What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars

  • by Jim Paul, Brendan Moynihan, Jack Schwager (foreword)
  • Narrated by Patrick Lawlor
  • 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- Cora Keegan "I am inspired by the beautiful women, girls, and men who I’ve met over the years that lack the self-esteem to recognize their own beauty."

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.


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- Scott Morris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-16-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios