Book Reviews

I’m Going to Quit Reading Trading Books for a Year (at least)

Trend following books
Swing trading books
Money management books
Old trading books
New trading books
Books on trading astrology
Books about hedge funds and market manipulation

The list is endless. And apparently so is my appetite to read them. And today I’m going to stop. Cold turkey. And here’s why I think it’s an awesome idea.

No More Trading Books!

The other day Eric (my girlfriend’s 11 year old son) came into the living room and found me sitting on the sofa surrounded by trading books. Books from the library, books from the book store, old trading books from ebay. We’re talking a lot of books. Without missing a beat he blurted out:

I bet one of those books says the same thing as all of the other books.

Ha!  Really?  Are you kidding me?!  One thing I learned after moving in with my girlfriend and her child is that kids say the smartest things at the weirdest times. It’s wild. They can sprout gibberish X-box all day long and then out of nowhere: insight.

Anyway, he went on to explain that all the trading books pretty much looked the same or had similar sounding titles and that he sees me reading them all the time and that he bets that they all said the same thing — and that I should know it by now.


He then went on to tell me something about Xbox that I didn’t really understand and I gave more thought to what he had said.

To be fair, there ARE some awesome trading books out there (I’ll talk about them in another post) and I have learned a lot from them — but at some point I have set the groundwork for my trading education and from here on out the market is my best teacher.

There’s Nothing New Under The (Trading Book) Sun

I have read trading books written all the way back in the 1890’s — and I have to be honest — most of them say the same thing:

Cut your losers short and let your winners run.

They also share a few other axioms that you may or may not be familiar with:

  • Determine the general trend of the market and trade only in that direction
  • Leave emotions out of trading (or learn to understand them)
  • Don’t add to losers
  • Don try to catch a falling knife
  • The market is always right

And the list goes on.  But it’s all the same in one way or another.  Sure — once in awhile, someone thinks they’ve come up with a brand new system or method and they’ll put out a book about it, but it’s usually the same thing.  So here’s what I say:

Trading Books Be Gone!

This morning, with my mind focused clearly on the mission of decluttering my mind, I took all of my trading books (there are a lot) and put them all into one pile.  I then decided which ones would be going for sale on ebay, and which would be staying — I mean the trading books I seriously could never see parting with.

There were 8.  I will buy no more.  I will only study these.  All of which I have read before.

  • Reminiscences of a Stock Operator – Edwin Lefevre
  • How to Make Money In Stocks – William O’Neil
  • Trading In the Zone – Mark Douglas
  • How I made $2,000,000.00 in the Stock Market – Nicolas Darvas
  • The Stock Market Wizards Series
  • Trend Following – Michael Covel
  • Psychology and the Stock Market – David N. Dreman
  • The Art of the Trade – Jason Alan Jankovsky

And that’s it!

What I Hope to Learn

What I hope to learn, or accomplish by doing this exercise, is to focus more on the market (and my own individual trading) and less on learning or reading or copying the methods I read about in trading books.  Yes, learning is great, and yes, studying great traders is also very helpful, but there comes a time when studying yourself provides much more benefit.

So goodbye new trading books — and hello David John Hall.  The time to study is upon us!

One Response

  1. Tami March 31, 2017

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