photos via: daoofcapital.com
In the soon to be released Dao of Capital, author Mark Spitznagel relates in the first chapter of his great personal story of learning to speculate under the tutelage of an older, folksy pit trader at the CBOT. It's clear how much respect the author has for his mentor, 50+ year CBOT member Everett Klipp, and one great thing about the trading floor was how that sentiment is shared by many others (particularly myself) for their trading mentors.
The first chapter is available via link here and although it takes highbrow diversions into Daoism and Austrian economics (the main subjects of the book), it's worth reading in it's entirety to not miss how he relates what he learned as a trader in the 30yr bond pit during the 1990s. Today I did a skim during the trading day and upon a reread after the mkt close, it was clear how much was missed by simply doing a light reading initially. This is a book which clearly requires no distractions while reading to get the most out of it and is great for summer markets when minds aren't left baked after a volatile trading day.
The strategy which Klipp taught was, as the author wrote, very simplistic and while continually sound in theory, it's difficult to implement in futures anymore without getting deep into the HFT arms race, the extent which is well illustrated in another new book, Architects of Electronic Trading. The reason being that getting trades electronically now is like prison sex, the kind you get you don't want and the kind you want you don't get. However, it was/is an approach and the beautiful thing about the markets is that everyone can define their own way to play the game. I personally disagree w/the strict approach of the "Alpha School" and have always thought a directional bias is important to combine w/market making strategies. As much as I'd like to hammer on this tanget, it's not history related so I'll stop.
The entire book is released in a week and a half so it'll be great to continue reading once the preorder I put in for today ships.
For my own attempt at folksy/Daoist wisdom to share in these slow August markets: it's better to be out of the market wishing you were in than in the market wishing you were out.