Meet the World’s 10 Greatest Traders of All Time

While some of the best traders have moved on to other paths, a few remain celebrated for their remarkable trading careers.

Their stories are a mix of triumphs and challenges, with some tales bordering on the legendary.

This list is organized chronologically by birth year, not by their achievements or earnings.

LessonsApplying the Lessons
Few stock traders attain widespread recognition, but some make it big through a blend of skill, fortune, and unwavering dedication.To find success, focus on honing your trading skills, remain persistent, and be open to seizing opportunities when they arise.
The world of famous traders encompasses a variety of figures, including speculators, investors, and hedge fund managers.Explore various trading roles and strategies to see what aligns with your strengths and interests.
Each trader possesses a unique style, be it grounded in fundamentals or guided by technical analysis.Identify the trading style that resonates with you, and delve deep into that approach to build your expertise.

1️⃣ Jesse Livermore

Jesse Livermore, born in 1877, was a famous American trader known for both his monumental market gains and devastating losses. He impressively profited by shorting the 1929 market crash, accumulating a $100 million fortune.

However, his wealth vanished by 1934, and he tragically took his life in 1940. Jesse faced multiple bankruptcies while amassing his wealth, recovering from the first two but succumbing to the third. This, combined with family tragedies and stress, ultimately led to his suicide.

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2️⃣ William Delbert Gann

WD Gann, born in 1878, was a trader who employed unconventional market forecasting methods rooted in geometry, astrology, and ancient mathematics. He introduced mysterious technical tools like Gann angles, Gann fans, and the Square of 9.

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Alongside trading, he wrote books and taught courses. It’s debated whether Gann’s wealth came from trading or his courses and books. His estate was worth just over $100,000 at his 1955 passing.

3️⃣ George Soros

George Soros, born in Hungary in 1930, remains an active and wealthy trader, amassing around $6.7 billion. He’s also known for surviving the Holocaust and his philanthropic efforts.

As the chair of Soros Fund Management, one of the most successful hedge fund firms, he earned the nickname “the man who broke the Bank of England” in 1992 after profiting $1 billion from a $10 billion pound short sale.

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4️⃣ Jim Rogers

Born in 1942, James Rogers, Jr. is the chair of Rogers Holdings. He co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros in the early 1970s, achieving a remarkable 4,200% gain over a decade.

Rogers made accurate bullish calls on commodities in the 1990s and wrote books detailing his adventures. Before his service in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1968, he worked on Wall Street and met Soros during his time at an investment bank.

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5️⃣ Richard Dennis

Richard J. Dennis, born in 1949, earned the title “Prince of the Pit” as a successful Chicago-based commodities trader. He reportedly turned $1,600 into a $200 million fortune over ten years.

He co-created the legendary Turtle Trading experiment with William Eckhardt. Despite major losses in the 1987 stock market crash and again in 2000, Dennis’s success story remains significant.

6️⃣ Paul Tudor Jones

Paul Tudor Jones II, born in 1954, is said to have amassed about $7.5 billion by 2023. As the founder of Tudor Investment Corporation, a renowned hedge fund, he gained fame after earning around $100 million from shorting stocks during the 1987 market crash.

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He began his investment journey by trading cotton and wrote newspaper articles under the byline “Eagle Jones” during his college years.

7️⃣ John Paulson

John Paulson, born in 1955, rose to financial stardom with his hedge fund Paulson & Co., earning billions in 2007 by using credit default swaps to short the U.S. subprime mortgage market.

While he helped others accumulate wealth, he experienced significant personal losses by 2020 due to missteps in pharmaceutical, healthcare, and gold stocks. This led to several investors departing from his hedge fund.

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8️⃣ Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen, born in 1956, founded SAC Capital Advisors, a leading hedge fund specializing in equity trading. In 2013, SAC faced SEC charges related to insider trading, resulting in a $1.2 billion fine.

Cohen initially invested his earnings from college card games and earned $8,000 on his first day at Gruntal investment banking in 1978. He later founded SAC and is now the founder and CEO of Point72 Asset Management.

9️⃣ David Tepper

David Tepper, born in 1957, is the founder of the highly successful hedge fund Appaloosa Management.

He specializes in distressed debt investing and is known for his appearances on CNBC. Tepper started as a credit analyst, tagging distressed companies and guiding them toward profitability. He later ventured into purchasing bank bonds and is also a dedicated philanthropist.

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🔟 Nick Leeson

Nicholas Leeson, born in 1967, is the infamous rogue trader responsible for the Barings Bank collapse. After serving four years in a Singapore prison, he reemerged as the CEO of the Irish football club Galway United.

Notably, Leeson’s success came without further education after high school, beginning with a job at a local bank and eventually reaching Barings Bank, where approximately $1.4 billion was lost.

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➤ Best Traders FAQ

Who’s the best trader?

Determining the richest day trader can be challenging, as many choose to remain anonymous.

However, according to Money, Inc., Bill Lipschutz, a former bond trader at Salomon Bros. in the 1980s and 1990s, is often regarded as a strong contender for the title of “richest day trader in the world.”

Who’s the best investor?

While day traders focus on short-term market movements, long-term investors have their own legends.

Warren Buffett frequently takes the crown as the most accomplished investor in history. He has achieved this status through his role at Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company known for long-term investments.

What’s a swing trader?

Swing traders operate differently, concentrating on price movements within specified ranges. They buy when prices hit support levels and sell when reaching resistance levels. Typically, swing traders maintain their positions for several days to weeks.

➤ Final Thoughts

The captivating and diverse life journeys of these renowned traders have inspired numerous books and films.

“Reminiscences of a Stock Operator,” offering a fictionalized glimpse into Jesse Livermore’s life, is considered a timeless trading classic, lauded as one of the most significant books in the field.

Furthermore, the story of Nick Leeson and the Barings Bank collapse became the basis for “Rogue Trader” (1999), a movie featuring Ewan McGregor.

  1. Jesse Livermore – The Trading Career of Jesse Livermore – Notable Events
  2. FBS Markets – The Top 10 Greatest Traders of All Time
  3. Forex Education – The Richest Traders in the World in 2023—Billionaire Traders
  4. Forbes – George Soros
  5. Nasdaq – How to Invest Like Jim Rogers
  6. AP News – Futures Trading Legend Richard Dennis Calls It Quits
  7. Warrior Trading – Top 5 Most Famous Traders of All Time
  8. The New York Times – The Man Who Won as Others Lost
  9. Forbes – John Paulson
  10. Reuters – U.S. Judge Accepts SAC Guilty Plea, Approves $1.2 Billion Deal
  11. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – SEC Charges Steven A. Cohen with Failing to Supervise Portfolio Managers and Prevent Insider Trading
  12. Forbes – David Tepper
  13. Nick Leeson – Biography
  14. Money, Inc. – Who Is the Richest Day Trader in the World

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〝If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.〞

— Edmund Burke
Pavlos Written by:

Hey — It’s Pavlos. Just another human sharing my thoughts on all things money. Nothing more, nothing less.