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Very comprehensive book. Much if it is difficult to understand. Excellent writing, the clearest in the business, but author gets into some complex info. I feel he is not always fair in giving credit to other authors.
One side issue, a book this costly and technical should have a durable binding. Mine fell apart the first time I opened it. It's glued together like a paperback novel.
All in all it's the most complete single source I have seen in the commodities trading field, even includes chapters on economic theory. It's worth the price. Info on fallacies in fundamental analysis (reading the news) is unique and helpful. Also lots of very wise trading tips
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on October 12, 1999
Information for the beginner, then moves into detailed examples and explanations for the advanced trader. Covers futures, options, analysis, spreads and more. Well written, concise, easy to understand. An excellent book for reading and ongoing reference if you're serious about the commodities markets.
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on April 6, 2001
An old Chinese Proverb states that a mind all logic is like a knife all blade. (In other words, tough to grasp.) Schwager, an extremely intelligent and successful analyst, is something of a quant... the type of individual who enjoys crunching long series of numbers, sifting through data with a fine toothed comb, and finding hidden statistical correlations for their own sake. His writing style reflects this mindset.

While informative overall, Schwager at times tackles subjects of mind-numbing complexity and strays into the realm of the pedantic. (His example of how to fundamentally analyze the hog market is such a case.) I was amazed at the level of esoterica delved into in certain places in this book. After reading this book early on (a trader interviewed in Market Wizards recommended it highly), I was worried that I might have to learn some high level calculus if I were going to be a successful trader. (Don't worry, that's not the case.)

One of the things the successful trader has to do is learn to separate valuable information from noise, wheat from chaff. If you try to read every report and analyze every detail you come across, you will freeze like a deer in the headlights... or otherwise find yourself buried by an information avalanche.

My overall impression is that Schwager approaches markets the way a mathematics professor would approach a particularly thorny problem: with logic, rigor and a visible lack of passion. His strengths are in crunching the numbers and laying out basic facts and theories with precision and clarity. His weakness, and thus the weakness of this book in my opinion, is in poorly communicating the psychological and emotional elements of trading.

This is not to say the book has no value. It is packed with information, and also points out a number of the fallacies committed by traders (skilled and unskilled alike). It is a good reference book to have, something like an abridged encyclopedia of trading, one that can be referred to many times over to brush up on the finer points of a certain strategy or technical method.

I recommend this book for those seeking quantitative knowledge of the futures markets and mathematical breakdowns of the strategies. But if you buy and read this book, be aware that not all traders are so statistical and professor-like in their analysis.

Schwager humbly admits that he is not a good trader himself. I suspect this is because he tries to hide behind rigorous analysis rather than dealing with his emotions and psychology directly, and this book reflects some of that attempt. In conclusion I would say that this is an excellent reference guide, but cannot agree that it is "complete" because it glosses over the critical psychological and emotional elements.
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on July 1, 2004
Schwager is the starting point for any serious reading on futures and options trading. Disregard comments below on its being to quantitative. No, you don't need a Ph.D. in math nor high school calculus (there isn't a single integral or differential equation in the whole book). You should have a starting basis in statistics as well as some pre-existing intuition about markets.
It is well-written and clear,and truly encyclopedic in scope : every conceivable options trade, with all permutations thereof, is discussed and dissected, even inadvisable ones (they too are informative). A classic book whose age (mine is copyright 1984!) testifies to its enduring worth. To summarize, you can't really trade futures or options and expect to make money without it.
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on October 21, 2008
This book is a must read for anyone interested in starting a trading business. While it is an old book it provides an excellent and objective look at the different methods of analysis (Technical and Fundamental.) The emphasis is on the futures market. In my view it provides and excellent introduction to this market but, I find the techniques applicable to stocks and currencies.

I only wish I had discovered this book 15 years before.
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on October 1, 2007
Schwagers book is captivating and informative. The discussion on regression provides useful insight for people interested in fundamental and technical analysis but may offend random walkers. Overall the book will enhance any readers understanding of the stockmarkets.
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on December 19, 2012
It presents the intensive details about fundamental and technical part of trading and it provides many inside knowledge about futures markets which you cannot easily get from other books.
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on August 7, 2001
This book could be renamed as "The Mathematics of Trading". The traget readers are traders who use lots of Mathematics and Statistics.
The experience of Schwager helped me a lot. He said he was good in analysis but not trading. Many people, including me, thought Mathematics, Statistics and Economics were essential for good trading. So they went to college, studied hard, got a degree and hope they could make money in the market. This simply never happen! Otherwise everyone should got a PhD before trading. You still need to develop a method or system. But what is vital is to control your ego. Admit mistakes quickly. This was the most interesting and useful conclusion that I got from Schwager.
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on September 6, 1998
It's a nice book, Jack, but you need a PhD in Math to appreciate it. I've only read part 4, the part on charting, technical analysis and trading systems. I thought that section was well done. I've only skimmed through the rest of the book.
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on November 6, 2001
Schwager's textbooks while not specifically about spreads are comprehensive and complete about futures. This book has a small section about trading commodity futures spreads.
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