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A highly improbable pairing, by Alistair Blair

"The Naked Trader by Robbie Burns sounds awfully like one of those 'How anyone can make money trading shares' books that wouldn't get a mention in this column. It really does say exactly that on the cover. But hey - to ignore the fact that this promise sells books would be very naive. It's what's inside that counts. And inside, this improper promise is immediately cut down to size in 15 characterisations of types of 'traders/investors'. Robbie Burns gives 'Mr Day Trader' a 0.5 out of 10 chance of success, 'Mr System Addict', 2/10, 'Mr Quick In and Out' 1/10 and 'Mr Medium-Term Investor' - who holds shares for between three months and two years, 8/10. There then follows a determinedly laddish (try page 229 - I loved the footnote) but soundly-based account of all the well-known techniques for identifying and making investments. And if you get all excited during Mr Burns' lengthy (but intriguingly third person) account of spread betting and direct market access contracts for difference (DMA CFDs) - well he has to cover these things in a book like this - don't actually do anything without first considering that the only investor whose chances of success he judges to exceed "highly improbable" is the one who holds shares for a minimum of three months."

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