Sidney Harris’ story starts when he was just a young lad
working for a stock market agency, which inspired him to start
investing himself. After taking advantage of a bad situation
during the stock market crash of 1987, Harris had a passion for
He eventually transferred this passion to the racetrack and
became a professional gambler who found himself to be
extraordinarily lucky when it came to betting on horses. By the
time Harris was ready to retire from the gambling world, he was
Other Pursuits before Gambling
Harris was born in the Soho sect of London, and that’s where
he spent the majority of his childhood. After he graduated from
Fairweather Academy, he started working at the Regent Street
Polytechnic of London in their shipping department.
Some of his co-workers sparked his interest in photography,
and he eventually quit his job to dedicate several years of his
life learning to appreciate the art of photography and
developing the necessary skills to advance in a career as a
photographer. Despite his passion for photography, he just
wasn’t making enough money to support himself and when he
stumbled upon an advertisement in the newspaper that mentioned
openings for stock brokers, he knew it was time for a corporate
Taking Advantage of the Infamous 1987 Stock Market Crash
Working in stocks was Harris’ first experience in working
closely with numbers and he spent hours researching and studying
the stock market so that he could better assist his clients. It
was during this time that Harris realized that if he was smart
with his money and took the right risks at the right times, he
could make a substantial amount of money.
On October 19th, 1987, better known today as Black Monday,
was the day that Harris took advantage of the devastating stock
market circumstances to reap the benefits of other people’s
misery. Financial experts working in the desks next to him had
their eyes glued to the television that day, as they watched the
market value seep lower and lower, realizing a lot of their
clients would be out of a lot of money.
Harris knew it would the public would be quick to sell their
stocks, so he started purchasing stocks for increasingly low
prices left and right throughout the day, ultimately earning
over $60,000 when all was said and done. He was one of the few
people that actually benefited from the devastating events that
occurred that day.
Jumping Over to a Life at the Racetrack
Harris now had a desire to take risks in regards to his
finances, as he became addicted to the adrenaline rush you
receive when risking a lot of money in hopes to make a
significant profit. Harris used the money he earned from the
Black Monday events and used it to bet on racehorses, mostly
because when he was a photographer, horses was one of his
favorite animals to capture in a photograph.
Harris wrote a gambling guide called, “Horse Racing, The
Essential Guide to Backing Winners,” which was published in
1999. The book is filled with valuable information that Harris
had gathered over the next decade of his life which he spent
horserace betting. One highlight of his book would be his,
Five Fundamental Rules for Gambling, which are as follows:
Never back a horse unproven on the going.
Never back a horse from an out of form stable.
Never back a horse unsuited to a track.
Never back a horse ridden by a jockey with a poor track record.
Never back a horse whose trainer has a poor track record.
Harris believes that by looking for a horse that either has
none or few of the above weaknesses, that you’ll be able to
significantly narrow down your playing field, essentially saving
you time and money. He knew the likelihood of finding a horse
that is exempt from all of the above rules was very slim, but
when he came across those opportunities, he knew he was almost
guaranteed to win.
Through following the above rules, Harris managed to win
millions of dollars from horserace betting alone. Luckily he
noticed early on that his addictive personality could get him
into trouble if he wasn’t careful and after he became a
millionaire, he slowly but surely started to restrain himself
from going to the racetrack too often.
Later on in life, he published the book, “How to Stop
Gambling Now,” which takes a deeper look into the life of
people that become addicted to gambling. He gives insider advice
to help people resolve their issues and his book would also be
beneficial to read if you are close to someone with addiction
problems, as it helps you understand their mindset.
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