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The Complete TurtleTrader: How 23 Novice Investors Became Overnight Millionaires Paperback – February 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Covel (Trend Following) revisits a famous financial trading experiment conducted by Wall Street trader Richard Dennis and extracts its lessons with mixed results. Dennis, who quickly learned how to trade after starting as a runner at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 1966 at age 17, had made a reported $200 million by 1983. To settle an argument with fellow trader William Eckhardt about whether trading ability was innate or could be taught, he put an ad in the Wall Street Journal offering to teach candidates how to trade in two weeks, and then backed them with his own money. Of the thousands of people who who applied, 23 turtles were accepted. Their trading made $100 million for Dennis, leading some to become highly successful traders in their own right. Having tracked down most of the people involved, Covel describes the turtle training, including rules for entering and exiting trades as well as Dennis and Eckhardt's personal lessons, and speculates on why some turtles succeeded more than others. However, there are too many characters with competing interests, and many missing facts. Covel's own strong views can also get more emphasis than the voices of the principals. Still, the book is a useful training manual distilling the lessons of a fascinating experiment. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Tells the ‘real stories’ rather than just the glossy good bits—a thoroughly good read.” (Your Trading Edge)

“This warmly written book brilliantly captures the formation and evolution of the legendary Turtle investment program. It is loaded with wonderful anecdotal insights plus lessons on trading, risk, and life we should all follow. It should be on any novice or seasoned trader’s bookshelf alike. A must read!” (Michael Shannon, Original Turtle)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061241717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061241710
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Covel is President and founder of Trend Following™, a research-consulting firm focused on trend following trading strategies. The firm's client base consists of individual traders, students, hedge funds, pensions and family offices. Michael's unique edge is an extensive personal network within the world of quantitative trend following investments. His unparalleled global teaching track record is over 7000+ clients in 70+ countries.

The bestselling author of The Little Book of Trading, Trend Commandments, The Complete TurtleTrader and the classic Trend Following, Michael's books have sold 150,000+ copies. His books have been translated into 10+ languages with Trend Following named best trading book of the last 15 years. His first documentary film is Broke: The New American Dream.

Michael is also the voice behind Trend Following Radio, the underground alternative hit that has been as high as #2 on iTunes investing channel reaching 182 countries & territories with 1.9 million listens. Guests have included: Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize), Vernon Smith (Nobel Prize), Harry Markowitz (Nobel Prize), Ed Seykota, Gerd Gigerenzer, Dan Ariely, Jack Schwager, Michael Mauboussin, Larry Williams, Tom DeMark, Tom Basso, Jerry Parker, Barry Ritholtz and Larry Hite. More:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 129 people found the following review helpful By John Forman on December 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The first impression one gets from The Complete Turtle Trader is quite favorable. It is an attractive format, and a pretty easy read, though well written and detailed. The primary text is about 200 pages, which I got through in a single afternoon (though I do read faster than most). And the price tag is extremely reasonable for a hardcover trading book, much lower than what you often see.

This book definitely continues along the path of the trend trading subject of Covel's earlier book, Trend Following, but does so through the story of the famous Turtles. Readers of Jack Schwager's book, Market Wizards, and it's follow-up, The New Market Wizards, will be familiar with the Turtles. They are the result of a nature vs. nurture running debate between famous futures trader Richard Dennis (a Market Wizard) and his partner William Eckhardt (profiled in The New Market Wizards).

The Turtle program was an effort to determine whether traders can be created, developed through training as opposed to having some innate talent for it. This topic has been the subject of debates in trading circles for probably as long as there has been traders. To a certain degree, the classic movie Trading Places, which was released very near the time of the first Turtle program, has at it's core the same theme.

In The Complete Turtle Trader, as the subtitle suggests, Covel tells the story of the Turtles from the selection process which brought together two very diverse groups of people in 1983 and 1984 all the way through to where they are today. It includes a discussion of their training program, their performance, and of course the ideas underlying the system they employed, one based on trend following.
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126 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In The Complete TurtleTraders, author Michael W. Covel tells the riveting account of a group of investors who were led by one remarkable man, Richard Dennis (with the help of his partner, William Eckhardt). Dennis was somewhat of an iconoclast, not brought up through the ranks of Fortune 500 company grooming programs, figuring out his own methods for making money.

Dennis was a successful investor who believed that investing
principles could be taught to anyone. His partner, William Eckhardt, disagreed, tending to believe that the talent was inborn. Their differing views formed the basis for a bet between the two men and led to one of the more remarkable experiments in investing history.

Basically, Dennis agreed to find a diverse group of individuals, give each recruit $1 million dollars, put them through two weeks of intensive training, teach them specific investing principles and methods and see how well they'd do after that. To add to the challenge, Dennis and his partner (who agreed to help teach the recruits) hired people from all walks of life.

Exactly how diverse was the group? Well, there was a security guard, a restaurant manger, an unemployed student, a bartender, kitchen cook, teacher and even a prison worker. Covel describes in detail how Dennis
interviewed and selected each recruit, nicknaming them "The Turtles". He also chronicles their 14 days of intensive training. It wasn't easy but the potential rewards were great.

While the account of the Turtles' experiences is reason enough to buy this book, I want to stress that it is more than the story of that remarkable group of individuals.
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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful By George Bush HALL OF FAME on December 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"The Complete Turtle Trader" details the story of an experiment to determine if traders were born, not made (or vice-versa), as well as provide a basic foundation in pattern trading. Fundamental analysis (eg. Warren Buffett) is seen as pointless - value is already reflected in an item's price. Instead, trading is based on mob psychology, and is clearly not income-averaging either.

System I: A four-week price break-out was a signal for market entry, and a two-week breakout in the opposite direction a signal for exit. System I was also combined with "filters" to reduce the number of entries. System II instead used an eleven-week breakout to enter, and a four-week signal to exit. There were also a few add-on rules to cover markets that increased over a sustained period of time.

Traders typically used 2% of their funds for each "bet," and were also warned to avoid correlation within their portfolios (increased overall risk). Another risk-limiting rule was to limit themselves to 4-5 "units" of 2% for any one market.

The experiment demonstrated that most anyone could be taught to be a successful traders, and most made considerable profit for both themselves and their funders.

The "bad news" about "The Complete Turtle Trader" is that most of the book is taken up with minute and largely irrelevant details of initial trader selection, personality differences, etc.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By E. Paradis on October 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Covel's book is an excellent, in depth look into the personalities of Dennis, Eckhardt and the "Turtles" they trained and mentored. We get a great view into the humanity of the organization that started large scale systematic trading in a time when most traders were addicted to fundamentals ( some things haven't changed in that regard).

The emotional highs and lows, the risks, the luck, and the losses are methodically organized and documented. History was written as it happened on the trading floor. In short, its a clear, concise read and is a new addition to Covel's first book, Trend following.
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