Episode 258: Does God Help Traders?

by robbooker on May 28, 2014

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In Episode 258, your host Rob Booker begins by discussing a New York Times article about Justin Zormelo, a private adviser in advanced analytics for NBA players. Rob uses this as a topical springboard to address having too much information versus having too little (for trading). Next Rob talks about Google’s self-driving cars, which leads to some brief thoughts about trading robots that have no human intervention.

Next we move in to our listener feedback, with an e-mail from Calvin who asks if it’s illegal to trade with an off-shore broker. Then Scott asks about brokers, the MT4 Platform and the Asian Session. Scott also asks Jason if he has started trading yet, and he inquires whether Rob and Jason are religious, which leads to an inevitable discussion about whether God helps traders! You don’t want to miss this one! Thanks for listening to The Traders Podcast.

Links from this episode:

The Man Behind the Mic — Jason Pyles

Rob Booker.com

RobBooker.com/mail

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Rob on Twitter: @RobBooker

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Trader Interviews.com

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hewhoshallbenameless May 29, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Dear Rob and Jason,

Sabermetrics is the term for the empirical analysis of baseball statistics. It dates back to the middle of the 20th century, and was featured in the best seller Moneyball, so I’m kind of surprised people are just getting around to applying it to basketball. I think sabermetrics is a GREAT analogy for what we do when we journal. You said it yourself Rob, the market is a lousy coach. The kind of feedback we get day to day is akin to looking at a dot matrix picture through a microscope, the dots, like individual trades, are meaningless. However, step back and look at the dots as a group, and you see the pattern. Proper journaling provides that perspective.

Rob said it’s not about stats and analytics, its about getting the fundamentals right. I agree, it’s not about numbers, it’s about what you do with them. We are only human. Our emotions take the front seat in our decision making, our minds play tricks on us, and we can’t even be trusted to remember the facts accurately. The first step to doing this right is knowing something more than just a balance statement about whether we are doing it wrong. You have to have a journal to tell you “Don’t do that no more.” Whether that can get overwhelming or not is a matter of opinion. My opinion is the first time you find something that is costing you a lot of money and can be easily fixed, you’ll be hooked on journaling.

We can’t even rely upon feedback like we do in almost every other real world pursuit, because this is a probability based sport. A long series of losses should be expected in a large group of trades, and course corrections based on such noise ensures you’ll run your account on the rocks. There’s the analogy I was looking for, journaling provides a trader with navigation. A journal details reality, demands accountability, and projects where you are headed. Proper journaling provides guidance and faith.

Can God give us guidance and faith too? Absolutely. Does God help traders? Absolutely. What about the issue of the losers, does God hate them? Of course, they are all bad (LOL). Actually, I disagree with Rob’s reverse analysis. God doesn’t necessarily disfavor the losers in any single trade, because if you are doing this right, you’re losing all the time. It’s not single trades that make you rich or poor. I also think it’s unfair to blame God for not saving us from our trading ignorance, foolhardiness, pride, vanity, sloth, and stupidity. Why should trading be any different than the rest of life?

People get hung up on whether God is real or not, but I’m in my 50s now and don’t let it bother me anymore. Let people believe what they want. I do care about the climate of intolerance today. Some people, usually those with no core beliefs beyond their newest fashionable cause, seem to be obsessed with what other people believe and constantly attack the religious for their faith. If they really disbelieve, why even care about the topic of whether God is real? Suppose he’s not real, so much the better! If God isn’t real, I get all the good and none of the bad. Easter Bunny God will never gamble with the Devil on my breaking point, he won’t nuke my city for its sins, steal from me, or sleep with my virgin bride. More to the point, Real God or perhaps Unreal God, never disappoints, and will serve as a source of inspiration and strength for me until the end of my life. Can you say the same about anyone that’s real? Why mess with a good thing and ask these unanswerable questions? It’s unnatural. As we age, we are supposed to grow wiser. You have to take advantage of your human nature, not rebel from it. Religion is one aspect of the human condition that cuts across all societies and all centuries. Therefore, religious faith is demonstrably the scientific norm for a healthy and happy homo sapien. That’s my goal in life and trading, don’t fight human nature, work around it. Don’t go there no more. I have rules to protect myself from myself. If you believe in God, then he probably permeates the rest of your life already, so why should trading be any different? If God is knocking on the door of your trading room, open it and let him in.

Great cast, thanks.

Brian

Reply

Brian F. May 29, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Dear Rob and Jason,

Sabermetrics is the term for the empirical analysis of baseball statistics. It dates back to the middle of the 20th century, and was featured in the best seller Moneyball, so I’m kind of surprised people are just getting around to applying it to basketball. I think sabermetrics is a GREAT analogy for what we do when we journal. You said it yourself Rob, the market is a lousy coach. The kind of feedback we get day to day is akin to looking at a dot matrix picture through a microscope, the dots, like individual trades are meaningless. However, step back and look at the dots as a group, and you see the pattern. Proper journaling provides that perspective.

Rob said it’s not about stats and analytics, its about getting the fundamentals right. I agree, it’s not about numbers, it’s about what you do with them. We are only human. Our emotions take the front seat in our decision making, our minds play tricks on us, and we can’t even be trusted to remember the facts accurately. The first step to doing this right is knowing something more than just a balance statement about whether we are doing it wrong. You have to have a journal to tell you “Don’t do that no more.”

We can’t even rely upon feedback like we do in almost every other real world pursuit, because this is a probability based sport. A long series of losses should be expected in a large group of trades, and course corrections based on such noise ensures you’ll run your account on the rocks. There’s the analogy I was looking for, journaling provides a trader with navigation. A journal details reality, demands accountability, and projects where you are headed. Proper journaling provides guidance and faith.

Can God give us guidance and faith too? Absolutely. Does God help traders? Absolutely. What about the issue of the losers, does God hate them? Of course, they are all bad (LOL). Actually, I disagree with Rob’s reverse analysis. God doesn’t necessarily disfavor the losers in any single trade, because if you are doing this right, you’re losing all the time. It’s not single trades that make you rich or poor. I also think it’s unfair to blame God for not saving us from our trading ignorance, foolhardiness, pride, vanity, sloth, and stupidity. Why should trading be any different than the rest of life?

People get hung up on whether God is real or not, but I’m in my 50s now and don’t let it bother me anymore. Let people believe what they want. I do care about the climate of intolerance today. People with no core beliefs beyond their newest fashionable cause just love to obsess over other people’s faith. If they really disbelieve, why even care about the topic of whether God is real? Suppose he’s not real, so much the better! If God isn’t real, I get all the good and none of the bad. Easter Bunny God will never gamble with the Devil on my breaking point, he won’t nuke my city for its sins, steal from me, or sleep with my virgin bride. My God never disappoints, and will serve as a source of inspiration and strength for me until the end of my life. Can you say the same about anyone that’s real? Why mess with a good thing and ask these unanswerable questions? It’s unnatural. As we age, we are supposed to grow wiser. You have to take advantage of your human nature, not rebel from it. Religion is one aspect of the human condition that cuts across all societies and all centuries. Therefore, religious faith is demonstrably the scientific norm for a healthy and happy homo sapien. That’s my goal in life and trading, don’t fight human nature, work around it. Don’t go there no more. I have rules to protect myself from myself. If you believe in God, then he probably permeates the rest of your life already, so why should trading be any different? If God is knocking on the door of your trading room, open it and let him in.

Reply

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