When I was a feckless young man - to which the following vignette will surely attest - I met a charismatic character in southern Florida who was a real, honest-to-goodness pool shark - among other roguish things. I hung around with him for a couple of weeks, visiting steamy bars in the backwaters of Pompano Beach where "nine-ball" was played for money - usually $10 per game with multiples of that being bet on the side by spectators. My companion was no amateur and was able to run a table routinely, but there were others who amazingly could run five consecutive tables or more. (These players usually were accompanied by rough-looking sidekicks with concealed weapons, according to my street-smart cohort.) One day I asked my friend how long it took him to hone the skills he demonstrably possessed, and he replied that it took him years and cost him a good deal of money. I interpreted this to mean that if you want to be a pool shark, you have to be willing to be at the losing end of the stick (pun intended) until you get proficient enough to recapture your losses and eventually earn a return on your "investment." I would argue that the same principle applies when endeavoring to learn the investment game: In the beginning, anticipate losing much more than you'll make, but if you doggedly persist - and stay solvent - you might acquire the experience you will need to be able to recognize the opportunities that are served up daily by a not-so-efficient market.
As for my more conventional qualifications: I have an MBA from Wayne State University in Detroit (1978), and I have been a registered financial advisor at Carrier Capital Management since 1979. I also have an MSW from the same institution and practiced as a psychotherapist for longer than I care to recall. Propitiously, though, my acquired familiarity with human behavior - both deviant and otherwise - has helped me to appreciate the psychological drivers of market behavior.