Here is an excerpt from an interview with Paul Tudor Jones:
Q: What sparked your original interest in trading?
A: I went to New York and saw the floor of the commodities exchange and there was such an energy level there and so much excitement that I knew that was the place for me. I’ve always liked action and the exchange seemed like a perfect home for me.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to run a fund?
A: In 1976 I started working on the floor as a clerk and then I became a broker for E.F. Hutton. In 1980 I went strictly on my own as what they called a local and did that for about two and a half years and had two and a half wonderfully profitable years, but I really got bored. I applied to Harvard Business School, got accepted and was about to go. I literally was packed up to go and then I thought, ‘this is crazy’, because for what I’m doing here, they’re not going to teach me anything. This skill set is not something that they teach in business school. So I didn’t go, I stayed, but I was really bored because there wasn’t the personal interaction that was something that I craved and having colleagues and being in a clean atmosphere and that was when I started my fund. All through growing up I’ve been involved in team sports and fraternities and in school I was involved in a whole variety of activities all of which were team oriented and when I was on my own I was printing money every month, but I wasn’t getting the psychic satisfaction from it.
Q: How would you describe your general investment philosophy?
A: I think I am the single most conservative investor on earth in the sense that I absolutely hate losing money. My grandfather told me at a very early age that you are only worth what you can write a check for tomorrow, so the concept of having my net worth tied up in a stock a la Bill Gates, though God almighty it would be a great problem to have, it would be something that’s just anathema to me and that’s one reason that I’ve always liked the futures market so much, because you can generally get liquid and be in cash in literally the space of a few minutes. So that always appealed to me because I could always be liquid very quickly if I wanted to. I’d say that my investment philosophy is that I don’t take a lot of risk, I look for opportunities with tremendously skewed reward-risk opportunities. Don’t ever let them get into your pocket – that means there’s no reason to leverage substantially. There’s no reason to take substantial amounts of financial risk ever, because you should always be able to find something where you can skew the reward risk relationship so greatly in your favor that you can take a variety of small investments with great reward risk opportunities that should give you minimum draw down pain and maximum upside opportunities.
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