Richard Dennis and the Turtles: Great Motivations for Traders

by Bruce Pi

Richard Dennis is one of, if not the, greatest trading legends of all time. Dennis started trading at 17 with a mere startup capital of $400 (he borrowed $1,600, then paid $1,200 for a trading seat, leaving him only $400 for trading). He turned this tiny $400 to his first million at the age of 25, then to an incredible peak of $200+ million before he retired. The legendary trader is not only famous for his miraculous trading achievements, but also for his legendary experiment that is generally known as “Richard Dennis and the Turtles”. Today we will learn about this amazing and inspirational story.

Richard Dennis and his business partner William Eckhardt had an unsolvable debate for years. Dennis absolutely believed that trading success could be taught, while Eckhardt defended the opposite point of view. They finally decided to put an end to the controversy by doing a weird experiment that had never taken place in the history. In order to see if trading success could be taught, Dennis and Eckhardt placed ads on the Wall Street Journal, searching for a group of candidate traders who were later on referred to as the Turtles. Dennis and Eckhardt instructed the Turtles all the necessary trading skills and allocated trading capitals for them, then let them trade on their own. Can you guess the result? Their performances were so great that Dennis decided to repeat the experiment some years later, and the second group also achieved similar success. Today, most of the Turtles are operating their own funds, managing from millions to hundreds of millions.

To many people, it is hard to believe or accept the experiment result. However, the fact is that the experiment did occur, not only once but twice; and all the Turtles have had very successful trading careers so far. Therefore, we can draw a firm conclusion that:

There are opportunities for everyone, even with just an average intellectual power, to become a successful trader. The recipe for success significantly inclines toward having proper trading approaches and strategies, which can be achieved faster and more easily with good instructions from a professional mentor.

Bruce Pi

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