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Ten Years in Wall Street

Then, as now, fortunes could be made and lost on Wall Street in the blink of an eye.

In Ten Years in Wall Street, first published in 1870, William Worthington Fowler describes the life of the pioneers of the stock market between 1855 and 1870.

As well as a personal narrative, it is a history of the economy, the stock market, and the people that were its lifeblood during these years.

Detailed portraits of numerous larger than life characters emerge, including such titanic figures as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Daniel Drew.

While in the military sphere battles between the Union and the Confederacy raged, the financial battles between the “bears” and the “bulls” were no less violent and unlike the Civil War, did not end in 1865.

Instead of Gettysburg and Shiloh, their battlegrounds were the stocks of Erie, Rock Island, and above all, gold.

These companies and commodities acquire a life of their own in Fowler’s narrative.

Throughout Fowler never fails to make clear the risky nature of speculation that is at once its appeal and the downfall of many Wall Street men.

Fowler himself was not immune to the temptations of greed – investing more into stocks when it would have been better to leave with his profits, and unable to resist the siren call of an informer’s “point”.

For those interested in the stock market, Ten Years in Wall Street cannot fail to entertain and inform. Many of the lessons he recounts are still applicable today:
Buy only on the amplest margins.
Be an occasional and not a constant operator.
Cut short your losses, and let your profits run.
Never sell what you have not got.

Ten Years in Wall Street is an invaluable guide for any investor.

William Worthington Fowler (1833-1881) was a trader on Wall Street from until 1870. After leaving his career as a speculator, he took up writing and published Woman on the American Frontier in 1877 as well as Ten Years in Wall Street.

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