Interview: Getting Smarter With Alexander Elder by Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan
Be Calm, Be Disciplined
Alexander Elder is a professional trader and trading psychology expert based in New York City. He is the author of a dozen books, including Come Into My Trading Room (Barron’s 2002 Book of the Year) and Trading For A Living, considered modern classics among traders.
Elder was born in Leningrad and grew up in Estonia, where he entered medical school at the age of 16. At 23, while working as a ship’s doctor, he jumped a Soviet ship in Africa and received political asylum in the United States. He worked as a psychiatrist in New York and taught at Columbia University. His experience as a psychiatrist provided him with unique insight into the psychology of trading. Elder’s books, articles, and software reviews have established him as an expert on trading.
Elder is the originator of the Traders’ Camps week-long classes for traders, as well as the SpikeTrade group for traders. He continues to trade and is a sought-after speaker at conferences in the US and abroad.
STOCKS & COMMODITIES Editor Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan spoke with Alex Elder on October 31, 2014 about how to stay ahead in today’s fast-moving markets.
What prompted you to write The New Trading For A Living? What is new since the book originally came out?
The publishers had been asking me for a revision for the last 10 or 15 years, and I always declined because I said the book was complete and stood on its own. What really prompted me to write the new edition is that new technologies started appearing and, seeing that, I decided I would come up with a wonderful interactive book. Well, that interactive book still hasn’t been completed. That’s the next project. I thought it would take three months to refresh Trading For A Living and update it a little. Well, those three months became 18 months, because I found I kept getting smarter. The last sentence in my original Trading For A Living, which was published in 1993, was, “Like any good trader, I continue to learn and reserve the right to be smarter tomorrow than I am today.” And I felt a bit smarter. I learned things I did not know at that time.