INTRODUCTION
The Wholehearted Amateur
The year was 1999. I was in my car, on a mission. I was driving to Irvine from my home in San Diego. Every mile glowed with deep indigo skies and the kiss of a warm, mellow sun; these were the everyday blessings I enjoyed in Southern California . . . even in the middle of winter. This climate made me hopeful and encouraged. It felt like a good luck charm. I had moved here from the cold, gloomy Rust Belt.
I was headed for a three-day program of training that focused on day-trading strategies. One week before this, while talking on the phone, I had become convinced I should go. The sales rep I spoke to from the sponsoring firm had performed his job admirably; he had made me charged up to attend.
Up to this point in my business career, I’d been trading stocks for six months. I hadn’t yet done any day trading, however, and I was gung-ho to learn how. As I narrowed the distance between myself and Irvine, my expectations were high. I never took in any scenery; I was so deep in thought that I was driving by reflex.
I kept thinking of the things that I was going to buy soon after I got back from the training program, when the big bucks were going to flow. You see, I was brimming with confidence. In my short time in the profession of dealing with stocks, I had made a few really good trades.
It had never yet occurred to me that they were just dumb good luck.
Well, I got to the designated luxury hotel and let it gouge my credit card, and then I settled ...

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