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How I Trade for a Living Hardcover – October 26, 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Gary Smith was bitten by the trading bug at the age of fourteen, and ever since he's thought of little else other than how to make a fortune as a home-based trader. He bought his first stock in 1966, when he was just a college sophomore, and then spent the next two decades unsuccessfully chasing his childhood dream. Finally, in 1985, nearly bankrupt and ready to quit, Gary Smith had an epiphany that changed everything-and since then he hasn't had a losing year and rarely even a losing month. His trading account has mushroomed from $2,200 to nearly $1 million. What did Gary discover on that fateful day in 1985? How did he achieve his phenomenal fifteen-year winning streak and earn an international reputation as one of the most successful home-based traders ever? Find out in How I Trade for a Living. What you won't find in How I Trade for a Living are knotty mathematical formulas, complex technical indicators, heavy charts, or elaborate software demands. What you will find is a simple, straightforward approach to home-based trading that can be used by virtually anyone, anywhere. Unlike most "experts" writing today, Gary Smith has actually made it as a home-based trader. Step by step, Smith outlines his low-risk trading strategies and explains how to use them to trade stock index futures and mutual funds-his preferred vehicles-as well as individual stocks, options, futures, and junk bonds. He acquaints you with his favorite indicators and tells you how to get the most out of them. He offers a wealth of tips on recognizing market trends and riding them for all they're worth. You've heard what the "experts" have to say about trading the markets. Now find out how it's really done from a consummate pro in How I Trade for a Living.

From the Back Cover

Master the Markets by Trading from Home! how I trade for a living "Gary Smith deals in reality. If you want to really learn to trade for real profits, not hypothetical, mumbo-back-tested programs, this book is a must. I seldom read market books anymore, but I read every word of this important book. Get it." -Larry Williams, author of Long-Term Secrets to Short-Term Trading "How I Trade for a Living is a remarkable book; truly a treasure trove of market information.. Highly recommended." -Humphrey E. D. Lloyd, MD, author of Trading S&P Futures & Options: A Survival Manual and Study Guide "Straight talk from an accomplished veteran on how to succeed as a full-time trader. Gary Smith recounts the obstacles he overcame on the road to trading mastery and describes the strategies, indicators, and insights he used to reach his goals." -Nelson Freeburg, Editor, Formula Research "It is always valuable to get inside the mind of a successful trader. Gary Smith does a good job taking you there in a book loaded with useful tips and helpful hints. A worthy addition to any trader's library!" -Gary B. Smith, Contributing Editor, The Street.com "In How I Trade for a Living Gary Smith dispenses a healthy dose of that rarest of all commodities, vicarious experience from a consistently winning trader. New traders will find great benefit from looking over Smith's shoulder as he generously shares with the reader the valuable knowledge he has gained over three decades of trading." -Edward D. Dobson, President, Traders Press, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 26, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471355143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471355144
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My last book, How I Trade For a Living, was published in October 1999. That was a few months before the multi-year decline in the markets led by the crash in the technology sector. Because much of my success in the 1990s was riding the technology wave, many traders assumed I was just a one hit wonder and never to be heard from again. But au contraire. In the 15 years since How I Trade For a Living was published, I have been far more profitable than I ever was in the 1980s and 1990s. My success since 2000 hasn't come from daytrading stock index futures or swing trading technology funds and other sector equity funds. Instead, it has come from trading junk corporate and junk municipal bond funds. While my percentage returns haven't been as large as in the 1980s and 1990s when I had a smaller account, my actual dollar returns have been far greater and that is because of the compound effect.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
read several times. at first was very excited as here is someone who has walked the walked, however, if your looking for answers, you won't find here. I've read over and over trying to bring sense to how author trades or insights to use. First, he ONLY trades Funds at this point(present), so those who say he trades futures, options, etc., haven't fully digested the book.
Author goes to length to explain an Indicator then several pages later will tell you he finds the indictor doesn't perform any more! Well what does? he spends a lot of time discussing his evolvement as a trader over 19 years!!
Lots of talk of momentum and late day reversals, which are suppose to be strong bullish indicators. These don't seem to work as evidenced by 12/6's strong momentum and no follow thru the next day! Also for intra-day trading which I've found to be brutal, unless you enjoy staring at your monitor for 8 hours a day! I've also heard over and over that the Big money is in trading short term (3-10 days) or long term, not intra-day.
He does spend time discussing how he USE to trade index futures and some of the patterns he used. However, these too were confusing and contradictory. Ex. "My original price patterns continue to work for me, but only because I filter my trades with the action of the tape."
What does that mean?
I found books by William O'Neil much more clear and consise.
good luck
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Format: Hardcover
I've traded stocks and futures for over ten years, and have spent thousands of dollars on books, courses and software on trading. Most of it is junk written by vendors who couldn't trade their way out of a paper bag. HOW I TRADE FOR A LIVING is one of the few books written by an actual trader who trades for a living.
Gary's story is like that of many traders (including myself:) Years of struggle and frustration in a seemingly futile attempt at beating the markets. Gary recounts his failures and his spectacular success: Since 1985 his account has grown from a paltry $2200 into over $650,000 (this amount does not include withdrawals for living expensese, so profits are even greater.)
Gary also tells us how he trades, what indicators he uses, and details exactly how he trades. In perhaps the best and must useful chapter "The Nitty-Gritty of Trading," Gary takes the reader through actual trades, which explain his methodology in great detail, which can be applied to stocks, mutual funds and stock index futures.
Though this book has my highest recommendation, I should warn the reader that this book is written for the serious trader. There are no magic formulas, just wisdom from a great trader. I plan on reading it many times.
Comment 42 of 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on August 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was the first book I ever read on trading. After about 8 months and reading a dozen more books, I decided to re-read 'How I trade for a living'.
A couple of things stand out. For one Gary says he does not place much value on charts and indicators, yet using these methods, he determines when he will increase his exposure to his mutual fund positions. The second (now being August 2001) he explains that most of his money was made by investing in technology funds with his various chosen fund families, funds that often mirrored the NASDAQ.
Looking back at the times when he was most active and making money, so were most people. I mean he was trading at the time of tech hype and crazy stock prices for basically any tech related company. My point is just about anyone could have made money trading at this period in time, you could have thrown a dart at the telco or internet sectors and bought whatever you hit and made money. How many stories have been told of amatuer investors running small capital to vast profits by just playing tech stocks.
Things are not the same anymore, and may never be in this relatively flat market, I would like to know how he is fairing now. I think a lot of contradictions come out of his book. The fact that he also trades primarily mutual funds and not individual stocks, options, futures etc, also makes me wonder how much of a trader he really is, Mutual funds are good for the grandma and grandpa investors, with empahasis on investors and not TRADERS.
I always get weary of succesful traders who suddenly become authors, it may yet be the best sentiment indicator of tough times ahead in the markets.
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Format: Hardcover
I was intrigued by this book's title. I am not a day trader, and have no plans to become one; however, I still gained some insights into Gary Smith's success by reading this volume:
1) Self-knowledge. Mr. Smith did not enter day trading for the glamour. He treats it strictly like a business. He comes across as a person with a solid inner core, perhaps gained by many years of contemplation during his early, lean years. His reading list appears to have something to do with this; he remarks [p. 231] "Looking at my massive collection of trading books, my friend commented about all the money and time I had wasted accumulating this stash of books since, obviously, they had done me no good. Fast forward 21 years, and my friend is still searching for his opportunity to get rich, while my trading account is closing in on $700,000...I believe reading as much as you can about trading and the stock market is part of the process of becoming a successful trader yourself."
2) Persistence. Mr. Smith endured many years of treading water before he began to consistently make money - the first 19 years of his 36-year career so far. This of course was initially fueled by passion, following his reading of Nicolas Darvas's "How I Made Two Million Dollars in the Stock Market" at age 14. Smith's initial passion had many years of follow up, such as [p. 197] "[During the 1960s], while most of my fellow students spent their free time partying or debating and protesting the Vietnam War...I could be found at the local stock brokerage office. There, sitting next to veteran traders in their seventies and eighties, I watched excitedly as the stock quotations rolled across the large ticker tape...
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