Tuesday, July 5, 2011

141 West Jackson by J. Peter Steidlmayer

If there ever was a Hall of Fame for CBOT members, J. Peter Steidlmayer would be a first ballot inductee.    As a CBOT trader since the 1960s and director of the CBOT in the 80s, Steidlmayer lead the development of the Liquidity Data Bank, developed Market Profile and actively continues to refine his theories.

One of the great benefits of working on the floor was to be able to sit and listen to old timers recount experiences and lessons, so to this day whenever I get such an opportunity I tend to just shut up and listen.  However, it's hard to find people worthy of listening to and few actual traders did any writing but fortunately Steidlmayer has put out a few books. 

141 West Jackson is a self published book that Steidlmayer wrote in 1996 and it's almost impossible to find anywhere now.  I was fortunate to buy it in 1999 from a bookstore owned by a CBOT member in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and now only two copies can be found on the internet at amazon.co.uk.  Although the majority of 141 West Jackson focuses on trading with Market Profile, Steidlmayer writes throughout the first half of his CBOT experiences and how his methods were developed trading on the floor.  One of the opening lines shows what a great mind Steidlmayer is and why he's been a CBOT member for over 50 years while many fail to make it past the first year or two:

"I also knew it was important to keep the learning process separate from making money.  To me, what others regarded as success, whether it was immediate financial gains, or the good opinion of others, was not real success, because it might not have a real foundation.  The foundation for being successful was in the the learning; the real definition of success was improvement in my ability to function, improvement in my performance as compared to the background of what I was before.  I felt that most people didn't take the time to learn and didn't make a commitment to keep learning once they began to make some money."

This immediately brings to mind what Charles Darwin wrote:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

The latest book that Steidlmayer put out in 2003 is generally available, Steidlmayer on Markets, and more focused on trading but worth reading for the stories he shares early in the book, although they generally aren't trading pit related. 
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