CONFESSIONS OF A STOCKBROKER: A Wall Street Journal by Brutus


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I'm a stockbroker and my game is greed,"" confesses ""Brutus"" -- New York broker John Spooner -- in what is a ""gossip and guts"" diary of the bearish period June-December 1970 intended to ""dispel the illusions and myths that surround the stock market and its people."" This has been done many times before (most recently by Elias, Fleecing the Lambs, p. 905, and it's very similar to The Money Game by ""Adam Smith,"" 1968) but dear Brutus has an especially sulfuric style: he's a master of the over-the-counter wisecrack (""Next to stockbrokers, business-oriented doctors are the dumbest people with money alive"") as well as mixed trading in metaphors (""If there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no consistently successful traders on Wall Street""). By any standard, Brutus is a market cynic, believing that the entire operation is floated on human gullibility, rumblebumble, avarice: ""I am in a nonbusiness. . . . Dreams of glory always sell themselves."" Brutus however is often genuinely informative about the ways of the market. He notes for instance that, as in the case of diamonds or paintings, stock values are governed more by emotional and psychological rather than economic forces; he neatly sums up just how the teasing funny-money game works (cf. Tobias, p. 926); he puts down brokerage house research (""no guts""), suggesting ""You can be your own best stock analyst"" simply by nosing around; he even tells you how to beat your broker if so inclined through use of ""blue sky"" laws. And the chapter on the ""Sensuous Broker"" is worth the price of the confession: one old broker advised Brutus ""I sell all my lady customers Tampax stock. . . . They always make money because the stock keeps going up, pardon the expression."" It's that kind of book -- a mutual capital gain for Brutus et tu.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1971
Publisher: Little, Brown