Trend Following with Michael Covel

As I get further into this project, I’m conscious that once I have a decent amount of money built up, I’ll need to use it to make money through investments rather than leave it languishing in a current account. With this in mind I have been trying to gain greater knowledge in regards to investments and techniques. I’m not looking for a foolproof strategy or anything as I do this, as I don’t believe one exists, I just want to get a broad range and spectrum of different ideas, methods and approaches to various types of investing. To help me with this I decided to try listening to some Podcasts on the subject. I came across a list someone had written of his top 10 investing podcasts, and thought this would be a decent place to start. The first one I have sampled is ‘Trend Following with Michael Covel’.

Trend following graphWhen writing reviews, I try to offer a frank and honest assessment of my thoughts, whilst remaining fair and balanced. I fear that remaining balanced will be a near impossible task here, as almost everything about the series places somewhere on the spectrum from egotistical to ludicrous right through to laughable and even infuriating. Perhaps it is best to first give a brief overview of the theory behind trend following, to at least offer a fair reflection. In essence, trend following is a trading strategy that seeks to identify a trend in a market (the measurements and methods of which seem to vary widely) and ‘ride’ this trend to a point where the method used suggests the trend has reversed, and then exit at a gain before the price falls significantly. It is a complex system and this is perhaps a slightly crude explanation, but it outlines the basic principle concerned.

I must make it clear, none of this I learned from the five or six podcasts I listened to in  this series, where despite the title, Covel manages to offer almost no information or insight regarding trend following, other than to tell you to read his books. Herein lies problem number one. This is not a podcast about Trend Following, or investment of any kind. This is a podcast which the author passes of as investment related, but in reality is about him, and his opinions on a wide range of issues, which he spuriously and tenuously links in to trend following. The episodes appear more as an outlet for his burgeoning ego than anything else, where he talks of his favourite songs, and even provides a travelogue of which exotic country he is recording from this time.  Perhaps the alarm bells should have started ringing as soon as the intro segment started; as guitar riffs kick in, a sultry voiced woman dramatically informs that “you are entering an investing state of mind the system doesn’t want you in: the truth.” It doesn’t bode well…

The structuring of each episode seems to vary widely, on some occasions there appears to be very little structure to the show, as he jumps from topic to topic whereas others he seems to have set out a proper plan to follow, which is commendable. The problem though lies in the content of the plan. Often it consists of reading from a lengthy article, in which every tenth or so word is either “quote” or “unquote”. This makes it not only hard to follow, but fairly frustrating. After a while it actually begins to become comical, just listen to the first few minutes of episode 61, and you’ll begin to understand what I mean (there is a link to the series below). If this is the type of content he wants to communicate, it would be far better served in a website or other print format. The structure then often appears to follow a pattern of him disproving the article. This has the potential to be an interesting concept, but instead of offering facts, or counter-arguments it usually stoops to puerile mockery and character assassinations. There is a particular instance where the professor of Harvard is quoted in an article, to which Covel rants – and this is a genuine direct quote – “what does he do that’s useful to society – absolutely frickin’ nothing”. If you disagree with the guys views that’s fair enough, but the man is responsible for leading one of the worlds finest educational establishments, I would venture to say he contributes a fair bit to society. It only gets worse though, he goes on to directly suggest that all professors are in their profession to simply sit around and ogle at the backsides of the young female students. Laying aside the fact this is hugely slanderous, I’m still perplexed as to what any of this has to do with trend following and investment strategies.

Trend Following with Micheal Covel PodcastI think things are summed up when, after attacking an article in this manner, he says something along the lines of ‘I just love articles like this, it really gives me a chance to sharpen the knife’. It appears that his sole intention is to ridicule and mock other opinions to the point where he is trying to appear as if he is so wise and the only one with a grasp on reality, that only a fool would not listen to him. This all seems to be building to the purpose of the podcast, to tell you to read his books, watch his films, and participate in his training services. He implies that anyone who isn’t doing so is ‘stupid’ or ignorant.

Perhaps I am being unfair, maybe there is more to it that I am missing. Perhaps it is just my personal preference and I took a dislike to the show where others may well enjoy and benefit from it. I have only listened to about 6 episodes (I don’t think I can stomach any more than that), so perhaps I haven’t given it a fair chance. Maybe I have approached it without enough of an understanding of what trend following entails and so was never going to find it beneficial. Whilst all these may be valid points, the facts of the matter seem clear to me. Michael Covel produces an incredibly hard to listen to and frustrating product, which seems to serve a dual purpose: to serve his ego, and sell his books. Neither of which I’m particularly interested in.

The Bottom Line:

There isn’t much about this to recommend I’m afraid. Unless you have twenty minutes spare and fancy being simultaneously bemused, frustrated and amused, I would advise you to steer well clear. Granted I only listened to around six episodes, but I just don’t think I could handle anymore, there seems to be no worthwhile or constructive content whatsoever. After this experience I will think twice about where I get my podcast recommendations from! It’s safe to say this one won’t be added to the subscription list.

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of more great new content by email.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: