The Toronto-Dominion Centre Working

2:30pm – 3:30pm, 30th March 2014

Toronto-Dominion Centre and Bay St financial district, Toronto, Canada

 

Preparation material: Francis James Chan’s The Prop Trader’s Chronicles: Short-Term Proprietary Trading Strategies for Both Bull and Bear Markets (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2013).

 

Aims:

 

(i) Understand the geography of Toronto’s financial district.

(ii) Make a psychological connection to Toronto’s bank prop traders.

 

Results:

 

Chan’s book on intraday trading at a Toronto-based proprietary trading firm alludes to inter-firm competition amongst Bay St trading firms. On arrival in Bay St it became clear that Canada’s five major banks — Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, and the Royal Bank of Canada — dominate the area.

 

The dominance of bank proprietary trading desks explains several aspects that Chan had omitted from his description of intraday trading strategies. Chan and others relied on contracts for difference without overnight holdings. They attempted to understand the order flow of market microstructure using Level II quotes from the NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges rather than technical analysis charts. In game theory terms this was Chan’s attempt to use the best available dominated strategies in a predator-prey ecosystem that the banks dominated.

 

The Toronto-Dominion Centre evokes this institutional banking power in Ludwig van der Rohe’s modernist, international architecture. The TD Bank Pavilion, TD North, and TD West buildings impose themselves on the surrounding area. Their tenants include banking, financial services, investment banking, investment brokerage, and private equity firms.

 

On 11th October 2011, I had visited the Tokyo Stock Exchange and formally began a personal research program “to develop a private, low-key, personal vehicle for long-term self-sufficiency.” The Toronto Stock Exchange was closed so I was unable to repeat the experience. Instead, I stood in the TD Bank Pavilion and grasped the essence of institutional banking power evoked in Adam Smith’s satirical book The Money Game (London: Michael Joseph, 1968).

 

Later that afternoon I visited the Toronto Eaton Centre and the Indigo Books & Music store. Indigo’s business and investment book section was a mix of inspirational biographies; retail investor primers; and technical analysis books. Much of this is outdated information from an institutional banking perspective which relies on non-public trade secrets. I bought a paperback copy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder (New York: Penguin, 2012) as a reminder of the tacit knowledge that a trader may create through personal experience, research, and reflection.

 

The next day I read the new Michael Lewis book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2014) which features former Royal Bank of Canada trader Brad Katsuyama – founder of the IEX Group dark pool – and critic of high-frequency trading. Lewis describes RBC as a sleepy backwater compared to Wall Street but this wasn’t my sense when walking past the RBC Centre in Wellington Street West, Toronto.

 

Several days later I learned of a new University of Toronto study (PDF) on how retail traders and high-frequency traders interacted on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2012. The study felt like a research counterpoint to the Lewis book. The study found that retail investors largely benefited from the market microstructure of high-frequency trading firms.

 

I resolved to do two things over the next five years:

 

1. To develop a greater awareness of how bank proprietary trading desks affect market microstructure using dominant trading strategies in a predator-prey ecosystem.

 

2. To continue to develop a personal knowledge base and decision heuristics akin to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s published work.

ISA 2014 Roundtable on Strategic Culture

This week, I’m speaking on a PhD-related Strategic Culture roundtable at the International Studies Association’s annual convention in Toronto, Canada (program):

 

‘Strategic Culture Is Dead; Long Live Strategic Culture’: New Directions in Research

Thursday 27th March 2014, 4pm – 5:45pm, TD43, Maple West Room, Sheraton Center Toronto

 

International Security Studies

 

Chair. Jeffrey S. Lantis (College of Wooster)

Part. Christopher Twomey (Naval Postgraduate School)

Part. Patrick H. M. Porter (University of Reading)

Part. Alan Bloomfield (University of New South Wales)

Part. K.P. O’Reilly (Carroll University)

Part. Justin Massie (University of Quebec in Montreal)

Part. Alexander G. Burns (Monash University)

A Draft Book / Film List on Metis

Metis or “cunning intelligence” (Marcel Detienne & Jean-Pierre Vernant, 1978; 1998) is an overarching Hedgehog Idea in my personal research program. Metis underpins craft, cunning, skill, and wisdom. It integrates a range of life experiences and research interests, including investigative journalism, initiatory self-work, PhD studies in strategic culture, and study of financial markets trading. Below is a draft book / film list that illustrates different aspects of Metis and metic intelligence in contemporary life. I am working on an annotated book / film list, which will be available in the future on this site.

 

The first phase establishes the concepts. The second phase has an emergent theme of organisational and political skills in a Hobbesian and Machiavellian world. The third phase illustrates some life philosophy and scholarly work, including several books and films which have influenced me.

 

Phase 1

 

The Craftsman by Richard Sennett (New York: Penguin, 2008). (TS-3). A defence of craft as a vehicle for fluid and metic intelligences in the contemporary world.

 

Gurdjieff: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas by John Shirley (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2004). (TS-3). An accessible overview of the Graeco-Armenian magus and Teacher of Dances, including his Caucasus and France experiences. William Patrick Patterson made the connection between Gurdjieff and the Detienne/Vernant work on Metis in a footnote to Struggle of the Magicians: Exploring the Student-Teacher Relationship (Fairfax, CA: Arete Publications, 1997).

 

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-Taking, Gut Feelings, and the Biology of Boom and Bust by John Coates (London: Fourth Estate, 2013). (TS-3). John Coates is a Research Fellow at Cambridge University who uses neuroscience to study financial risk-taking. Coates’ study of Wall Street traders suggests that metic intelligence can have physiological effects due to environmental and psychological stressors.

 

The Social Animal: A Story of How Success Happens (London: Short Books, 2011). (TS-3). Brooks explains how to lead a philosophical Good Life, and includes a chapter on Metis.

 

Taproots: Underlying Principles of Milton Erickson’s Therapy and Hypnosis by William Hudson O’Hanlon (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1987). (TS-3). Identifies the common patterns and phases in Erickson’s strategic therapy and trance inductions. Includes a useful bibliography of Erickson’s major work. O’Hanlon later wrote on brief therapy.

 

Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined by Scott Barry Kaufman (New York: Basic Books, 2013). (TS-3). An introduction to the current debates about expertise, giftedness, and high abilities. Covers the Cattell-Horn-Carroll model of intelligence. I have a broader reading list on these subjects here.

 

Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands A Pagan Ethos by Robert D. Kaplan (New York: Vintage Books, 2002). (TS-3). Recommended to me by Spiral Dynamics coauthor Don Edward Beck. Kaplan explains why classicist authors such as Livy, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Hobbes continue to have relevance in Understanding geopolitics.

 

Capricorn One (1977). A conspiracy theory film that evokes Metis as survival sense, and know how in ambiguous, changing situations. A personal ECI on my mother, shortly before her death in March 1978.

 

The Clash: Westway to the World (2000). The punk rock group The Clash explain in their own words how they dealt with the 1977-82 period of their career arc, and its aftermath.

 

Collateral (2004). Michael Mann’s thriller involving a contract killer is really a meditation on Metis as survival sense.

 

The Cove (2009). A team of environmental activists use covert techniques to uncover dolphin killings by Japanese fishermen in the Taiji cove, Japan.

 

The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Bane’s initial operations illustrate metic intelligence via strategic surprise.

 

Limitless (2011). An exploration of the potential for giftedness and high abilities.

 

Moneyball (2011). A film adaptation of Michael Lewis’ reportage on how Billy Beane used ‘sabermetrics’ statistical analysis at the Oakland A’s baseball team to gain an edge.

 

The Silence of the Lambs (1991). FBI cadet Clarice Sterling undergoes an initiatory ideal at the hands of serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

 

Skyfall (2012). The villain Silva gives an island hideout speech about geopolitics and risk arbitrage that conveys metic intelligence.

 

The Usual Suspects (1995). The character Keyser Söze embodies Metis and metic intelligence in this thriller.

 

Phase 2

 

Kata and the Transmission of Knowledge in Traditional Martial Arts by Michael Rosenbaum (Boston, MA: YMAA Publication Center, 2004). (TS-3). Kata are codified fighting patterns that are culturally transmitted through martial arts teaching, and the creative evolution of specific forms, styles, and schools. Rosenbaum examines how kata are the foundation of traditional martial arts and the contemporary warrior’s way. Kata is also considered in Carol A. Wiley’s edited anthology Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching (Berkeley, CA: Frog Ltd., 1995) (TS-3).

 

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011). (TS-3). Mallaby is Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This is a near-definitive history of hedge funds — a limited partnership that has a private investment pool — and the fund managers who have used fluid and metic intelligences to become a new financial elite. The influence of performance and sports psychology in hedge funds during the past two decades is visible in two books: Brett N. Steenbarger’s Enhancing Trader Performance: Proven Strategies from the Cutting Edge of Trading Psychology (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2007) (TS-3), which uses K. Anders Ericsson’s deliberate practice, and Ari Kiev’s The Mental Strategies of Top Traders: The Psychological Determinants of Trading Success (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2010) (TS-3).

 

More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom In Unconventional Places by Michael J. Mauboussin (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013). (TS-3). (MAM-1). Mauboussin is head of global financial strategies and an adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School. In this book Mauboussin applies scientific knowledge to the investment process of finding alpha: returns above a market benchmark due to active management or skill. Useful both as an overview of recent scientific advances, and as an example of fluid and metic intelligences in investment management.

 

The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World by Jonathan Powell (London: Vintage, 2011). (TS-3). Powell was Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff from 1994 to 2007, and this book draws on his unpublished diaries to give a Machiavellian meditation on power. Powell’s insights can be contrasted with Carnes Lord’s The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need To Know Now (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003) (TS-3).

 

Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t by Jeffrey Pfeffer (New York: HarperBusiness, 2010). (TS-3). Metis involves the creative exercise of different forms of power for finding solutions. Pfeffer is an expert on organisational politics.

 

Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change by Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan (Malden, MA: Blackwell Business Publishers, 1996). (TS-4). A popularisation for business managers of Clare W. Graves’ emergent, cyclical model of mature adult biopsychosocial systems intelligences. It features a useful bibliography of further resources. The framework has had some diffusion challenges similar to the Enneagram and Neurolinguistic Programming. Cowan and Natasha Todorovic later edited Graves’ unpublished notes as The Never Ending Quest: Clare W. Graves Explores Human Nature (Santa Barbara: ECLET Publishing, 2005) (TS-4).

 

Tactics: The Art and Science of Success by Edward de Bono (London: William Collins, 1985). (TS-3). ‘Lateral thinker’ Edward de Bono interviews fifty exemplars about the choices and strategies they used to become successful.

 

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013). (TS-3). Winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2013. Packer used John Dos Passos’ USA trilogy for his reportage on the life decisions that his interviewees made between 1978 and 2012, as they navigated the changing social contract in the United States of America.

 

When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management (London: Fourth Estate, 2002). (TS-3). The influential study on the demise of the LTCM hedge fund which involved several Nobel Prize for Economics winners and leading Wall Street traders. The LTCM playbook is dissected in Ludwig B. Chincarini’s The Crisis of Crowding: Quant Copycats, Ugly Models, and the New Crash Normal (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012) (TS-4).

 

Breach (2007). The entrapment ploy designed to expose double agent Robert Hanssen.

 

Casino (1995). The Mafia’s attempts to control Las Vegas casinos in the early 1970s.

 

The Firm (1993). Mitch McDeere develops a unique solution to get out of a career crisis in this thriller based on John Grisham’s novel.

 

Inception (2010). A corporate espionage team uses dream control technology to extract information from the CEO of a rival firm.

 

The Mayfair Set (1999). Adam Curtis profiles a group of British entrepreneurs including Sir James Goldsmith and ‘Tiny’ Rowland who developed the hostile corporate takeover in mergers and acquisitions.

 

Michael Clayton (2007). ‘Fixer’ Michael Clayton deals with damage control during a $3 billion litigation case, and a takeover of his law firm.

 

Syriana (2005). A thriller set in the shadowy world of political think-tanks, counterterrorism operations, and oil geopolitics.

 

Phase 3

 

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (New York: Penguin Books, 2012). (TS-5). Former options trader and philosopher Taleb articulates a personal philosophy of life as ‘long gamma’: “benefiting from volatility and variability” (p. 186). Provides the overarching framework to Understand his earlier books including The Black Swan and Fooled By Randomness. For two alternative views, see Aaron C. Brown’s Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012) (TS-3) and William Poundstone’s Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat The Casinos and Wall Street (New York: Hill & Wang, 2005) (TS-3).

 

The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Development by K. Anders Ericsson, Neil Charness, Paul J. Feltovich, and Robert R. Hoffman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). (TS-4). One of the best scholarly resources on deliberate practice, expertise, and skills cultivation.

 

The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance At NASA by Diane Vaughan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). (TS-4). Vaughan is a Professor of sociology at Columbia University. She traces the decision pathways that led to the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion on 28th January 1986, and the ‘deviant’ organisational politics involved. For a contrasting view, see Charles Perrow’s Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999) (TS-4).

 

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (New York: Avon, 1999). (TS-5). Stephenson’s story of Allied code-breakers in World War II and Southeast Asian data havens features many examples of Metis and metic intelligence.

 

Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History by Alastair Iain Johnston (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995). (TS-4). Johnston’s doctoral dissertation on Ming China’s strategic culture (socialisation and long-term, culturally transmitted influences on decision-makers) and its grand strategic choices.

 

Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society by Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant. Translated by Janet Lloyd. (University of Chicago Press, 1991). (TS-4). The influential study on Metis as cunning intelligence in Greek culture and mythology.

 

Knowing Words: Wisdom and Cunning in the Classical Traditions of China and Greece by Lisa Raphals (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992). (TS-4). Raphals’ doctoral dissertation which extends Detienne and Vernant’s influential work on Metis to Chinese stratagems.

 

Alien (1979). The Nostromo crew encounters forbidden knowledge in the form of a xenomorph. This is a film about ‘normal accidents’ (Charles Perrow); multi-level games; and ‘fixes that fail’ when faced with disproportionate change.

 

Black Rain (1989). When two New York police investigate the Yakuza in Osaka they discover potential enemies who have a different worldview.

 

Blake’s 7 (1978-81). The character Kerr Avon (Paul Darrow) shows metic intelligence as part of a rebel cell dealing with a corrupt Federation in a dystopian science fiction future.

 

Edge of Darkness (1985). The BBC’s influential mini-series on a police investigation into the deaths of environmental activists at the Northmoor nuclear facility. The 2010 film adaptation relies on action and ‘signposting’ of what remain mysteries in the original mini-series.

 

Murder One (1995-97). The O.J. Simpson trial deeply influenced Stephen Bochco’s television series on a Los Angeles law firm and its stratagems to win defence cases.

 

Red Cliff (2008). Deception and stratagem battles during China’s Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD).

 

The Red Riding Trilogy (2009). A series of interconnected stories about Yorkshire murders between 1974 and 1983, based on David Peace’s novels. Some characters embody Metis whilst others do not.

 

The Thin Blue Line (1988). Errol Morris’ background as a detective influenced this documentary which changed the outcome of a criminal investigation.

Information Theory & Intellectual Property

Information: A Very Short Introduction by Luciano Floridi (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010). (TS-3). (MAM-3). Floridi is the Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at Oxford University. This short book explains the emergence of the information society; defines data and the mathematics of information theory; and applies these concepts to a range of domains, from biology to economics. Floridi’s major contribution to information ethics is The Philosophy of Information (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011) (TS-4) (MAM-4).

 

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick (New York: Vintage, 2012). (TS-3). (MAM-3). Gleick (Chaos: Making A New Science) uses Claude Shannon’s information theory to examine the history, cultural impact, and social shaping effects of information. Gleick’s book has some excellent historical sections on pre-computer designer Charles Babbage, programmer Ada Byron, cyberneticist Norbert Wiener, mathematician Alan Turing, and other exemplars of information theory. This book will broaden your awareness of how information choices can shape your creative horizons.

 

Intellectual Property Strategy by John Palfrey (Boston, MA: MIT Press, 2011). (TS-3). (MAM-3). Intellectual property (IP)—exclusive rights for copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets—is a complex and evolving legal field that relates to the creation, assignment, and use of information. Palfrey’s primer defines what IP is, and how it can be developed, assigned, acquired, and securitised. He identifies alternatives to the “sword and shield” legal approach. For an alternative primer focusing on IP management and opportunity evaluation see Stephen J. Frank’s Intellectual Property for Managers and Investors: A Guide to Evaluating, Protecting, and Exploiting IP (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) (TS-3) (MAM-3). For specialist topics on globalisation, biotechnology, entertainment, and information technology see Michael A. Gollin’s Driving Innovation: Intellectual Property Strategies for a Dynamic World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) (TS-4) (MAM-4).

High-Frequency Trading: A Reading List

I first heard of high-frequency trading (HFT) via Charles Duhigg’s New York Times article in July 2009.

 

Over the past few years I have investigated facets of HFT. Below is an introductory reading list to HFT and the related area of algorithmic trading, which has recently ‘crossed the chasm’ from institutional to retail investors. It covers an historical overview; some relevant theory; and the use of computer algorithms and machine learning. Large-scale HFT firms spend millions on their computing and technological infrastructure.

 

The introductory reading list hopefully shows how you can use research skills to Understand a media debate or knowledge domain in greater detail.

 

This work connects with the Chaos Rules school of thought that I helped write for the Smart Internet 2010 Report (2005). One academic told my boss that Chaos Rules thinking “did not exist.” The two decades long research into HFT — and related areas like Bayesian econometrics and market microstructure — shows otherwise.

HFT Introductions

Dark Pools: The Rise of AI Trading Machines and the Looming Threat to Wall Street by Scott Patterson (Cornerstone Digital, 2012). (TS-3). A history of algorithmic and high-frequency trading on Wall Street, and the emergence of dark pools.

Inside The Black Box: A Simple Guide to Quantitative and High Frequency Trading (2nd ed.) by Rishi K. Narang (John Wiley & Sons, 2012). (TS-3). An introduction to quantitative trading models and coverage of the media debate about high-frequency trading. For a counter-view see Haim Bodek’s The Problem of HFT: Collected Writings on High Frequency Trading and Stock Market Structure Reform (CreateSpace, 2013) (TS-3), who was a source for Patterson’s Dark Pools.

HFT Theory: Bayesian Econometrics, High-Frequency Data, and Machine Learning

Empirical Market Microstructure: The Institutions, Economics, and Econometrics of Securities Trading by Joel Hasbrouck (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). (TS-4). Hasbrouck explains the empirical approaches to market microstructure that underpin high-frequency trading.

Market Liquidity: Theory, Evidence and Policy by Thierry Foucault, Marco Pagano, and Ailsa Roell (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). (TS-4). The current debates on how high-frequency trading has affected liquidity and price discovery in markets, and the growth of market microstructure frameworks.

Bayesian Reasoning and Machine Learning by David Barber (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). (TS-4). An introduction to Bayesian probability and data analysis using filters and machine learning. For an introduction to machine learning see Peter Flach’s Machine Learning: The Art and Science of Algorithms That Make Sense of Data (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012) (TS-4).

Econometrics of High-Frequency Data by Nikolaus Hautsch (New York: Springer, 2011). (TS-4). An advanced overview of high-frequency data and relevant econometric models for liquidity, volatility, and market microstructure analysis.

Handbook of Modeling High-Frequency Data in Finance by Frederi G. Viens, Maria C. Mariani, and Ionut Florescu (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2011). (TS-4). An advanced reference on how to model high-frequency data.

HFT Algorithmic Trading

The Science of Algorithmic Trading and Portfolio Management by Robert Kissell (Academic Press, 2013). (TS-4). An advanced introduction to how algorithmic trading influences market microstructure, and is used for the transaction and execution systems of high-frequency trading. For an earlier introduction see Barry Johnson’s Algorithmic Trading & DMA: An Introduction to Direct Access Trading Strategies (4Myeloma Press, 2010) (TS-4).

Professional Automated Trading: Theory and Practice by Eugene A. Durenard (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2013). (TS-4). Insights from mathematics and computer science about how to develop, test, and automate the algorithmic trading strategies, using agent-based learning.

Statistically Sound Machine Learning for Algorithmic Trading of Financial Instruments: Developing Predictive-Model-Based Trading Systems Using TSSB by David Aronson and Timothy Masters (CreateSpace, 2013) (TS-4). The authors developed the TSSB software program that uses machine learning to implement algorithmic trading strategies.

Gray Matter

 

For several months I’ve been thinking about writing a PhD chapter on AMC’s Breaking Bad. The influential television series features Drug Enforcement Agency and Mexican drug cartel strategic subcultures centered on Albuqurque, New Mexico. One overlooked aspect is Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) past as a talented graduate research chemist in the now multi-billion dollar firm Gray Matter. One of White’s major character motivations is that he sold his founding stake to Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz for $5000. Its return in the penultimate episode ‘Granite State’ makes the subplot a powerful one for researchers who make decisions on research commercialisation and spinout ventures

 

 

Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge

Thomas Pynchon‘s new September 11 novel Bleeding Edge (London: Jonathan Cape, 2013) is now out and has a subplot featuring the Montauk Project conspiracy theory. The Counterpunch and Atlantic Monthly reviews mention the Montauk allegations. Pynchon likely found out about the conspiracy from an interview that Alexandra ‘Chica’ Bruce and Richard Metzger did for the Disinfo Nation television show (Channel 4, United Kingdom) which was later included on the Disinformation DVD and Disinformation: The Interviews book. (Both were on-sale prominently in St. Marks and other New York City bookshops.) Richard has blogged at his site Dangerous Minds about how the interview came about. Montauk fits Pynchon’s worldview and the themes of earlier, very influential novels like Gravity’s Rainbow and The Crying of Lot 49.

 

For me, Bleeding Edge evokes the period between the 2000 dotcom crash and the September 11 terrorist attacks, when I first edited the Disinformation website. I wrote about both incidents; as well as experiencing others like Enron’s collapse and the 2000 United States election outcome. I visited New York City between 20th and 25th September 2001, in part to visit author Howard Bloom. Pynchon’s subplots involving the darknet DarkArcher and stockmarket speculation echo some PhD-related work I am doing on the strategic subcultures of event arbitrage hedge funds: several ‘shorted’ airline stocks as the September 11 terrorist attacks unfolded.

 

The plausible Montauk-Disinfo-Pynchon connection highlights how subcultural ideas and memes can diffuse into mainstream society. Author Robert Anton Wilson likened this to strange loops. Author Don Webb described it as a fictive arcanum.

Picks & Pans: Expertise, Giftedness, and High Abilities

Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined by Scott Barry Kaufman (New York: Basic Books, 2013). (TS-3). Francis Galton and Alfred Binet’s research have influenced how we understand human intelligence and giftedness. Kaufman’s Ungifted examines more contemporary research such as the Cattell-Horn-Carroll model of cognitive abilities that I discovered in my Fluid Intelligence Working (30th June – 1st July 2012). This research transforms our understanding of innate talent versus the environment; the neuroscience of creativity; and education initiatives for cultivating giftedness and high abilities. Kaufman emphasises passion, mindset, self-regulation, openness to experience, and K. Anders Ericsson’s deliberate practice as important for self-growth. Kaufman also edited the recent collection The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent Or Practice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) (TS-4) which collects recent research on expertise, giftedness, talent, and deliberate practice. Heidrun Stoeger, Abdullah Aljughaiman, and Bettina Harder’s collection Talent and Development (Berlin: LIT Verlag) (TS-4) summarises recent European research.

 

Beyond Knowledge: Extracognitive Aspects of Developing High Ability edited by Larisa V. Shavinina and Michel Ferrari (New York: Routledge, 2004). (TS-4). Studies of giftedness and high abilities usually emphasise the role of personality traits, micro-social factors (family, school, and significant others); macro-social factors (the cultural, economic, political, and social conditions you live in); and subjective norms. This book examines several extracognitive factors that lie beyond these traditional approaches: adaptation, ego-strength, unconscious affect (emotions), and creative discovery processes. Other chapters consider the role of deliberate practice, chance, creative genius, and wisdom traditions. Herein lies one facet of cultivating Left Hand Path sovereignty.

 

Genius Explained by Michael J.A. Howe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004). (TS-4). The late Howe was a leading researcher on genius, giftedness, and high abilities. Malcolm Gladwell cites Genius Explained in his book Outliers: The Story of Success (New York: Little, Brown & Company, 2008) (TS-3) on the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a child prodigy. (Gladwell also mentioned K. Anders Ericsson and William Chase’s respective research into deliberate practice and expertise, which also informed Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code and Geoff Colvin’s Talent Is Overrated.) Howe’s book examines the deliberate practice strategies, environment, and psychology of Charles Darwin, the Bronte sisters, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, and others. For Howe, deliberate practice, the environment, and chance are pivotal yet often overlooked in discussion of giftedness and innate talent.

 

Working Minds: A Practitioner’s Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis by Beth Crandall, Gary Klein, and Robert H. Hoffman (Boston, MA: MIT Press, 2006). (TS-3). Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is a structured, analytical process to discover expertise, and to understand its cognitive and human factors. This book considers CTA methods (concept maps; experiments; interviews; and stories) with new domains (cognitive psychology and systems development in information technology); and applications for market research and program evaluation. CTA is part of the broader domain of cognitive engineering and human factors research, detailed in John D. Lee and Alex Kirlik’s Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Engineering (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) (TS-4).

 

Accelerated Expertise: Training for High Proficiency in a Complex World by Robert H. Hoffman, Paul Ward, Paul J. Feltovich, Lia DiBello, Stephen M. Fiore, and Dee H. Andrews (New York and London: Psychology Press, 2013). (TS-4). K. Anders Ericsson’s pioneering work on deliberate practice emphasised the pivotal role of practice, training, and feedback. Accelerated Expertise provides an in-depth overview of how accelerated learning and deliberate practice techniques are now applied to rapidly cultivate skills and expertise. This might be a TS-1 book if you plan to utilise these techniques on a regular basis. Ruth C. Clark’s Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement (San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2008) (TS-4) emphasises training and instructional design.

 

Expertise and Skill Acquisition: The Impact of William G. Chase edited by James J. Staszewski (New York and London: Psychology Press, 2013). (TS-4). In 1973, William Chase and Herbert Simon wrote an influential article on the skills acquisition strategies of grand chess masters. K. Anders Ericsson would cite Chase and Simon’s 10,000 hour rule in deliberate practice research, and Malcolm Gladwell popularised it in his book Outliers and New Yorker articles. This book examines Chase’s contributions to the development of expertise; the neuroscience of skill acquisition; and the role of skilled memory. It connects Chase’s research program to deliberate practice and cognitive engineering.

 

The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance edited by K. Anders Ericsson, Neil Charness, Paul J. Feltovich, and Robert R. Hoffman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). (TS-4). This Cambridge Handbook is a major advance of K. Anders Ericsson’s pioneering research on deliberate practice and cultivating expertise. It summarises the major theories and methods for understanding and studying expertise; and considers expertise in specific professional, art, sport, and game domains. The chapters on generalisable, mediating mechanisms consider the role of ageing, creativity, deliberate practice, intelligence, tacit knowledge, and other factors. The companion Cambridge Handbooks on Creativity, Intelligence, Learning Sciences, and Thinking and Reasoning are also highly recommended as advanced references. Ericsson’s deliberate practice research and its implications for training are explored further in Development of Professional Expertise: Toward Measurement of Expert Performance and Design of Optimal Learning Environments (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009) (TS-4). Shane Murphy’s Oxford Handbook of Sport and Performance Psychology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) (TS-4) explores expertise and expert performance in those domains. David Epstein’s The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance (New York: Current, 2013) (TS-3) critiques Ericsson’s deliberate practice as applied to elite athletes and sports performance. The combination of Ericsson’s deliberate practice, performance psychology, and elite sports training has been applied to other domains, such as Brett N. Steenbarger’s Enhancing Trader Performance: Proven Strategies From The Cutting Edge of Trading Psychology (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006) (TS-3), and the late Ari Kiev’s The Mental Strategies of Top Traders: The Psychological Determinants of Trading Success (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009) (TS-3).