AA / SGThe story of the day is that Andre Agassiz's dad and Stefi Graf's are both hard driving. Andre's is known for driving the son crazy with a ball machine called the Demon. Graf's father comes to visit to congratulate the couple and see the Demon. The two dads start  jawing at each other about whether a two handed top is better than a slice on the backhand. They start circling and throwing punches at each other. Andre has to step in to prevent them from duking it out. I knew there was a market analogy. Marty Riesman always said he was the luckiest man in the world to have a father who was a bookie. I didn't have that luxury. My dad was on the boxing and wrestling as well as football team at Brooklyn. But he would thank the referee for calling the foot fault on him. "If you have to win by that margin you don't deserve it." Indeed. He'd call it on himself at a critical time in our doubles matches. The Palindrome, just the opposite. He often called foot faults on me when playing against me. What is the ideal father for a person who's going to win? I'm afraid that the bookie, and the hot headed one fit you more for the trading business than the kind hearted one. Fortunately, some with a wonderful, benevolent father marry a miserable scoundrel like the daughter that's likely to result from the bookie or the fighting fathers. They can counterbalance the naivete and gullibility of the ones raised by an Artie. It's all my father's fault and Susan's that I'm such an easy mark.

Jeff Watson suggests:

The genetic component of what we are cannot be discounted. Since 1860, having had at least two members of each generation of my family end up trading is more that an outlier. The funny thing is that nobody in my family was ever encouraged to trade, and many stumbled into it by accident. I have noticed that many successful speculators come from a background with parents who were very laissez-faire in many aspects of their childrens' development, myself one of them. Many other speculators come from an environment that celebrated and taught a touch of larceny. The very best traders I ever knew came from ag backgrounds, which isn't too surprising. Still, it would be an interesting study to see if genetics matter more that environment in the psychological makeup of traders.

Jeff Watson, surfer, speculator and art connoisseur, blogs as MasterOfTheUniverse.

Michael Bonderer extends:

I kindly refer all Speculators to Daniel Ammann's recent book, The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich. Superb! There is even stuff in their on Familial Predestination! What a cool guy. Better then Steve McQueen.

Reid Wientge muses:

Being an easy mark reminds of Poe's stating he wished he could experience dying and write about it at the same time. Being the mark: You are stuck in slow motion, watching the other act and speak, indeed, watching yourself and hoping for intervention, hoping for "sombody stop me." Is it cynical to wish that one had been trained to master this vulnerability? I think not.


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