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What Separates Good Traders from Great Traders

Many of the lessons that I learned in trading the markets were learned from my old mentor, Bing Sun, who went from being a boy genius to an academic at Harvard to running the multi-billion-dollar Harvard Endowment Fund. After he left the fund, I became his assistant on the floor at the CME. Spending hours on the phone with Bing each day during those formative years informed a lot of the way I approach markets to this day, and “Bingisms” often unconsciously find their ways into both my daily interactions and CNBC shots.

Bing was a storehouse of information, showing me how institutional traders think and act and what strategies were driving daily volatility. One of the Bingisms I remember is: “There are over 2,000 rules in the book of trading [an imaginary book he thought up] and over the course of my career, I’ve only learned 20.”

This was a brilliant man, folks, and I imagine that if near the end of his life someone had asked how many of those 2,000 rules he’d figured out he’d still have said no more than 50. But regardless of the number, the point is the same: the learning never stops. And learning lessons in the market and not using those lessons to become a better trader is a waste of energy, and even worse, money.

How do you try to find the full score? How do you do your homework in an environment where the market information may not be transparent?

These are the questions that all new traders should be asking if they regard trading as serious business rather than a passing hobby. New traders are sometimes so enamored of charts and technical indicators that they neglect to study the real foundation of the price movements. This is where access to a proper information network is vital, and it’s likewise vital to keep your eyes and ears open at all times. In fact, I think the best traders are those who hear and see everything around them, then refine and synthesize it into a trade.

No one will ever learn all 2,000 rules of trading. And not everyone can be so lucky as to learn from a giant of a mind like Bing. But thankfully, that proper information network that is so important to traders can still be found—take the excellent curriculum and educators at Bull & Bear Institute. They understand, like Bing did, the lessons that separate the good traders from great ones.
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