The book is a fictionalised account of a stock trader & operator who began his journey in in 1988 and hung up his boots after the BJP win of 2014.
The central character, aptly named “Lala” began his journey as a “jobber” or what we now call Market Maker and we follow his journey in the Indian markets. From beginning his Market journey in the back office of a small time broker to trading in the “ring”, Lala meets all the famous characters in the Indian market, from Harshad Mehta to Ketan Parekh to Radhakishan Damani to Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
We see how Lala goes from being a small time trader/jobber to an “operator” approached by company managements to manage prices & a quasi fund manager.Along the way we see how the Bombay Stock Exchange was challenged and overthrown by the NSE, and we see an encounter with the legendary Manu Manek, whose respect Lala eventually earned. An interesting part was when Manmohan Singh was heckled by Brokers when he visited the BSE as a Finance Minister.
Personally, this book has a connect because of its setting & era. My father was a sub-broker and we had an office very near the exchange. As a child, I have very vague memories of going to the little office we had in Cama building, and anyone I look up to in the market is mentioned here.
Dr.Subhash Chandra is a Maverick & Pioneer. The Z Factor combines the effects of serendipity, raw guts and a “Karte Hai, Dekha Jayega” (“Screw it, let’s do it!”).
From his family’s beginnings in Sadalpur near Hisar, Haryana, to taking charge of the family finances at 17, Dr.Chandra’s story reads as a nice thriller in some parts. This is a tell all account as there is no sugar coating in the book. Take for instance, how Chandigarh officials of the Food Corporation Of India would help him win bids. Dr.Chandra candidly admits how he “curried favours” or how India’s first private television channel was an “illegal” operation.
We read how Star misjudged the opportunity size India presented or how an angry Dr.Chandra bought satellite bandwidth at $5 Million when the going rate was somewhere between $1.5 Million simply because the Star executives did not want to sell him the satellite bandwidth.
From betrayals (a lot of them) to political pressure that comes with running a news channel, we read how a fearless man like Dr.Chandra admits how scary it was to meet Mrs.Indira Gandhi. The absurdly funny part of the book is a con Dr.Chandras competitor in the rice exporting business was running on Soviets.
This autobiography is raw. It touches a nerve and shows us how serendipity helps.
Dr.Chandra is a Byronic hero. He has done some wrong, not played by the book completely and he is candid enough to admit it. He does not paint himself as an angel nor does he have any falsemodesty. Like Dumbledore, he knows he has achieved a lot and has no compunctions about it.
Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert) is a disciple of Neem Karoli Baba, better known as Maharajji.
We learn how Babaji affected the lives of all around him and was the reservoir of unconditional love & how Maharajji transcends beyond Space & Time and still appears to those who seek him. Julia Roberts converted to Hinduism after seeing his picture and he is a major influence on Tech Giants like Steve Jobs & Mark Zuckerberg.
In Be Love Now, Ram Dass describes his journey from Harvard to India, the path of surrender and methods on how to surmount your ego while, he turns the concept of Love, Space & Time on their head.
He also describes how the ultimate journey of all people is to attain liberation and lays out his own journey. Laced with quotes from Scripture, other Religious Gurus and his own conversations with Maharajji, “Be Love Now” is a fascinating read in which we see Ram Dass’s utter devotion to Maharajji and how it is his path to liberation.
None of the Books are an essential read, but “Be Love Now” is a great book to have.
Most Memorable Quote
“Shifting our identification from the ego to the heart-mind is the beginning of individual spiritual work.”
Jack Schwager takes us on a journey into the minds of various top traders of the United States.
While the book was written nearly 3 decades ago, all of the interviews are still relevant today.
We begin with the interview with Michael Marcus who entered the Trading Arena because of his friend(?) John who claimed he could double Michaels money every two weeks to Richard Dennis who lost a Third of His $3,000 Trading Capital on one day in the first year he started trading.
A lot of things to learn and highlight. We learn that many traders did begin as nobodies and kept on learning. Eventually we understand that every trader has a method that works for him/her so being comfortable with what works for you is essential. Trial & Error is also a part of the game.
What To Read The Book For: Memorable Interviews and inspiration.
Note: The words of some traders may connect with you much more than that of others while you may vehemently oppose the ideas of some other ones. So maybe you have a reference point for what sort of trading works for you and what does not.
Is the Book an essential? Nope. Does it make a good read? Yes!
Dr. Van Tharp is one of the Worlds Best trading coaches. Dr.Tharp explains what effect your level of consciousness & your emotions have on your own trading.
Trading is a High Mortality Business. Traders have a lot of emotions, and contrary to what Television or Movies portray, neither are Traders hyper (most of the time that is) or heartless and ruthless.
Dr. Tharp shows us how blocked emotions interfere with our trading plan. And when faced with a constantly changing Profit & Loss Statement, A LOT can be bottled up, including large wins & large losses. And we even come to know how it affects the other parts of our lives.
At times the Book seems like a Proponent of “The Law of Attraction”, at times it goes into the spiritual journey undertaken by Dr.Tharp and at times it feels like it is asking us to “turn inward” for solving most all of our problems.
In the beginning it seems outlandish that “problems out there” can be solved by changing attitude “in here” but it works!
What To Read The Book For: Getting in touch with your Emotions.
What Not To Read the Book For: Specific Patterns or Techniques.
If you’re a Trader or Investor, it is a good read, provided you’ve got an open mind. It is also somewhat expensive and the usefulness will be very dependent on what importance you place on your own emotions.