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.


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

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

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.
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- Phil O.

Book Details

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