The Amazing Story of the Turtle Traders

Updated: October 12, 2020

One popular statistic that is being said about people who go into the stock market is that 85% of them fail. It’s even more brutal in forex, where it is said that 95% of them lose money.

I tried to see if those numbers were true, and haven’t found any proof. So I’m concluding that those percentages are just pure assumptions made to scare people about the stock market and forex trading.

In my research for answers, however, I stumbled upon an experiment conducted in the 1980s by two commodity traders. They are Richard Dennis and Bill Eckhardt, who both later proved that success in trading is possible with the proper education.


The Turtle Experiment

Eckhardt believed that successful trading cannot be taught because either a person is born with the skills or not. Dennis, on the other hand, argued that anybody with proper guidance can make good money in trading.

To settle their debate, Dennis placed advertisements in newspapers recruiting people with no background knowledge about the financial market but are willing to be trained to become a trader.

Dennis received around 1,000 applicants and chose 23 people from all sorts of different backgrounds to become part of his workshop.

Some of the people chosen were a casino gambler, a board game designer, a church accountant, an Air Force pilot, and a professional pianist. Dennis called his group the “Turtle Traders”, inspired from his trip to a turtle-breeding farm in Singapore.

Richard Dennis is a successful trader, having already made over $200 million in his career. And for the next two weeks, he taught the “turtles” everything he knew about trading, particularly his time-tested winning strategies that made him rich.

After the two weeks, he gave each of them $1 million dollars to trade with and sent them on their own, but he monitored each of their progress for the next few years.

The Turtle experiment ended to be a very huge success. None of them lost money in the market, and actually made a whole sum of $100 million in a span of four years.

The amazing stories of these 23 individuals can be read in the bestselling book, The Complete TurtleTrader: How 23 Novice Investors Became Overnight Millionaires.

Again, success in the stock market all depends on getting the proper education. And it all begins by knowing if you are better suited as a stock market investor, or a stock market trader.

Find out here: Are You an Investor or a Trader? A Simple Test To Find Out

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Photo credit: jjjj56cp


  1. Many years ago, before my first Bride lost her battle with cancer, she regularly traded futures. I tended to stick with finding great stock for the IRA accounts.It was a comedy in motion to watch her in action, she did not even keep track of her book. In those days there was virtually no online brokerage firms for futures. She always knew exactly how many contracts she had long or short and at what prices.

    Her phone would ring in her office at the law firm she was with and she would be informed of a fill on a buy or sell order. Somehow she found time to glance at a chart, determine her next order and call it in. Was she just lucky to make small but steady profits? You would have to know the woman as I did to understand that in the middle of great chaos she had a very disciplined approach to her trading.

    Futures are great fun,,,,IF and ONLY IF you have the discipline to properly harness the leverage in the commodity markets. Many folks do crash and burn on the first several attempts with commodity trading. The Turtle book is a great read and the lessons learned will also help you in some styles of stock trading.

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