Charles Kirk, author of the highly respected Kirk Report, linked to Top Gun’s post on “The Wrong Question and the Right Question” in one of his regular surveys of investment stories and analyses on the internet, “Kirk’s Clicks”, last Monday (March 12, 2007) – the seventh link, “The right question”, links to Top Gun’s post.
Kirk to me is a rare combination of unusual talent, combined with a very rare humility. Four out of every five trades he makes are profitable. No one has that kind of track record
– Dick Davis, The Dick Davis Digest
I first learned of Kirk and his blog last April when Barron’s did a profile of him. I was excited to discover that Kirk, like myself, has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy – from Cornell (he also has a JD from Hamline University).
This background is evident in the quality of his writing as well as his perspective on the markets. For example, just today (Monday March 19) he has a post on how to increase your luck in trading and an excerpt from an e-mail a reader sent him about the need to find your own center in order to become an excellent trader.
It is also evident from the massive amount of research he does. Once or twice a week he writes massive blog posts linking to the numerous stories, articles and analyses he’s been reading. Clearly he understands what the great English Philosopher John Stuart Mill meant when he wrote:
In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? …. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all the modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this…. (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 2 “Of The Liberty of Thought and Discusssion”, paragraph 7).
And it shows in his performance:
Kirk Report S&P 500
2000 36.7% -10.1%
2001 4.9% -13.0%
2002 29.7% -23.4%
2003 85.2% 26.4%
2004 65.3% 9.0%
2005 16.6% 3.0%
2006 10.4% 13.6%
At the end of these testaments to endless research, Kirk always ends with a funny or wise aphorism:
“The important thing in life is to find that arena of performance in which your talents and skills have you. Then you’re not merely working a job or even a career; you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing” – Brett Steenbarger (“Points to Ponder”, Thursday March 15, 2007).
“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” – Elbert Hubbard (“Think Links”, Wednesday March 7, 2007).
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age – Lucille Ball (“On The Hunt”, Monday February 26, 2007).
“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get” – H. Jackson Brown (“Traders On Their Toes”, Wednesday February 21, 2007).
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good” – Ann Landers (“This And That”, Tuesday February 6, 2007).
“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to” – Kahlil Gibran (“Quick Bullets”, Monday January 22, 2007).
I’ve had the pleasure today of spending a few extremely rewarding hours on Kirk’s site. I plan on making it a habit. If you want to learn the rhythyms of the market from a great teacher (and student) I’d recommend you do the same.