One has been reading a book on speed mathematics by Bill Handley. Most kids who take the course can do all arithmetic operations much faster in their head then with a calculator, a very useful thing I've found. To multiply 98 by 97 take 2 from 97. That becomes 9500. Then add 2×3 for 9506. To multiply 11 by any 2 digit number, like, 11 x 32, the answer has a 3 and a 2 in it at the ends, and the sum of digits 4 in between 3 4 2. I'm not that good at it yet as there are as many rules as memorizing the tables almost.

But… one wonders whether there are any speed rules for making a profit that apply to all markets.

Alan Millhone writes:

Tom says. Move in haste - repent in leisure.

Does that fall under the "speed rule" for the Market?

Jeff Watson writes:

Most successful pit traders had a mastery of "quick arithmetic" out of necessity. In fact, I never ran across one that wasn't an arithmetic whiz.

Steve Ellison writes:

Arthur Benjamin's Secrets of Mental Math has many similar techniques. For example, the square of any 2-digit number ending in 5, let's call the number n5, always ends in 25. The product of n and n+1 goes before the 25. For example, 75 squared is 5625 (7×8 with a 25 tacked on).

Professor Benjamin recommends solving math problems left to right, contrary to the standard method of solving right to left and carrying digits. An advantage of solving left to right is that if one wants to instantly answer a problem called out by the audience, as Professor Benjamin does at his public appearances, one can start speaking the first part of the answer while still working out the final digits.

My daughter and I were watching a video of Professor Benjamin in which he showed a standard multiplication table from 1 to 10 and asked what the sum of all the results was. In 2 seconds, my daughter called out a formula, which was easily solvable using one of the mental shortcuts.

There are some mental shortcuts for the stock market that have become part of Wall Street lore and seem to have some validity, although they are far from 100% accurate:
- "Sell in May and go away"
- "Don't fight the Fed"
- "Never short a dull market"
- "Cut losses and let profits run"

My suggestions for the stock market would be: - Liquidity premium (when there is forced buying or selling as evidenced by a sharp price move, it often pays to take the other side)
- Follow the insiders
- "Always copper the public play" (Bacon)

For physical commodities:
- Buy backwardation; sell contango
- "The trend is your friend"

Sushil Kedia writes:

Vedic Mathematics, a book I remember having sent to you by post a few years ago is a brilliant SYSTEM of only 10 rules that will facilitate a very wide variety of calculations. It can calculate as good as instantly a multiplication of any digits of numbers multiplied by any number of digits too. There are recipes in that…


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