away from trading for several years, and would rather be a writer and artist anyway. Schwager grills each on how they pick their stocks, the technical analysis they employ, how they choose to hold or sell, how they structure their portfolios. Each, it emerges, has his own "edge". Michael Lauer, with his constant search for value stocks, uses a six-step selection process that identifies stocks with good return and risk prospects; David Shaw invests heavily in research, and cuts his transaction costs to the bone, allowing him to profit from tiny market inefficiencies. Each, again, is different, but in the fascinating summary chapter, Schwager identifies the key qualities they all share. All have failed and come back better and wiser dealers. All, no matter how laid back or eccentric they may appear, have a rock-solid trading philosophy and strategy. All are flexible and responsive to change - and all work like demons.

It's a fascinating glimpse into minds of stock-market winners, and the 65 lessons he draws would form a good blueprint for anyone's forays into shares. But perhaps the best is No. 1: "There is no single true path". In the end, you have to do it yourself.