Chapter 1. The Trader's Edge

I was in Las Vegas. The year was 2003. I was conducting a seminar at a large financial event attended by traders and investors from around the country. The attendees came to the desert hoping to learn more about the markets. I was standing in the front of the room finishing the last details of preparation for my presentation when the crowd began to gather. I could not help myself; I began eavesdropping on some of the conversations. In my defense, it was almost impossible not to do so because the capacity-filled room of 1500 participants seemed to magnify the voices near me. Repeatedly, I heard the same refrain echoing around the dimly lit room: the bursting tech bubble in 2000 had been devastating. Noting the gray on their heads and lines of wisdom on their faces, I realized that many of these attendees were either retired or approaching retirement. They had apparently trusted professionals to handle their investments. As the new century began, their portfolios were heavy with techs and dot-coms. With the high-tech sector experiencing such meteoric gains, the folks in my audience had been relying on those investments to fund happy idle days filled with gardening, cruising, playing with the grandkids, and just enjoying life. Then the dot-com crisis destroyed their plans.

On March 10, 2000, the Nasdaq hit an intraday high of 5132.52. The bulls had been pushing prices up since 1999. Investors and traders loved the Internet technology that led to the formation ...

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