Book I’m reading currently – A Man For All Markets (Ed Thorp)

I haven’t been writing on Leith Street for a couple of reasons as listed below:

  • Lack of good investment ideas
  • Busy with my day job
  • Busy with my entrepreneurial pursuits

Of the 3 , the lack of investment ideas is the key reason for not writing as often as I should.

That said, I do post short tweets on Twitter alot more often, particularly on thoughts I have about business, investment and interesting quotes I read. The tweets are on the side bar of the desktop version of Leith Street. Unfortunately, they are not viewable on the mobile view of the site.

My favourite pastime of reading has slowed down considerably in the last 6 months to a year, but I’m slowly trying to adjust myself back to the habit. With nothing much to be excited about in the market given the lack of buying opportunities, I am hoping to shift into higher gear with reading if time permits on the day job end.

I’m currently reading the book, A Man For All Markets by Ed Thorp, the father of Blackjack card counting. It’s a long read but a fantastic one and I recommend it, even to those who have heard of him and know of his methods. Beyond the field of gambling – in which he beat the the casinos at Blackjack and Roulette – he made a fortune through stock market investing. Ed Thorp and his Princeton Newport Partners hedge fund was the original quant fund that precedes Jim Simmons’ Renaissance Technologies and Ken Griffin’s Citadel. Interestingly, he tried his hand at beating the casinos even though plenty of great mathematicians before him and the conventional wisdom on the street said it can’t be done. Eugene Fama and gang said the same about the stock market. Ed Thorp and Warren Buffett didn’t buy conventional wisdom and look where it brought them.

I guess the moral of the story is to never take conventional wisdom at face value, trust but verify and that the biggest money is almost always made from taking a calculated and informed contrarian stand against the crowd. It’s usually lonely and uncomfortable but that’s how the real world works.

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