Book - Review

Product: Secrets of a Stock Exchange Specialist

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Secrets Of A Stock Exchange Specialist
Insights, Wisdom, And Trading Strategies From The Floor


It is often true that big things come in small packages.  Steven Primo’s book (see title above) is an example.  In less than 100 pages (not counting the excellent glossary), Primo manages to impart empirically important, market-trading wisdom and three time-tested trading strategies.  Granted, throw a rock and you will hit a book about market trading, about making money in the market, but this little gem sparkles amidst the pile of books out there. 

Primo’s book is different for three specific reasons.  It is easy to read.  It makes no guarantees or promises.  It marches backward right past the market mumbo-jumbo of today to a simpler time when successful traders could state their wisdom in two sentences.  Technical analysis, fundamental analysis, financial news, or even the tape of the day mattered little in finding their trades.  What mattered most to these traders was the psyche of the market, not the data of the overall market or any specific market for that matter.  An interesting thought indeed.   


Since, the book is so tight, an overview just about captures it all, so leaving some to the imagination is a good thing.  Nevertheless, as fitting the style and flow of the book, Primo lays out four simple sections:

  • Insights
  • Wisdom
  • Strategies
  • Conclusion

If there is a criticism of this simplistic approach, however, it is that Primo did not include his Preface as a content section.  In these two vital pages, Primo manages to define his credentials, direct the reader forward, and to express the essential point of his book – many trade but few succeed.  In his words, “I observed that there were common traits and disciplines that were akin to only a few select on the Exchange floor.”  This vital and simple truth frames the book in such a way that this reader felt compelled to find out why.  Clearly, what did these traders know or do to make them successful?  Again, in Primo’s words, “Were they seeing something the rest of us couldn’t?”

Primo’s anecdote of the quiet but successful trader answers the question above, and in this little tale of patience versus aggression, the reader quickly learns a basic truth about the market – it is not the stats, numbers, charts, or news that is important; it is the trend.  Moreover, he clearly identifies the problem that most unsuccessful trend traders have, and that is their need to enter or exit at the definitive top or bottom.  Primo’s quiet trader follows another path, a simple strategy that skips all the stress and achieves the goal of consistently making money.

Primo’s objective in this book is to share with the reader what he learned from his 16 years as a Specialist working inside one of the many market “boiler rooms,” one genesis of the energy for market trading – the Pacific Stock Exchange.  He accomplishes this in an easy-to-read style that flows quickly.  His goal in with the book is “to share with you those few edges that only a rare number of Specialists were able to attain.”  


Ultimately, life is a simple deal.  Trading is no different.  The problem inherent in both is the need for humans to complicate the simple, to make the basics seem trivial.  In reality, when you look at most processes scientifically, there is an empirical formula underlying them all.  Primo taps into this reality in his book, which makes it the gem mentioned earlier.  So, if you see the sparkle in this, pick up his book and add it to your collection.