June 26th marks the 135th birthday of Jesse Lauriston Livermore, the “Great Bear of Wall Street.” Known as one of the greatest traders of all time, Livermore’s life and career were a dedication to the study and mastery of stock and commodity movement and prices.
For Jesse, life began in rural Massachusetts where he was the child of a poor farmer, seemingly doomed to repeat the same fate as his father. At 14, with his mother’s blessing and her $5, he ran away from home to escape the hardship of life on a farm.
His stock market success started that same year in “bucket shops,” gambling halls where Livermore made over $1000 (over $20,000 by 2012 standards) placing bets on stock prices before he ever actually bought or sold a single share. Once he began trading in legitimate markets, Livermore both earned and lost millions upon millions of dollars.
Jesse Livermore is quoted as saying that his losses were the result of not listening to his own advice. At the height of his fortune, his worth was in the billions by today’s standards. Although his death was over 70 years ago, Livermore’s book, “How to Trade in Stocks,” is still listed among the top books ever written on finance and Wall Street.