Get a free audiobook

What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars

Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Tim Ferriss Book Club Selection

Jim Paul's meteoric rise took him from a small town in Northern Kentucky to governor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, yet he lost it all - his fortune, his reputation, and his job - in one fatal attack of excessive economic hubris. In this honest, frank analysis, Paul and Brendan Moynihan revisit the events that led to Paul's disastrous decision and examine the psychological factors behind bad financial practices in several economic sectors. This book - winner of a 2014 Axiom Business Book award gold medal - begins with the unbroken string of successes that helped Paul achieve a jet-setting lifestyle and land a key spot with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It then describes the circumstances leading up to Paul's $1.6 million loss and the essential lessons he learned from it - primarily that, although there are as many ways to make money in the markets as there are people participating in them, all losses come from the same few sources.

Investors lose money in the markets either because of errors in their analysis or because of psychological barriers preventing the application of analysis. While all analytical methods have some validity and make allowances for instances in which they do not work, psychological factors can keep an investor in a losing position, causing him to abandon one method for another in order to rationalize the decisions already made. Paul and Moynihan's cautionary tale includes strategies for avoiding loss tied to a simple framework for understanding, accepting, and dodging the dangers of investing, trading, and speculating.

Also included is a bonus hour-long interview between co-author Brendon Moynihan and noted investor, business advisor, and best-selling author Tim Ferriss.

©2013 Brendan Moynihan (P)2014 Tim Ferriss

What the critics say

"One of the rare noncharlatanic books in finance." (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder)
“The book points out very early that many successful investors have opposing styles and theories on how to make money, and that they can not all be right at the same time. The most important point to take from the book is how to avoid losing money...” (Steve Osbiston, Financial Times Advisor)
“A novel approach aimed at pushing you inside your head and outside the losing habits most folks adopt right after multiple successes. A must-have for traders blessed with a string of hot trades.” (Ken Fisher, Fisher Investments, FORBES)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential reading

This is a critical listen for anyone participating in markets. I only wish I had listened sooner.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

great story telling

an entertaining narrator, great story, and a message that should be followed by all. #audible1

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must Read for Any Active Trader / Investor

This book is full of practical advise for active traders and investors. The author stresses the importance of having an exit plan before entering a market position and I cannot agree more. A good exit plan makes one money by ensuring you do not lose your head in a bull market and shirt in a bear market. As the author notes, "in trading it is not cowardly to live to fight another day." Highly recommended.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • 2015-06-10

Compendium of old-school (non-quant) trader lore

This book is actually a couple decades old. Anyone interested in this sort of thing ought to listen through at least one book like this. I like personally losing big as a centerpiece to the work: it wipes out that phony "I made a zillion dollars easy!" baloney. It seems to me that, with a basic arc of the story being, this writer was young and pretty clever and made a few moves and wound up with a lot of other people's money (and trust) in his hands, and proceeded to blow up, lose all the trading positions and get closed out. This story is told well (and more briefly) in a fave book of mine, Taleb's Fooled by Randomness. Here, there is a lot of color and detail of an earlier era, though of course the situations are not fundamentally different. A lot of terminology (including informal terminology) is described, plainly and well. And the author seemingly wanted to cram in any personal wisdom that might seem to sort of fit.
This book shows its age in some other ways. How about Steve Jobs presented as a guy who started clever, burned out, and wound up in some nowhere company making no profit? Oops, bad timing as the worst moment in his career was focused on, and the historical next chapter had not yet begun. But this is alright -- it reminds us how the supposedly smart declarations and prognostications of the writers of any time are bound to their own unavoidable limitations, and often seem quaint and bizarre later. That's one reason I read older books: to see what people got WRONG. So much for all of our fond assumptions, and that's the core message of this book.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Scott Morris
  • 2014-11-08

Surprisingly Good

What made the experience of listening to What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars the most enjoyable?

This book was a great listen. The author reiterates his experience which is very valuable for those reading.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. The prinicples of losing a million dollars can be applied to many different areas in one's life surprisingly.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Cora Keegan
  • 2015-09-12

There are better uses of your time

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, The guy claims he spent years on the floor of the Chicago exchange but has no war stories from then, except lucking on to the CME executive board because he wore a nice suit. Instead he relives his frat day in school and his his undeserved promotion in the Army. By contrast In Pit Bull Marty Swartz has some great stories of his trading days. In all those years Jim Paul had none? On day one in the pits every trader learns Stops are in Emotions are out. But in all those years he did not learn that, in fact he says he learned nothing in the pits he just rode the coat tails of better traders. He then lost a million dollars on a very stupid trade. Leveraged to the teeth and did not watch it. Then the book goes on to quote a bunch of business books (not trading books) and he rambles on about Coke buying Colombian pictures. He then says in books he could not find details on a good time/way to put on a trade, so he knows nothing about entering a trade, but he wants to tell you how to exit. His advice, have a plan that suits your style -- end of story what the heck does that mean? Well it turns out If you loose money you are an ego maniac with a bad plan and if you make money you are smart and have a plan?The book was written years ago so it is funny that he picks as an example Steve Jobs who he says is a looser with a big ego who failed at Next computer and Bear Sterns as great traders with the plan. Well we all know Jobs made a comeback with the iPhone and Bear Sterns blew up in 2008.

Has What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars turned you off from other books in this genre?

We are getting there

Was What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars worth the listening time?

No, not even close

Any additional comments?

There is no actionable advice here, just feel bad admonishment. The author has no real advice beyond, get a plan. There is no back-testing, no proof, he just (poorly) regurgitates other books many off topic. Chuck this book and read David Aronson - Evidenced Based Technical Analysis, John Murphy's Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets or a little lighter, Elder's Come Into My Trading Room. Also follow top blogs like "cme4pif Weekend Market Comment". All of these detail real signals to enter and exit the market and of course risk control.

28 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amin
  • 2019-01-16

Let me save you time - He learned nothing

Pure garbage.
Made a 1 or 2 hour introduction, literally beginning from 9 years old, and then how/ when he worked and what happened when he was 12,14,15,18,20,22 and on and on, sprinkling on top how popular he was with "the ladies", and how smart/wise he was by doing this instead of that.
I have not bought this book to learn about your whole life story, and to hear how much you like yourself. 5-10 minute introduction is ok, but when literally half of the book is about how good/smart/popular/ you are what's the point?
No wonder Tom Ferris endorsed this book, as it is as practical as all the work of Ferris.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • 2016-04-11

Decent book worth the read

This book is an entertaining story, it appears it is beging to show the signs of time, it speaks of a the 60's - 90's and at the pace of today's world that feels like lifetimes ago. Well narrated. and a good lesson. However much of the book is just a man confessing he was a "right place right time" guy who lost it all because he never should have been there.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BW
  • 2016-01-07

Wish I had seen this book 12 years ago

Any additional comments?

I only wish that I had read or listened to this book back before 2001. My family, friends, and I lost almost half a million dollars on a stock that we all got hyped up and excited about. Road it all the way up and then all the way down to nothing. Makes me sick to this day. Anyone who buys stocks or shorts the market needs to listen to this book. It could save you a fortune.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gracie
  • 2018-08-29

A Trader's Guide on how to control his/her ego

Thank you Tim Ferris for publishing this book. Thank you Nassim Taleb for recommending this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Kunde
  • 2016-12-29

Must read, gets a bit dull at times

This book has to be read by anybody so you can understand the importance of protecting your downside, having a gameplan and defining your purpose in the market or in your business ventures. After a while I had some problems pushing on and kept losing attention but that might have been because of my personal state of mind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anthony
  • 2016-02-25

View From The Other Side

I picked up this book when amazon offerered a two for one sale. I didn't think much of it as I chose to read the other book in my selection first. I chose this book because I thought it would be insightful to here a view from the otherside. So many books in my collection talk about the exuberance in the market and shed a positive light on it. What I got in this book was what I wanted, a much more darker view.

So many books, talk about how to make money. They talk about the risk of losing money, then leave it on the surface, never indulging in it This book indulges in the losses. In fact, it is all about the downside, which balances out all the exuberance of making money you probably had before reading this book.

What you get is an authentic personal account of someone who been the the proverbial trenches and back. You can ride that sucker all the way through. If an enjoyable story about the personal losses of other people is what you want, you should read this book. If you want a book that doesn't reconfirm your disgust for the arragant, pompus, jackasses on wallstreet, maybe don't read this book. Even though the author may be all those things, he is no idiot. He admits to them, and doesn't try to sugarcoat it. He is honest, and blatent about his mistakes, which is why this book is insightful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M. Leonard
  • 2015-02-14

I was compelled to finish this book.

I thought of this book as a 3 star experience. I gave it 4 stars because I was compelled to listen to the entire performance, including the interview at the end. That means there is greater value in the story than what I cognitively believed. Good job.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful