It has always irked me that books with titles like How to make a million dollars in the stock market and Ten things you must know about the stockmarket probably sell more copies than my book. It’s my own fault, Stock Market Secrets by Marcus Padley is hardly exciting by comparison, and, let’s be honest, if they were really “secrets”, well, they’re not anymore.
But the get-rich-quick books do sell, presumably because there are a lot of financially anxious, unrealistic, desperate, and frantic people buying books as a solution to their money problems. But if you think about it, in a sort of Catch 22 for get-rich-quick books, anyone buying that sort of book probably shouldn’t be responsible for money because anxious, unrealistic, desperate, and frantic are hardly the right personality traits for a successful fund manager, and when it comes to investment success personality is everything.
Give 100 people $100,000 each and ask them to invest it on a five-year timeframe and, like the Parable of the Prodigal Son, come back in five years, and I can guarantee that apart from the people with zero who spent it, and those with exactly $100,000 who did nothing, there will be no two investors with exactly the same sum of money, which is odd when you consider that the market conditions were utterly identical for each.
The reason, of course, is that investment outcomes are not a function of method or approach but a reflection of personality. It doesn’t matter whether we all adopt the “intrinsic value” approach, or trade on Gann principles, or use closing price line charts, or intraday candle charts because every single one of us is going to do something different because we are all unique and every one of us is going to experience our own “special” outcome.
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