If he were alive today Hunter S. Thompson would be one year short of becoming an octogenarian and celebrating his 79th birthday. Anyone who has seen Johnny Depp’s depiction of the ‘gonzo journalist’ in the 1998 movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas knows that would be nothing short of a miracle. What initially made Thompson famous was the book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs which was published in 1966. When researching the book, he immersed himself in the culture 1960’s motorcycle gangs by spending almost all of his time with the Hell’s Angels chapters in San Francisco and Oakland for almost two years. The result was a wonderful work where Thompson was writing about something he was focused on very intently. I believe if Thompson were alive today he would agree that this sort of focus can be the key to success in trading.
When I travel on behalf of CBOE I often get questions regarding the success rates of individual traders. There are no real statistics to refer to, but I do know that successful traders tend to be focused on the markets they trade and the strategies they use to implement their market outlook. Traders do not have to trade the latest fad or most recent stock mentioned by a talking head on your favorite business network (think Nintendo and the Pokemon Go craze). Also, by focusing on just a few markets or individual stocks you have an advantage on traders who spread themselves too thin. As far as the actual trades used to take advantage of a market outlook, sticking with a small number of those is another key to success.
Hunter S. Thompson became an internationally known author after focusing on a specific topic and then writing about it. I’m pretty sure he would say this sort of focus would be a key to success as a trader as well.