One of the first shocking things in the book is in the introduction. This is a book about speculation.
That tells you a lot what was the market before, and what is today.
He made millions trading, lost them, recover, and at the end commit suicide. Still the book has good points for a trader point of view. I will never be a trader, because long term, very few, win.
I like his beginning in the trading world. He was very good at the bucket shops and he was forbidden to trade once he beat the house each time. Like in a casino.
One thing I realised about his trading in bucket shops is, his actions didn’t have impact in the market so it was a very reliable technique. But when he moved to the real market, he struggled. It is like the Schrodinger’s cat, until you dont trade, dont know if the stock is going to go up or down. And the other one, is the execution time. Low latency in those times were via telegraph lines, and they were critical. It is seems Western Union started in that business. If you have to buy many shares, very likely you will not buy all of them at the same price (it will go up, so it will be more expensive for you) and it will take some time. So for that period of execution, you are a bit at the mercy of the “market”.
There are many references to other early grate traders, scandals, crisis, etc. It was interesting how the American Civil War was financed by selling bonds to the European markets and then how during the WWI, all Europe gold came back to USA to finance all the arms needed for the war.
War is business. And then, they tell you is patriotic.
Another curious thing, is the trade of cane sugar. There was so much sugar that it was needed a market for it so it wouldn’t crash… then it was invented our “sugary breakfasts” and the chocolate bars!
At the end, I noticed that the whole trading experience could be repeated in our days without much difference. Maybe without the excess like the Wolf of Wall Stree movie/book.