A few months ago I agreed to read and review An American Hedge Fund by Timothy Sykes. I’ve been a bit remiss in writing the review, but am finally ready to share my thoughts. The best way I can describe Tim is that he’s a character. He is a young ambitious guy, but he’s got some over-the-top ideas that I hope don’t do him more harm than good.

His creativity in regard to the stock market and growing assets is fantastic. He wrote his book to give ordinary people a peek into the life of a day trader. Tim made many mistakes while he was growing his $12k+ Bar Mitzvah money into over $1.65 million. (Incidentally, he’s working on repeating that feat just to prove that he didn’t just get lucky.) And he’s not hiding those mistakes. He’s telling the world about them.

I liked the book. I really did. I think it could have been even better with a stronger editor, though. The story is inspiring, but at the same time Tim spares no criticism of himself and the mistakes he made. What I think the book lacked is a bit of the “how-to” that I expected from it. I really enjoyed Tim’s story, and feel that adding some practical tips along with his story would have been a big benefit to the book.

But there are many haters of Timothy Sykes, and I think that un-fan-club was created out of three main ingredients:

1. Tim has been pretty successful. He’s had plenty of downs, but he’s made a good bit of money and is living his entrepreneurial dream. That’s created some jealousy.

2. Tim has a no-holds-barred attitude about stock trading, and wants to blow the industry wide open. What does that mean? To Tim it means getting over the stiff, boring reputation that money managers have developed, and making ordinary people realize they can get into the investment game and they can make money. He wants to teach regular people how to play the stock market, making it fun and potentially lucrative.

3. Tim has a tendency to go overboard to get to #2 above. I’ve talked with him several times about some of his ideas, the things he’s written, and the things he says. I worry sometimes that he could damage his long-term credibility by being too over-the-top with some of these things. I think that a little bit of moderation could serve him well in the long run.

So these three things have created a small group of people who spend their days going from website to website, trying to discredit Tim, writing under multiple aliases. They leave negative comments about him and try to get people on the anti-Tim bandwagon. But you know what? All they’re really doing is creating more publicity for him, and as a result, helping his efforts. After all, buzz created by haters is still buzz! And Tim thrives on buzz and knows how to channel it and expand it. So hate on, haters.

… because Timothy Sykes has guts and I do respect that in him. I do respect his honesty about his industry, his stock trading performance, and his commitment to build an empire on his terms and with his vision.

I recommend reading An American Hedge Fund. It’s a fun story and a pretty good read. While you may not learn how to trade penny stocks by reading the book, it’s certainly worth it for the entertainment value and the peek into the life of a young day trader.


  1. Michael Goode 03/11/2008 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    The problem with Tim is that he encourages day trading, which is a zero-sum game. Some people can do it, most can’t. Also, he made a small fortune and lost it. It takes more talent than luck to do that.

  2. Michael Goode 03/11/2008 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Erggh. In my above comment I meant to say that it only takes luck and not really much talent to make a million and then lose it. It is a lot harder to make a million and then keep on making millions.

  3. Timothy Sykes 03/11/2008 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I love how everyone looks down on day trading–especially penny stock day trading—people, it’s the greatest game in the world! I never use leverage, I’m a horrible timer and yet I still make money. Look me up on Covestor, for all my mistakes I’m #1 by far.

    PS Michael it can either be luck or talent to make millions, my book goes into trade-by-trade detail to show it wasn’t luck. In fact, my one 30% loss was when I ignored my trading rules and tried to become an investor! God damn–it’s gonna be sweet when I repeat my feat–so far up 32% in 4 months, pesky day trading rules and too much intelligence to be too aggressive.

  4. […] And, Tracey Coenen, author of the new book Essentials of Corporate Fraud thinks I’m an over-the-top character (yup, gotta make this boring finance crap fun!) and writes: […]

  5. Tracy Coenen 03/13/2008 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Michael – With all due respect, Timothy didn’t lose it all. He ended up losing about 35% or $700k. The “lost it all” story makes good urban legend, but it’s false.

    Yes, day trading is very risky. It’s not wise for someone to just take their life’s savings and start playing penny stocks with all of it. BUT they can start with a small amount and use Tim’s techniques. There are no guarantees in the stock market. Any strategy for buying and selling stocks has risks and drawbacks. I like the fact that Tim is sharing what he’s learned.

  6. GlennC 09/05/2009 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    One problem I had with Sykes’ site is that it screamed SCAM. Penny stocks?!?! I was wondering why you even had a link to his site… it’s like you were selling links on your blog.

    But on a closer examination, there might be a lot of merit to what he says. It’s just hard to find information on his site where he explains his style… the information is there, but hard to find. Perhaps if he reworked his site it wouldn’t look so similar to other promotional sites out there. It’s easy to confuse some of his style with the scammers out there.

  7. […] being being run by Tim Sykes. I introduced you to Timothy Sykes in 2008 when I reviewed his book An American Hedge Fund. He took about $12,000+ that he got for his Bar Mitzvah, and turned it into $1.65 million as a […]

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