Ian Robertson is Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin and has written this great book about how success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you smarter and more focused, confident and aggressive. Not surprisingly that sounds very interesting to traders. However there is an ugly downside to such behaviour. It’s very relevant to any trader to be able to understand the mental and physical changes that take place in your brain after a period of success.
Ian helps provide some insight into the Great Financial Crash by saying: “The 2008 financial crash was caused by the toxic winner effect on bankers and traders whose brains were addled by the testosterone-fuelled ‘success’ of escalating profits which skewed their judgement and crushed any moral compass they may have once had.”
“Money is Power and so extreme wealth risks causing the sort of brain damage that unfettered power can cause.”
I’ve often written and spoken about how raising your self-awareness of your own personality can help you progress as a trader. If you’ve traded long enough you may well have experienced periods of euphoric over-confidence after a string of winners. Or the exact opposite after a string of losers. Very often after a string of winners is when that success goes to a traders head and they start ignoring risk limits and increasing position size. This rarely ends well.
So whilst this book isn’t aimed specifically at Traders anyone who has an interest in trading Psychology and learning more about our own behaviour should find this a good read.