I’m a huge fan of autobiographies. I read at least one per month. That can be an autobiography by a person like Arnold Schwarzenegger (Total Recall – must read!), or that of an artist, or even that of a school teacher or a homeless person. I believe that everyone has got to say something. Experiences make us what we are, they shape our view of the world and the interpretation of events in our life. There are as many different views of the world as there are people out there. Alternatively, you could say there are as many realities out there as there are people because our perception shapes our reality. My world is not your world.
And that is what makes reading autobiographies so interesting. It is a brief look into the minds of others, and thus, their worlds. There is so much to learn from that. Each and every autobiography I read I find incredibly fascinating and there is always a lot of wisdom to be extracted from that person’s description of their own existence.
So today, I want to allow you a brief look into my own “autobiography” as a trader – I will name all the resources I consumed over the years that shaped me as a trader and enabled me to create my own approach to trading based on the general principles of trendfollowing and the trading of pullbacks in trends. Of course, I consumed much more than just these, but not all of the things I consumed had an impact on my trading – maybe only in the way that I said “Ok, this approach is not for me, this doesn’t make sense”, but that would go too far for this format. Anyway, let’s go – not in any particular order. I simply wrote down everything that I thought was helpful to me, so here it is.
Sources on the WWW (excluding forums, specific links to forum threads later)
peterlbrandt.com – Peter Brandt’s charts and approach to trading and risk management are so analytical and crystal clear that I recommend reading his blog posts to really everyone, no matter what kind of trader you are.
Threads on forums
More Simple Is Impossible– An incredibly awesome thread on trading pullbacks and 1-2-3’s with Pivots and Renko bars, especially take a look at all posts by the user “dee50”.
Genesis Matrix Trading – A huge influence on my daytrading strategy, this thread laid the foundation to the development of my own trendfollowing strategy – the traders in this thread made a great contribution but they lacked to explain the framework that is necessary to trade their system profitably.
The One – I’m a huge fan of Pitchforks and channel trading (something that I haven’t really written here about but trading pullbacks inside a channel in the direction of the channel is pure gold), and this thread started it – great stuff.
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator; Edwin Lefevre – A classic, this book actually always motivates me to keep on pushing even during rough patches. Everyone has their own source for motivation.
Trading In The Zone; Mark Douglas – The one book you need on trading psychology. Alternatively, try Steenbarger’s books – haven’t read all of them, though.
Rock, Paper, Scissors; Len Fisher – A great take on game theory in everyday’s life and will help you understand edges and thinking in probabilities much, much better. It will help you with any game of chance. Love it.
Elements Of Poker; Tommy Angelo – This book cured me of my anger as a poker player and helped me a lot as a trader, as well.
The Mental Game Of Poker; Jared Tendler – I gained a much deeper understanding of how my brain works by reading this book. It taught me how to identify the crap my brain does early on and how to defeat the causes of unnecessary and unwanted emotions in games of chance.
Treat Your Poker Like A Business; Dusty Schmidt – Taught me how to turn an edge into an empire. Must read. Alternatively, “Trading For A Living” by Alexander Elder.
High Probability Trading; Marcel Link – If there is one thing I gained from this book then how to do proper, statistically sound backtests, keeping a journal, and how to utilize momentum oscillators on multiple timeframes – part of my edge is built on the principles of this book.
Technical Analysis Of The Financial Markets; John J. Murphy – My introduction to technical analysis, still a great primer for any newbie.
The New Science Of Technical Analysis; Thomas R. DeMark – Let go of conventional wisdom, that’s the message of this book, and it served me very well.
Diary Of A Professional Commodity Trader; Peter L. Brandt – Even if you don’t trade patterns, it is worth knowing and recognising the roughly 12 classical patterns Peter looks for, and his very honest diary on the trades he takes during a certain period of time in the year of 2011 gives you an incredible perspective on the mind of a trading veteran of 50 years.
Trading Commodity Futures With Classical Chart Patterns; Peter L. Brandt – Same as above.
Technical Analysis And Stock Market Profits; Richard Schabacker – The principles Peter bases his trading on, if there is one book you read on technical analysis, it should be this one.
Technical Analysis Of Stock Trends; Robert D. Edwards, John Magee – an addendum, in my eyes, to the book above.
Trading Price Action Trends; Al Brooks – Brooks is a Futures veteran of many years and his methods, especially on measured moves, helped me a lot in finding proper targets and exits for my trades.
Trading Price Action Reversals; Al Brooks – Same as above.
Trading Price Action Ranges; Al Brooks – Same as above.
Reading Price Charts Bar By Bar; Al Brooks – Understanding and being able to read a chart bar by bar is an incredibly useful skill, even though I now use Heiken Ashi charts in my trading
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck; Mark Manson – Yep, a non-trading book that helps a lot with perspective in life and teaches you how to let go. It really influenced my take on trading, as well.
Important mentions/people to follow on Twitter
Tradeciety Rolf– Yes, Rolf had a big influence on my trading, too, and if it only was for showing me that reversal/level trading is NOT for me.
Assad Tannous– My absolute favorite on Twitter. He also got a great grip on politics and other topics – legit, the real deal.
Tom Dante – One of the first profitable retail traders I learned about on the internet, showed me that it is actually possible.
Modern Rock – Very honest tweets about the ups and downs of a trader’s life, showed me that I am not alone when occasionally going nuts in front of the charts.
Peter L. Brandt – The man, the myth, the legend… always spot on, reminding you daily of all the possible ways in which you can fuck up as a trader.
Joseph Burns – A fellow trend trader, very down to earth and a family man. No-nonsense Twitter feed.
And that is pretty much it. I didn’t add any Youtube channels because I never really followed anyone on Youtube. If you consume everything I wrote above, then your level of knowledge should very much resemble my level of knowledge. As I said, I read a lot more material over the years, but these sources are the ones that really made a difference to my approach / I still reference them to this day when working on my game and refining my strategy.
I treat everything else pretty much as noise. I found my niche, and I don’t want to be confused by other people’s approaches to trading so I pretty much ignore everything else that flies across my screen like the plague. Depth of market, different indicators, grid trading, whatever – I couldn’t care less. The books I gave you, those are enough to trade as a technical trader for the next 100 years if the markets don’t completely change, which I don’t think will happen – they will change, they are changing, but there will always be phases of consolidation, and phases of trends. I re-read those books whenever I find the time, and every time I learn something new and scribble down new notes, even after all these years, so I am pretty much done with adding new tricks to my technical arsenal. Even if I am going to develop a new strategy for example on the Daily charts, it will be based on the principles from the sources above.
My next step will be to gain a deeper understanding of fundamentals in order to increase the edge for my trend trading. Once I did that, I will consider myself a complete trader, and will only work on perfecting my skill set and my approach to trading with maximum obsession. That should keep me occupied for the next 50 years, or until Trump bombs the world to pieces.
Now you know what shaped me as a trader up until now, maybe it will help you and shape you as well. Would love to hear your feedback.