Ayn Rand: Who Is John Galt?

The Wall Street Journal ran a tabloid-like article about Monroe Trout. The article spoke of a lawsuit between Trout and his brother. Why mention this article? The piece that ran in the Journal also poked fun at Trout for following the philosophical tenets of Ayn Rand. This seems like an odd thing to make fun of given that Ayn Rand is also Alan Greenspan’s favorite author.

Rand’s teachings and writings rooted in laissez-faire capitalism are the ground upon which successful traders must stand:

Man’s mind, states John Galt, the protagonist of Atlas Shrugged, is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch or build a cyclotron without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think. Thinking is not an automatic process. A man can choose to think or to let his mind stagnate, or he can choose actively to turn against his intelligence, to evade his knowledge, to subvert his reason. If he refuses to think, he courts disaster: he cannot with impunity reject his means of perceiving reality. Ponder her writing in the context of trading. Would not the quick fix of blindly following your broker’s opinions, chatting at Motley Fool, griping at RagingBull.com, trading RSI or watching support/resistance levels — don’t these actions all involve choosing not to think? Would you not be allowing your mind to stagnate by evading the pure reality that these actions distort? To follow these hollow messages over the year indeed courts disaster. We are sure all readers know at least one person that went belly up by refusing to think. Trading is a game where it’s you against the world. It’s not you and your friend or you and your broker fighting together. It’s you. You are left to objectively use your mind to determine the best course of action in order pull a profit from the great ocean of other traders in the world that also play the game. You must dig deep to understand why one course of action is better than another and avoid decision making based on fear. Pure fear is why the Nasdaq rose so far and plunged so low. And those that controlled their fear made a killing.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

No long comment here. Atlas Shrugged is considered by many top traders required reading. It is the capitalist manifesto. Read it.

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