Applying Improv Principles to Trading

I have seen quite a few writers who recommend studying standup comedy and improv techniques in order to improve writing skills. I believe that trading is an artform not much different from writing, so then it should follow that improv techniques could potentially make us better traders.

What is improv? In the book Improv Wisdom, Patricia Ryan Madson explains that it is the ability to take whatever is thrown at you on stage, say "yes" to it, and then build upon it. The connection to trading is all of a sudden pretty obvious.

Taking whatever the market throws at you and doing something productive with it is basically the definition of successful trading. Let's break down Madson's improv techniques and see how they apply to trading!

Avoiding the Crashing Waterfall


"You are always the one steering the canoe, however. Sometimes on the white-water-rapids course it is both relaxing and exhilarating to be swept along by the swells, oars at rest, watching the scenery and marveling at the ease of it all. And sometime we must paddle like hell against the current in order to take a fork in the river." -Patricia Ryan Madson At this point in … [Read more...]

Improv Trading is Going to be Fun


"Improvising invites us to lighten up and look around. It offers an alternative to the controlling way many of us try to lead our lives." -Patricia Ryan Madson I'll be honest, I wasn't completely sold on the idea that I could take a book that I'd never read on improv and relate it to trading. Funny thing is that I "said yes" and jumped in anyways. As I make my way through … [Read more...]

Trading Wisdom From An Improv Book


"A good improviser is someone who is awake, not entirely self-focused, and moved by a desire to do something useful and give something back and who acts upon this impulse." -Patricia Ryan Madson She could just as easily be describing a trader. Patricia Ryan Madson's book Improv Wisdom has been sitting on my desk for about two months. I can't remember who it was that … [Read more...]