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Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street's Champion Trad

Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street's Champion Trad

4.6 5
by Martin Schwartz

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Welcome to the world of Martin "Buzzy" Schwartz, Champion Trader--the man whose nerves of steel and killer instinct in the canyons of Wall Street earned him the well-deserved name "Pit Bull." This is the true story of how Schwartz became the best of the best, of the people and places he discovered along the way and of the trader’s tricks and techniques he


Welcome to the world of Martin "Buzzy" Schwartz, Champion Trader--the man whose nerves of steel and killer instinct in the canyons of Wall Street earned him the well-deserved name "Pit Bull." This is the true story of how Schwartz became the best of the best, of the people and places he discovered along the way and of the trader’s tricks and techniques he used to make his millions.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After working several years in what he considered to be a dead-end job as a financial analyst at E.F. Hutton, Schwartz quit the firm, accumulated a nest egg of $100,000 and on August 13, 1979, bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange where he began trading stocks, options and futures. He quickly became an expert at trading S&P futures, and in his first full year as an independent trader made $600,000 and a year later earned $1.2 million. Schwartz's style was to get in and out of positions in a hurry; he rarely held on to any financial instrument for more than a day. As his success on Wall Street grew, he began his own fund in which he would manage other people's money as well as his own, a move he would regret. The stress of running the fund contributed to his developing pericarditis, which nearly killed him. His doctors advised him to slow down his lifestyle, so at the age of 48, Schwartz, along with his wife and two children, moved to Florida where he took up golf and developed a daily routine that allowed him to keep trading, but at a more relaxed pace. This is one of those rare autobiographies where the subject unintentionally portrays himself in an unfavorable light. As he grew ever richer, Schwartz became consumed with generating even more money and prestige so that he could "run with the top dogs." Inadvertently, he has written a cautionary tale on the dangers of being addicted to money and power. Coauthors Morine and Flint are freelancers. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Schwartz narrates his personal account of trading big-money options on several financial exchanges. Options trading is very risky, and the average investor won't ever be involved with it. In the rapid-fire narration, Schwartz comes across as money-driven and obnoxious. He sprinkles vulgar words in an attempt to be humorous. The self-absorbed content won't help those who are looking for practical investment tips. Unfortunately, while bragging about his money and trading deals, the author doesn't tell the listener how to make some money. Instead, Schwartz goes off into details about his stress-related health problems. The promised investing lessons in the subtitle are not delivered. No sale.--Mark Guyer, Stark Cty. Dist. Lib., Canton, OH
A candid, autobiographical narrative of financial securities trader Martin "Pit Bull" Schwartz. Beginning with his decision to become a trader after nine plus-years as an stock analyst, Schwartz describes, without censorship, his professional development from a timid and terrified "Newboy," to a yelling and cussing, quick thinking and fast dealing trader. His style is neither for the prudish, nor for the financially faint of heart. Clearly, a life in the pits is not for everyone. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
A Wall Street trader exercises a rich man's prerogative and offers financial advice and his life story. "See how much money I made!" is the message. "I'm pretty smart and damned tough, too." To be sure, Schwartz ("Buzzy" to his pals) is the prototypical hard driver, a truly successful day trader, buying and selling in lightning strokes for his own account. His is a talent for exquisite market timing, a tricky game for even the most proficient professionals. His specialty is S&P futures, a technique using the marvel of leverage to greatly multiply the chances for gainþor lossþon each tick. It requires an inordinate amount of research as well as stamina, acumen, and nerve, but it can be worth millions every year. The alternative, as Buzzy frets, is "going tapioca." Buzzy dearly wanted his kids to say, " `My daddy's the Champion Trader!' That was all I cared about," he admits. With success came LutŠce lunches, expensive artworks, Armani suits, Bally alligator shoes, and other trophies. Schwartz essays a little false humility, but the book's evasive charm is based on chutzpah. In an effort to leverage with OPM (other people's money), the author established his own hedge funds until investors (the bastards) pestered him about their money. Don't be surprised to learn the result was heart disease. Now in Florida, trading again for himself, the quondam Champion Trader reveals, with some repetition, his story. It moves nicely, though, with a certain egomaniacal verve. An appendix gives the author's daily schedule (e.g, "7:20-7:30 Clean out the plumbing"). His investment methodology is also appended, but only the most devoted professional will utilize this rigorous lesson. Anarchetypal text, true to life on the Street, destined to be discussed over drinks at trader hangouts after the market closesþand better than going tapioca. (Author tour; radio satellite tour)

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Trade or Fade

Three Bid for Ten, Three Bid for Ten, Three Bid for Ten. I kept saying it over and over in my mind like a mantra. If Mesa Petroleum hit 625/8, I was going to try and buy ten October 65 call options at $300 per option. Each option would give me the right to buy one hundred shares of Mesa stock at a "strike price" of $65 per share any time up until the third Friday in October, the expiration date of the call option. This was going to be my first trade from the floor of the American Stock Exchange and I was scared to death that I was going to screw it up, that I wasn't going to be able to hack it as a trader.

It was Monday morning, August 13, 1979, and Trinity Place was bustling with men in business suits heading to work. New York's financial world was preparing to start another day. I stopped outside the entrance of the building marked 86, took a deep breath, pulled out my badge, and for the first time walked through the door that said "Members Only." The guard looked at my badge, saw that it said "Martin Schwartz & Co., 945," nodded a good morning, and let me in.

I turned left down the stairs to the coatroom. Members were lined up at the counter, exchanging their sport jackets for their blue smocks, the official garb of the American Stock Exchange. Since it was my first day, I didn't have a blue smock, so I had to introduce myself to Joey Dee, the attendant, and give him my badge number, "945." I put on my smock, pinned on my badge, and checked to make sure that I had my pen. Men in blue smocks were sitting on benches all around me changing their shoes, putting on crepe soles and shoving their leather ones into the cubbyholes that lined the walls. Icouldn't find a seat so I decided to change my shoes later. Having crepe soles was the least of my worries.

I went upstairs to the members' lounge to await the opening. Walking into the members' lounge of the American Stock Exchange was not like walking into the Harvard or Yale Club. The cloud of smoke that hung over the room came from cigarettes, not pipes; the furniture was covered in Naugahyde, not leather; and the members were mostly Irish, Italians, and Jews, not WASPs, or at least WASPs who had gone to the right schools. These guys were the B team of finance, the direct descendants of the Curb Exchange, the group of bootleg traders who ran their books on the streets outside the New York Exchange from the 1890s until 1921.

I made myself a cup of tea and walked out onto the floor. The morning light streamed through the enormous windows that take up almost the entire wall on the far side of the Exchange. It's a huge room, about three-quarters the size of a football field and easily five stories high. The floor was set up a lot like an indoor flea market. Specialists, guys named Chickie and Frannie and Donnie, the people who made the market on specific stocks and options, were perched on metal stools in front of horseshoe-shaped racks of pigeonholes going through their orders. There were different pigeonholes for different stocks, options, expiration dates, strike prices, day orders, market orders, whatever. The other members, the traders and brokers, were wandering around, pens and tickets in hand, getting ready to buy and sell.

Above in the balcony, which was suspended over three sides of the floor, representatives from the brokerage houses sat in tiers, checking their phones and spotting their runners on the floor. Between them, on the near wall, spectators were beginning to file into the visitors' gallery. Holding everything up were huge Roman columns with bulls and bears sculpted on either side and binding it all together, like the ribbon around a huge box of candy, was the big Trans Lux ticker tape. The tape ran along the walls blinking out the prices of all the stocks while just above it the Dow Jones wire flashed the latest news. Even though the Exchange had yet to open, all eyes were darting around searching for quotes and other bits of information that might give them an edge.

Precisely at ten, the bell rang and everyone started moving. They reminded me of horses breaking from the gate, except now I was part of the race. I galloped over to the far corner where Mesa options were traded. A noisy little crowd of blue smocks was gathering around Louis "Chickie" Miceli, the specialist. The specialists for stocks and options on the Amex were responsible for maintaining orderly markets. As the specialist for Mesa options, it was Chickie's job to facilitate buy and sell orders for other brokers and to trade for his own account, constantly adjusting the market price so that the supply matched the demand.

"Chickie!" shouted a broker from Merrill, "How are the Oct 65 Mesa calls, Chickie?" He was coming in from the edge of the crowd with a public order.

"Three to a quarter, fifty up," Chickie said. I had to work through in my mind just what they were saying. Chickie would buy up to fifty October 65 Mesa options at a price of 3 and sell up to fifty at a price of 31/4. Since an option represented one hundred shares of stock, that meant that at this moment I could buy up to fifty options for $325 per option. Each option would give me the right to buy one hundred shares of Mesa stock at a price of $65 per share at any time between now and the third Friday in October. I was betting that before then the price of Mesa would go up, making my options more valuable. But 31/4 was too much. I was willing to buy ten options at 3, for a total of $3,000. The mantra kept ringing in my head, "Three Bid for Ten, Three Bid for Ten."

What People are Saying About This

Marty Zweig
"A hilarious and eye-opening book. Pit Bull tells the real deal about life on Wall Street--and how you make money there."
Jack Schwager
"Pit Bull is a modern day Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (the classic book about trading by Edwin Lefevre); an over-the-shoulder look at one of this generation's great traders. Anyone with an interest in trading should get a kick out of this book."
Stan Weinstein
"Funny, insightful, informative. I'm giving Pit Bull a strong BUY recommendation."

Meet the Author

Martin S. Schwartz is a legendary Wall Street trader who made his fortune successfully trading stocks, futures, and options. He has been profiled in Barron's and in the national bestseller Market Wizards by Jack D. Schwager.

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Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street's Champion Day Trader 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A cute girl wandered in lost. She fell into the water.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It slithered in the muddy pit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! This is a must read for anyone interested in trading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is fun. The author (and his 2 ghostwriters) have put together a very enjoyable book describing a successful trading career. Trading options, commodities and stock index futures with great success, Marty Schwartz shows how he became a huge winner. He constantly brags about how well he has done, and that may become annoying. Yet the tale is so well written, this reader can forgive his self-promotion. Schwartz provides advice for those who hope to become successful traders, but that goal still remains elusive for most. Whether you believe all the author has to say or not, this book is hard to put down. Enjoy a well told tale.