“Early in the morning on a typical weekday, men can be seen resolutely streaming down lower Broadway, braced against a pulverizing wind. They are preparing to enter their office buildings, put on their headsets, flick on their Bloombergs, and go to war. And if they look miserable—or weary, frustrated, angry, or petrified—it’s because they have one of the most emotionally taxing jobs in the world. Playing the market is a constant ricochet between panic and euphoria. There’s a reason the burnout rate is high. But the formula for succeeding in a high-stress financial environment is simpler than you might think. If you ask a trader, or someone who studies them, what the single most important factor is in determining whether a person will be good at trading, they will say that it’s the ability to control one’s emotions.
The trouble for all those men pouring into the trading desks is that recent studies suggest purely rational behavior may not come as naturally to them as gender stereotypes would suggest. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, the investment-management company Vanguard released data showing that men were more likely than women to sell stocks at the bottom of the market. Could it be that the fairer sex is better able to ride the ups and downs of Wall Street without letting their emotions get in the way?”