My Life with Wyckoff

A welcome note from David H. Weis

The little book I am holding in the photograph is Richard Wyckoff’s Studies in Tape Reading. It has been my companion for 40 years. It fits snugly into my coat pocket and has traveled with me from Cyprus to New Zealand, from doctors’ waiting rooms to Grand Central Station. I first read the book in 1971 shortly after enrolling in the Wyckoff course. Initially, I saw no connection between the two. I did learn Reading Railroad was not just a name on the Monopoly board.

Around the same time, I purchased Wyckoff’s autobiography, Wall Street Ventures and Adventures. On the inside cover, I wrote the page numbers of two statements worth remembering. One stated the purpose of his tape reading book.

The purpose of the self-training and the continued application of the methods suggested in Studies in Tape Reading was to develop an intuitive judgment, which would be the natural outcome of spending twenty-seven hours a week at the ticker over many months and years. (p. 176)

The idea that he wanted to help the reader “develop an intuitive judgment” was beyond my imagination. I had never read a technical analysis book that espoused such a purpose. It appealed to me. A few pages later he wrote:

In contradiction of those who believe that tape reading is an obsolete practice, I affirm that a knowledge of it is the most valuable equipment a Wall Street trader can possess. (pp. 178-9)

Then I decided to study the little book. Among all its valuable contents, one paragraph impressed me the most:

Successful tape reading is a study of Force; it requires ability to judge which side has the greatest pulling power and one must have the courage to go with that side. There are critical points which occur in each swing, just as in the life of a business or individual. At these junctures it seems as though a feather’s weight on either side would determine the immediate trend. Anyone who can spot these points has much to win and little to lose. (p. 95)

From this passage, I conceived the title of my former market letter, Technical Forces. When I look at bar charts, I focus on the struggle between the forces of demand and supply. And the image of a “feather’s weight” stays with me forever.

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