Market "Genius" You've Never Heard of

12/26/2011 9:30 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Ed Carlson

Author, George Lindsay and the Art of Technical Analysis

Though George Lindsay didn't gain notoriety by working for big firms or even managing money, his contributions to the markets and technical analysis are iconic, says author Ed Carlson.

My guest is Ed Carlson and Ed, you’ve written a book, George Lindsay and the Art of Technical Analysis.  Tell me, who was George Lindsay? 

Lindsay was a real live honest to goodness stock guru in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and if you ever get a chance to peruse the business section of The New York Times from this era, you’re going to find Lindsay quoted quite often, right next to people whose names are probably more familiar to all of us today.

Lindsay appeared twice in 1981 and 1983 on the television program “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser,” and this was the first nationally syndicated television program devoted solely to Wall Street, so this was a big deal back then

But you know, Lindsay never worked for a big Wall Street firm, and to be real blunt, Lindsay never made any money. In my research, I never found any evidence of an investment portfolio. 

So, why should we care about what he has to say?

You know, some people would say he was an academic. Well, no, Lindsay wasn’t really an academic. He wasn’t connected with any university. 

Let me tell you what Lindsay was: Lindsay was, well, he was a character. Some people might call him an eccentric. Some people might call him a genius. I think he’s a paradox, and while we don’t have time to go into that today, I can tell you one of my favorite ways to describe Lindsay is as an intentional iconoclast. 

There was nothing like Lindsay’s work on Wall Street at that time, and there is nothing like it today. 

Well what about his personal life?

Lindsay was very curious. He spent from 1955 until his death in 1987 living and working in a small studio apartment in Greenwich Village in New York City where he slept on a fold-out couch and wrote his newsletter, George Lindsay’s Opinion, at a card table in the front room. 

Very unique individual, but you know what? By definition, uncommon ideas don’t come from common people. 

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