Amazingly, after nearly two-and-a-half years, "Why I Dropped $4K To Attend Mark Minervini's Trading Seminar" remains one of my most popular articles. Typically, the hits pick up around the time that Minervini is doing a new seminar or -- most recently -- the release of his book "Trade Like A Stock Market Wizard."
I've attended Minervini's seminar, sat in on a number of his webinars, read numerous of interviews on him -- I saw no need to rush out and read the book. I finally bought it, but it sat in my reading queue.
The emails started coming in, asking what did I think? I still resisted. However, an email from a reader a few weeks ago kind of forced the book higher into my queue, but I really didn't need to read it to answer his questions:
I'm just wondering what you think of Minervini as a lot of people say that when these great traders write their books that most of them are very hesitant to give away any of their methodologies and just write a bunch of fluff. What do you think? I am currently trying to learn how to find the real big winners (100% to 1,000%-plus).
The seminar was like drinking from a fire hose. I'm not sure if Minervini knows what fluff is, but I understood the emailer's question. There is so much garbage out there pretending to be trading advice. Why spend a dime on it? In David Ryan's forward to Minervini's book, he says:
I have read numerous investment books, and you would think that I would have a large library filled with them. The truth is my collection is quite small, because so few books are worth keeping.
The emailer came back with more questions -- with the seminar and book questions mixed in:
So did you feel that you got your money's worth when you paid $4K for Mr. Minervini's seminar? Did you actually learn new strategies or things that you didn't already know before, or was it just a rehash of stuff you already knew? I have not bought his book yet and am somewhat on the fence about doing so. It's not about the small cash outlay, but rather the time as I don't want to waste several hours of my time to just read a book where the author spends most of his time writing basic fluff that most investors already know and instead constantly promotes his website and various products for sale.
Wall Street is constantly putting the screws to the little guy. Remaining skeptical is wise, but then I stepped into a hornet's nest. I said:
Did I learn new information? Yes. Did I think it was money well spent? Yes. Will it be the right class for u? I can't answer that. I haven't read the book yet, so I don't know if there is a lot of promotional stuff in it. If there is I'm sure that he is getting blasted in the Amazon reviews. Hope this helps and all the best.
It turns out that Minervini had a couple of one-star reviews on Amazon, but he is in good company -- the Bible has hundreds of one-star reviews. Here is the emailer's response:
The person who posted the one-star review felt that the VITAL information was left out and it was more of a promotion book. As he said the true trading secrets will remain secret. I sure hope that his seminar isn't the same because I would hate to spend $4K of my hard- earned money just to hear about some of his personal trading stories instead of getting the knowledge that I really need.
He goes on to say:
The info we really need is how ride a stock and to learn to hold a stock through a violent shakeout and have the conviction not to sell it too early. It's the handling of those super-performance stocks through their 100%+ gains that is the hard part.
My final response was:
Interestingly, Mark doesn't hold thru violent shakeouts. If I continue talking I will sound like his PR manager. Best of luck with your decision.
Conservative Aggressive Opportunist
That's a long lead-in to a book review, but most people don't understand what it takes to be successful in the stock market. I'm not claiming to fully understand, because every day is still a battle for me. However, one thing is certain: Mark Minervini knows how to take money out of the market and put it into his pocket
Just like this emailer, before taking Minervini's seminar, I was trying to "ride a stock; hold it through a violent shakeout and have the conviction not to sell it too early." That's not what Mark does at all. In the introduction, he mentions a term "conservative aggressive opportunist." If that is not a contradiction of terms. He didn't use that exact terminology in the seminar, but I was floored by how conservative he is. Unless there is some kind of opening gap down, he will not lose more than 5%-6% on a trade. No riding violent shakeouts for him. Simply grasping what he means by "conservative aggressive opportunist" is worth the price of the book alone.
Now, if you want to get more than your twenty-dollars' worth, read the last two chapter on risk management. There you go, that's your book review.
A Little More
I actually have a few more points to make, and they are not going to be on any charts or screens. On page 1, Minervini says to be successful in the markets certain traits are required. "The two things are a desire to succeed and a winning strategy." OK, now this is back to me talking: 99% of us focus on finding a winning strategy. What about the desire to succeed? Minervini challenges us on page 5:
Most people get interested in trading but few make a real commitment. The difference between interest and commitment is the will not to give up. When you truly commit to something, you have no alternative but success.
I loved this one:
Passion is not something you can learn. It comes from within you.
My final point: Minervini opens the book with a quote from Muhammad Ali:
Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside them -- a desire, a dream, a vision.
On my wall, I have a printout of a power point slide with two pictures. One is of Steve Jobs and the other is of Muhammad Ali. There is also a caption that says, "Sit Out Power Makes Champions." Minervini used the term "sit out power" in his seminar. I'm not sure if he uses that precise phrase in the book, but it is the ability to only trade when everything is in your favor. The stock's fundamentals are right, its technicals are right and the market is right. If everything is not in your favor, you wait. Trust me, there is nothing harder than just sitting and waiting. Two-and-a-half years later and I still struggling with that concept.
My final final point is that it really doesn't matter if Minervini is "holding something back" -- for most of us, it will take a long time to really grasp what he has already shared.