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The Heretics of Finance: Conversations with Leading Practitioners of Technical Analysis by Jasmina Hasanhodzic, Andrew W. Lo

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Chapter 16. Luck, Astrology, and Other Unsanctioned Signs

 

You make your luck. There are certain factors that tend to encourage luck, and part of that is discipline, objectivity, sticking to the numbers, letting the market tell you the story.

 
 --P. Desmond

Luck, Astrology, and Other Unsanctioned Signs
What is the role of luck in technical analysis?

ACAMPORA: One of the smartest men I've known in this business is Bill Maloney. He was a hard man, a tough guy. One day he asked me a question: "Would you rather be right or lucky?" Stupid kid that I was, I immediately answered, "I want to be right." As soon as the word got out of my mouth, I knew I was wrong. He said, "I'm not paying you to be right; I'm paying you to be lucky." I'll take luck any time. But you don't invest because you're lucky. You invest because you think you have knowledge and discipline. It has to start out that way. But when knowledge and discipline don't work, I like to have a little luck. But even when they don't work, I have to use them. I have to know enough to cut my losses short. That's what technical analysis really is: it's risk management. So managing risk is making sure that you don't take a big loss, but luck comes in when you catch one good stock and it doubles or triples on you.

BIRINYI: I would hope the role of luck is very small. I like to think that we certainly do not depend on luck. I don't ever count on it or hope for it. When you're running money, ...

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