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Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk Hardcover – January 5, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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  • Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“If you are trying to solve the unsolvable, stop. Read this first and you will learn that the surest path to success will be to start with yourself; solve that conundrum and challenges like understanding how you do and should react to markets will come to be solvable.”
—Marvin Zonis, Professor Emeritus, Booth School of Business, The University of Chicago

“When it comes to fast-moving global financial markets, professional investors strive to evaluate complex economic conditions from data analysis, economic reasoning, and professional judgment. This is what is taught in business schools. Denise Shull demonstrates how investment decision making is also determined by unconscious emotions and perceptions. Market Mind Games is a fascinating book that proposes a new and unexpected hypothesis about the factors that drive financial decision-making.”
—A.G. Malliaris, Professor of Economics and Finance, Loyola University Chicago

“Denise Shull’s gem of a book is long overdue. . . .[Market Mind Games] has made the ability to analyze and overcome our unconscious biases and prejudices available to everyone.”
—Dr. Donald T. Wargo, Department of Economics, Temple University

Market Mind Games is iconoclastic to say the very least! Pay attention to the last word in the subtitle: risk. This book will change your perspective on how to approach and think about the markets and your life!”
—Michael J. Levas, Founder, Senior Managing Principal, and Director of Trading, Olympian Capital Management, LLC

“Denise changes the way you look at yourself and investing. Her insights and methods are necessary to succeed in the markets, period.”
—Jared Levy, Portfolio Manager and author of Your Options Handbook

Market Mind Games offers a new school of trading psychology. Truly an important work that needs to be on the bookshelf of every serious market participant.”
—Mike Bellafiore, author of One Good Trade

“Masterful explanation of not only why emotionless trading is a myth, but how we can take advantage of our natural wiring to gain an edge.”
—Derek Hernquist, Chief Investment Officer, Integrative Capital, LLC

“Shull details ways to learn how you ‘feel’ before you ‘act’ so that your buy, sell, or hold decisions become more successful.”
—E. Bernstein, OPUS Trading

“A must-read for those who want to make their livelihood as a professional investor, trader, or algorithmic trading developer.”
—Larry Tabb, founder and CEO, Tabb Group

“Denise Shull enlightens the reader how to effectively unlock one’s psychological capital and translate that awareness into clear and concise investment decisions.”
—Grant Mashek, Managing Member, Palm Equity, LLC

“Shull’s book is not only a great read but lays out an entirely more effective approach to thinking about any decision that involves the unknown—market related or not.”
—Leslie Shaw, Ph.D., Behavioral Economics, and trained psychoanalyst

Book Description

What if the mystery of market crashes stems from a simple but total misunderstanding of our own minds? Could everything we think we know about ourselves—intelligence and rationality versus emotion and irrationality—be wildly off the mark? Simply put: yes.

With these words, Denise Shull introduces her radical—and supremely rational— approach to risk. Her vision stems from the indisputable fact that human beings can’t make any decision at all without emotion and that emotion gets the first—and last—word when it comes to our perceptions and judgments.

Shull should know. She started out managing major accounts for IBM and then chose to research unconscious emotional patterns instead of getting her MBA. Next she became a trader and trading desk manager while continuing to study biopsychology.

We are all taught that sidelining our emotions is the best way to make good decisions— Shull declares the converse: emotions inform us. Attempting to control them actually increases the risks we take. Shull advocates treating feelings as data, and she convincingly argues that doing so eradicates the baffling question that repeats itself in our heads after making a poor investing decision: “What was I thinking?”

Through a series of “lectures,” Shull logically but engagingly connects emotions, beliefs, and context to our innate reaction to uncertainty and risk (yes, the two are different). In Market Mind Games, she merges more than 20 years of studying risk decisions into a single, astoundingly effective strategy.

A reasonable approach to emotion is the best and only way to win the investing game. The methods Shull details in Market Mind Games shake the foundation of conventional market and decision psychology. And, most important, they work.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (January 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071756221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071756228
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The advice in the book is sound but too general, like face the facts and don't be stubborn. The main idea seems to be that we are human beings with emotions so we cannot shut all emotions out when trading. In my mind the book the book is possibly useful for investors as opposed to traders. It is also more useful to novice investors. (Sadly most professionals are performing poorly as well, but they can't be helped by anything.) Personally, I find the author's style meandering, too informal, and too general. We get quite a number of references to pop-science books (as opposed to more serious books), which signals to me that the author is not that well read. We often get sentences like so and so is an authority implying that something is correct. Much better would have been for the author to really engage with the argument and then add a novel interpretations or something. Call me arrogant, but why does the author put MA after her name? And why does she talk about the research she did at grad school? Come one, the author has an MA, not a PhD.

Psychology in general, and hence also investor psychology, is something personal (that's why coaches can be useful) and we can accept certain points easier if we trust the author. Personally, I prefer Steenbarger's structured, somewhat dry, three books (e.g. his latest The Daily Trading Coach: 101 Lessons for Becoming Your Own Trading Psychologist (Wiley Trading)) and I dislike Douglas's zen-like, verbose Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude, which is a favourite of many.
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Format: Hardcover
First off, the title "market mind games" is completely misleading; a fact the author volunteers herself (but only in the afterword). The book has nothing to say on mind games and is not radical to anyone with more intelligence than a doorknob. A more appropriate title would be "Trading for the mentally unhinged".

I bought the book thinking it might be a journey down the rabbit hole. Instead it was a journey into the outhouse and the book stayed there for its entity like a turd that just refuses to go down the drain.

For those still wavering, I should warn you now it is written in the style of FICTION. While I applaud the author's fearlessness in pursuing this style, the characters in the story are so naive and amateurish that makes it difficult to take anything the book is saying seriously. In the end, I was rooting for them to fail but the author simply regurgitated the most clichéd Hollywood ending.

I don't expect a book to be brilliant from beginning to the end; if I learn one thing from a book then I think it is worthwhile. But my hopes dimmed when I read sentences like "The truth is: Probability tells us something - just not everything" (p16 hard cover version) highlighted in bold like it is some profound statement. I was left wondering why she didn't add "to state the obvious" just to fill up more space. But I wasn't left wondering for long. Gems like "you may think I am flogging a dead horse" (damn straight), "I really wish I have something more profound to say" (yet you wrote a book?) and, several times, "if I have heard this once I have heard it a thousand times" (so what?) confirmed my fears. I can only surmise she has to fill half the book with irrelevancies because she has nothing of actual value to say.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most traders, whether novice or experienced, at some point deal with the emotions of trading and investing. Novices will shrug off the psychology of trading as not being important. Others who say they are experienced feel they have conquered their emotions, or are looking for a roadmap to controlling emotions. Those who truly want to make themselves and their trading business truly better will embrace the concepts in this book. I approached the book with a good bit of skepticism. As I delved into it, I was most pleased with the way Denise weaved fictional characters into the presentation of her material. It has long been established that traders must control their emotions. Yet, Denise presents the fact that we are emotional beings and controlling emotions is difficult if not impossible. However, by embracing our emotions and understanding our emotions, instead of ignoring them, we can cross a divide that increases the probability of success in the investment world. In fact, I have taken the principles offered in the book and have applied them to other areas of my life only to find increasing benefits. Most people look for an answer, a technique, or whatever they feel will bring them success in trading. The answer, as described in the book, is really in understanding our own emotions when approaching the markets. Since reading the book, not only has my trading improved dramatically but, after years of trying to control emotions, I allow them to reveal themselves, in trading and in other areas of life. This has given me more complete understanding of how I interpret information coming from the market and what emotions drive me to enter, exit or stand aside. This is an excellent book. I urge anyone who reads it to take time with it and think through it carefully.Read more ›
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