Famous Investors

Jesse Livermore (1877-1940)

Wall Street legend Jesse Livermore’s spectacular stock market antics helped him reap fabled profits, but his losses are nearly as legendary.

Jesse L. Livermore began his self-made career in trading at Paine Weber, a Boston brokerage firm.

At the age of 20 he moved to New York, where he quickly achieved fame on Wall Street. His fantastic speculations reaped massive profits, but also led to tremendous losses. At the age of 63, depression led him to take his own life.

Livermore was primarily a long-term investor who preferred to invest in entire markets than in individual shares. As such, he attempted to predict probable rate fluctuations of entire markets and to invest accordingly.

This logic led him to go short just ahead of the stock market crashes of 1907 and 1929, earning him a tremendous amount of wealth – which he used for further speculation.

In spite of his outstanding tolerance for risk, Livermore placed a strong emphasis on company and market research. For Livermore, the difference between successful and disastrous investors could be pinned down to a lack of adequate research.

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