Magazine article Modern Trader

Dancing with Lions

Magazine article Modern Trader

Dancing with Lions

Article excerpt

Dancing With Lions

By Trader X

Speculative Holdings Inc.

(1999)

158 pages

Do you remember where you were when civility left the scene? Take a look at a picture of a crowd at a baseball game, circa 1960, and you'll see many spectators in coat and tie. Now we have airplanes looking like refugee hauling services and something called "casual Friday" abroad in the land.

Add to this deplorable trend the rudeness found in any Internet chat room and in books such as this one wherein the author, who does have some useful observations, finds it necessary to regale the reader with his command of a four-letter vocabulary. It's neither cute nor necessary, and it certainly detracts from the content. A little proofreading here and there wouldn't have hurt, either: You do not have to be a trivia buff in this industry to spell Leo Melamed's name correctly (hint: Trader X, it's not M-E-L-O-M-E-D).

Trader X -- we're informed he doesn't want to be deluged by his public, hence the anonymity -- is the nom de plume of a typical Chicago commodities player. We follow his autobiographical detour into stints at various marginal retail brokerages and his frustrating, money-losing start as a trader on his own account. We even get a self-serving apologia of his smackdown by the National Futures Association.

So far, so good. But are his revelations that the goal of many retail houses is to convert customer equity into commissions an addition to the store of human knowledge, or just his way of repaying, anonymously, some bad personal experiences? And how's this for self-revelation: "When I chose to become a commodities broker, and later a true commodities trader, I wasn't prepared for adversity." Oh, now we know who fell for the "how to make a million bucks" ads.

Well, as noted above, Mr. X does have some useful observations about people, markets and technical analysis. …

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