Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Edwin LeFevre: Wall Street Stories

It has been more than a century since the author's early contribution to the genre; much has changed since then.

Scoundrels, dupes and lambs abound in the annals of Wall Street. They ply for riches. They lose fortunes. Bold, covetous, criminal and upright, the denizens of the Street have long inspired a mix of love and hate in the popular consciousness. They've also inspired a menagerie of fictive and half-fictive tales of their exploits. It has been more than a century since Edwin LeFevre's early contribution to the genre, Wall Street Stories, was first published in 1901. Much has changed since then. LeFevre's yarn about a man named Sharpe who expertly manipulates the price of shares in the American Turpentine Trust could hardly be said to have a modern-day counterpart; stock markets are too broad and too big to be jerked around these days, and attempts to do so would likely be discovered and prosecuted. Likewise, the intimacy between Mrs Hunt and her broker in The Woman and her Bonds hearkens to a disappeared era in which full-service brokers were really full-service - when you'd stop by the office to discuss your portfolio instead of calling or clicking a few buttons online.

Nevertheless, there is plenty in LeFevre's book that still rings true. Rascals like Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford still exist, after all. And we still fall prey to many of the psychoses that LeFevre identified with abject clarity in Wall Street Stories. The remorse felt by Mrs Hunt, for example, when she rejects her broker's advice to buy a block of bonds that subsequently rise in price.

Or the tendency, described in The Tipster, for investors to hold on to losing investments in the hope that they will return to the price at which they were bought. LeFevre is most famous for his Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, which he wrote more than 20 years after Wall Street Stories. Yet the vignettes in this volume, which had been out of print before McGraw-Hill reissued it last year, still make for entertaining (and sometimes scarily relevant) reading.

Publisher: McGraw Hill, 2008

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 The New York Stock Exchange. Rising interest rates will shift momentum away from bonds and back towards risk assets such as stocks. Richard Drew / AP Photo

Plan ahead for rising interest rates

It is now over five years since the majory central banks slashed interest rates to record low but that is all about to change. So, how will rising interest rates affect you?

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National