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Simplicity is sometimes a trader’s ally

For some, trading is an academic endeavour. For others, it is a daily battle they relish and look forward to. When I started out I thought it was the best job in the world. Today I have to admit I am sometimes sick of trading. I don’t know what else I would do, but when I find myself feeling sick of it, I have to leave it alone for a couple of days. That is usually enough to get my hunger back.

Not everyone in the industry trades. You learn that when you go on the lecture circuit. I have the advantage (and sometimes disadvantage) that I trade publicly, and my results are visible to everyone. However, I know of two world-famous trading authors who don’t trade at all. I wonder why they don’t. To write about trading, you need to have felt the pains of being wrong and the joy of riding a winner.

A simple success story

As this set of trading tips draws to a close, I want to tell you about a world-famous trader named WD Gann. He wrote many courses on trading, some of which were exceptionally esoteric in content. Gann was supposedly a very clever man, so it came as no surprise to me that the man who made his millions selling forecasts to people actually made his money from a remarkably simple trading method.

My friend and trading partner David Paul once spent a whole summer at the British Library, researching past wheat and beans prices, and tracking Gann’s trades to get to the nitty gritty of his actual trading strategy. His conclusion was startling. He told me that ‘Gann simply traded double tops and lows in the direction of the daily trend, nothing more, nothing less’. After eight weeks in the archives of the library he was adamant that what Gann wrote in his courses and what he traded were two very different things. Maybe the lesson for all of us is to keep things as simple as possible.

Tom Hougaard

Published: 23 September 2011

You should under no circumstances consider the information and comments provided as an offer or solicitation to invest. This is not investment advice. The information provided is believed to be accurate at the date the information is produced.

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