Jesse Livermore Had His Inspirations

A simple and extraordinary passage from Jesse Livermore’s 1940 text, How To Trade Stocks:

“Many years ago I heard of a remarkably successful speculator who lived in the California mountains and received quotations three days old. Two or three times a year he would call his San Francisco broker and begin writing out orders to buy or sell, depending on his market position. A friend of mine, who spent time in the broker’s office, became curious and made inquiries.”

“His astonishment mounted when he learned of the man’s extreme detachment from market facilities, his rare visits, and on occasions, his tremendous volume of trade. Finally he was introduced, and in the course of conversation inquired of this man from the mountains how he could keep track of the stock market at such an isolated price.”

“‘Well…I make speculations a business. I would be a failure if I were in the confusion of things and let myself be distracted by minor changes. I like to be away where I can think. You see, I keep a record of what has happened, after it has happened, and it gives me a rather clear picture of what markets are doing. Real movements do not end the day they start. It takes time to complete the end of a genuine movement. By being up in the mountains I am in a position to give these movements all the time they need. But a day comes when I get some prices out of the paper and put them down in my records. I notice the prices I record are not conforming to the same pattern of movements that has been apparent for some time. Right then I make up my mind. I go to town and get busy.”

“That happened many years ago. Consistently, the man from the mountains, over a long period of time, drew funds abundantly from the stock market.He was something of an inspiration to me.”

Originally published at on January 14, 2013.