There Is No Quick Fix!

Seeing this book on day trading one’s retirement funds gives me the opportunity to quote Dirty Harry Callahan:

A man’s got to know his limitations.

I haven’t read the book and for all I know it may be very good, but trading, chess and other fields require a broad skill set, certain personality traits and considerable experience to do them well. Some books can offer important insights on the path to expertise but that’s all they do.

So how come people can be attracted by the idea of day trading their pension when they wouldn’t dream of picking a fight with Mike Tyson? Probably because the relative randomness of markets, plus occasional success stories, gives people the idea that they can be a winner. Plus most people have no conception about what it takes to excel in a particular field.

What about chess? Well wannabe champions will quickly realize that there’s no quick fix, at the end of the day they need to study and play a lot to enjoy even the slightest taste of success. You can of course randomize the game by shortening the time limit but chess will never be very ‘encouraging’ for those who want success without putting in a lot of effort.