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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The quiet voice of truth, outshouted by fear and greed
Several reviewers have claimed that this book does not contain actionable advice. I understand the complaint, the only specific recommendations are generalities like keep a journal, practice yoga and meditation, take satisfaction in small losses, learn from successful practitioners and join a support group for traders. In particular, this book leaves out the very...
Published on October 22, 2011 by Aaron C. Brown

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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars doesn't really do what it says it does
In the face of 25 five-star glowing reviews as I type this (the majority of which I notice are the only review the person has posted on Amazon), I must stand on the other side and give this two stars.

The premise or theme of this book is that trading is 20% intellectual and 80% psychological (I won't argue with that), and that to be successful in trading a...
Published on October 9, 2011 by monkuboy


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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars doesn't really do what it says it does, October 9, 2011
By 
monkuboy (Temple City, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
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In the face of 25 five-star glowing reviews as I type this (the majority of which I notice are the only review the person has posted on Amazon), I must stand on the other side and give this two stars.

The premise or theme of this book is that trading is 20% intellectual and 80% psychological (I won't argue with that), and that to be successful in trading a person must know thyself, and to harmonize your trading systems with your emotions. The way I understand what the author is saying is that you have to find a trading system that integrates with your character and personality - a style that fits the way you are (because let's face it, most people are pretty much set when they are still kids and it is really hard to make significant changes after that - hence the reason why self-help books keep selling, over and over and over again to the same people - different titles but similar themes). So that is what I was expecting from this book - to educate the reader on how to know thyself, and to adapt that self to a compatible trading style.

That is not the case. Instead, the author does describe various trading styles, points out how emotions have created unsuccessful trades, and then he tells the reader how they must change to take the emotion out of it, or to look at things in a certain way because it is a more sensible way to trade. In other words, he is doing what countless other books out there do, giving advice on how you should emotionally approach a trade. Yes, there are lots of books that advocate strict methods of trading (such as reading charts, or using certain criteria to trigger a buy or sell order), but there are also lots of books that address the emotional component of trades. The author describes his book in a fairly unique manner, but the actual content belies the description. This turned out to be just another book that advises the reader on how not to let his or her emotions get the better of themselves when engaging in trades.

I also found that the author writes about some subject matter in a very breezy, informal way that assumes the reader is already familiar with the mechanics of those types of transactions. If you are not one of the people who is familiar with that type of transaction then the point of what he is saying may be over your head, as some of them were for me. I thought some things could have been explained better.

As an educational read, this book is average. If you've never read a book about the psychological aspects of investing, then this would be worthwhile because the author covers the topic in a relatively short space. But if you've already read other books on the subject, this one is not going to tell you something you haven't already read somewhere else. It tries to portray the subject from a different angle, but the actual writing is no different than many other books out there.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The quiet voice of truth, outshouted by fear and greed, October 22, 2011
By 
Aaron C. Brown (New York, New York United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
Several reviewers have claimed that this book does not contain actionable advice. I understand the complaint, the only specific recommendations are generalities like keep a journal, practice yoga and meditation, take satisfaction in small losses, learn from successful practitioners and join a support group for traders. In particular, this book leaves out the very important point that you need some kind of an edge. Your inner voice must speak the truth. While this part is easier than most people think, there are lots of well-known, published techniques to get an edge, it cannot be ignored. My guess is 80% of people fail at trading because they never acquire one. The author's advice is reserved for the other 20%.

Among that group, I agree with the author that failure usually comes from wanting something other than success. Many people want to boast about bold, clever trades. That's an expensive hobby. Focusing on what other people will think steers you down losing paths. The author blames the American educational system for turning out people who value being smart and giving the answer the teacher wants to hear over accomplishing goals and respecting their own idiosyncratic intelligence. I think it's something deeper. Good trading is disruptive. Humans are socialized not to trade well, which is one of the main reasons simple trading techniques work.

The value of this book is its clarity and honesty. It's not an ABC of what to do, it's an expertly-crafted vision of what to be. Someone who wants an ABC has already missed the point. The author tells you how to listen to your inner voice, he's not selling a transcript of what your inner voice says.

The book uses stories about trading and life so show what trading is. If you don't understand that, you cannot make money consistently enough for success. Much more important, you will not be happy even if you do make money.
A trading room is not the place to acquire self-confidence or public acclaim. Trading is not a skill you acquire that once you have it generates money effortlessly. A profitable trade does not quiet your inner demons or make you a better human being. Unless you have rigorous clarity about those things you should find a safer occupation than trader. This book makes these points gently and indirectly, but powerfully nonetheless.

To the extent the author does venture into specifics, he's not always accurate. He praises yoga and meditation, and advises getting away from distractions to hear your inner voice. That's great advice for some people. But I think it's equally possible to find your center in competition, say a poker game or race. Insight can come from immersing yourself with a crowd at a concert or party. Calling your inner voice "quiet" is only a metaphor. You can hear it equally well in a crowd of frenzied, yelling traders as in a sensory deprivation tank, and as clearly when you're pushing yourself to the limit as when you are completely relaxed in an ashram.

He repeatedly emphasizes the important of taking lots of small losses and relying on less frequent but larger gains to generate long-term profit. That is usually right in trading, but it's not a universal rule. There are good strategies that do the reverse, say making 1% every month, except every couple of years losing 10%. The key is to know the type of bet you're making and not to try to force it into the wrong distribution, and not to acquire investors who don't understand your game. The author is very critical of leverage. Leverage is dangerous, of course, but it is essential to many good strategies. In fact, a lot of market opportunities are created by other people's leverage aversion.

The most blatant error is his description of quant traders. He is precise and accurate about traders he knows personally, but he admits his account of quants came from Scott Patterson's book. Unfortunately, he read this too quickly and confuses events from four days in August 2007, which inflicted unexpectedly large but not crippling losses on many quant traders (losses that were quickly recouped), with later events during the financial crisis that happened to different traders. He asserts incorrectly and with no support that quants stuck blindly to models, unable to conceive that the market disagreed. There may be some people who do this, but the author names specific quant traders who have lasted far too long and acquired far too much success to be accused of this rookie error. Among several other howlers in these regrettable three pages, quants are accused of holding illiquid instruments and of failing to react to increases in market volatility. Quants generally want a good price history, which means they tend to trade the most liquid things: equities and listed futures. And a quant thinks about a bet size in volatility terms. Therefore, when market volatility increases, most quants automatically scale back their position sizes in proportion. They don't even think about it as cutting positions. It is qualitative investors like the author who are far more likely to be found in illiquid positions, and sizing in constant notional terms (number of contracts or dollars) rather than volatility. Quants are prone to certain kinds of mistakes, but not these mistakes.

Errors and inaccuracies aside, this is a great book for novice and experienced traders. Soaking up its wisdom distilled from experience and introspection will help you become more successful. And that's true even if it doesn't make you a penny.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, boring, October 3, 2011
By 
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
This book is slim and small. I should have been able to read it in one sitting but it was so boring that I kept falling asleep.

The first chapter started out well enough. It promised that by the end of the book I would be in touch with my inner voice of trading.

What does the book offer to help me with that achievement? It tells me that you need yoga, meditation, or a trading tribe. It also tells me that an emotional hazing will get me there.

For yoga, it offers a book written by a yoga instructor. I can see many took that recommendation because the price for the book has risen in just 1 day.

For meditation, it offered to start the day with thinking about your positive outcomes. Steenbarger said the same thing - concentrate on what you do well.

For a trading tribe, it says it is hard to find a good one. The author acknowledges he got lucky by being in one with Ed Seykota.

The first chapter talked a lot about achieving an emotional connection to your trading rules and method. From this emphasis, I expected some concrete steps on how to achieve that. It offered nothing. It did say that you can achieve your inner voice through an emotional hazing. It gave some examples of people who had lost everything at least once - and thus went through emotional hazing. I guess losing everything is a concrete step to take. Unfortunately, not one I am willing to take.

Part of the book is a rehash of stories from Market Wizards or brief one liners that were original to the really good books on trading psychology by Steenbarger and Douglas. If you read books by either of them, you will not learn anything new in this book.

There is one very odd chapter on trading pairs. It is odd because it didn't seem to have anything to do with the inner voice of trading.

The book has gray boxes that highlights a section from the page. You would think these highlights would be nice tips. They are sometimes. But more often than not they are meaningless and not something you would want to go back through the book and reread. For example, "A few dozen Stanford Ph.D.s would go to the Amazon Rain Forest and shake down the natives for their witch doctor/medicine man methods". If I wanted to quickly reread the book for tips, how would that gray-boxed sentence help me?

In all, this book is a disappointment. It may be of some use to a beginner trader to prepare their mind before they learn from a really helpful book by Steenbarger or Douglas.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a bullet the price always tells the truth, September 29, 2011
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
Michael Martin hit a home run with the important insights revealed this book. Mr. Martin is an accomplished trader who has the ability to look within himself for answers and gives examples of how you can too. He explains how trading is mostly emotional and you control everything from when to enter or even if you should enter a trade. A quote from the book says, "Your sense of self-awareness is as unique as your fingerprints." He explains that emotional self awareness and being compatible with your trading system are primary to your success because "the act of trading is 20% intellectual and 80% psychological." He explains how ego, volatility, over leverage, and unanticipated events work together to blow up traders. Also, if you don't take your emotions into account, your knowledge about trading systems and what works and doesn't work in trading the markets will make no difference because in the end you still will not know how to trade. The answer is not to seek out more information, it is to study yourself. His chapter on relative value trades outlines some excellent ways to view the market. Listen to your "inner voice", get some awareness into yourself and your trading and read this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retirement investor, October 13, 2011
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
I found this book to be engaging and informative, and Martin's methodology to be a game changer for me as a casual retirement investor. I've spent years shying away from money managers feeling like they were selling me snake oil. This book validated some of my concerns...but more importantly told me what I need to do if I'm planning to invest in the market again. Taking small losses sounds simple but I've certainly been guilty of buying stocks on their way down, thinking 'they're an even better deal now'...which decimated my portfolio. If only I'd read this book before the market crash I would have saved myself a lot of heartache, not to mention money. Since I'm not a trader, but rather a retirement investor, it was a surprise to me how much of this book applied to my investing. Never again will I think of myself as 'buy and hold' investor, and I will be much more engaged with my retirement savings investing and planning. This book inspired me with it's message and informed me with real life examples.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Master The Mental Aspect of Trading, September 25, 2011
By 
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
I have followed Michael Martin for a few years on his blog, and have been impressed by his rational, controlled approach to markets. As someone who has been mentored by Ed Seykota, he has many valuable lessons to teach. Martin is first and foremost a trader, and a very good one at that. His book surpassed the even high expectations I had going into it. It is one of the best trading books I have read devoted to the most important aspect of trading - Trader Psychology.

Inner Voice addresses in excellent detail the importance of the mental aspects of trading. A trader has to trade a system or method that is in line with the trader's emotional profile - period. There is plenty of technical data in the book, including discussions about understanding mathematical expectation, position-sizing, risk-management, and cutting losses early. Most importantly, the book helps the reader look within themselves to identify how they deal with the emotional aspects of trading and the feelings we all have when in, or even out of, trading positions.

The weakest link in any trading system is the trader themselves. Emotional control and understanding, or lack thereof, is one of the most important elements that separates winner and losing traders. We can not control markets, but we must learn to control ourselves in the markets.

I believe Inner Voice will become required reading for all serious traders, and is on par with work by M. Douglas and V. Tharp. As another reviewer has mentioned, there are trading books that you read and file away, and those that you keep re-reading and coming back to as a reference. This is definitely a go-to book.

Chapter 4, Two Trader's Paths, which discusses trading legends Michael Marcus and Bill Dunn, is very insightful, as we learn more about the differences between a "discretionary" trader (Marcus) and purely "systematic" trader (Dunn).

Chapter 5 addresses two fallacies. One, the myth of buy and hold, with charts to discuss the flaws of this strategy. Two, the myth that market timing does not work, while in fact professional traders who manage billions have been able to time markets for years using very simple data.

From start to finish a very well thought-out, highly informative book that many serious traders will continue to study for many years. Highly recommended reading. Excellent work.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish this was published 25 years ago!, October 13, 2011
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
I have no doubt this was written by someone who has experienced big winners, emotional losers, and everything in-between as the various trials and tribulations of trading simply can't be imagined! This book definitely speaks from the heart - providing great insight and wisdom for every investor, trader, and money manager.

When it comes to trading, most of us live in an economic exile of sorts. Without proper insight/understanding of that "inner voice of trading", one will wind up losing their landscape or perspective of what they are doing and why? This book surely comes to the rescue on that!

I especially enjoyed chapter 3 "My Tuition". The ink spilt on this chapter was very expensive and the lessons shared are definitely worth committing to memory.

Fortunately, there's finally a book that offers hope rather than a quick fix to riches!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book on trading by a successful trader, May 31, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
In a world full of trading books that are written by non-traders or people trying to sell a system this book is written by someone who gets trading, who has lived the ups and down of trading. The book does not give a strict set of rules that you can use to be a successful trader because there isn't any rule that fits every trader. It outlines ways that a trader can follow to find his/her emotional approach (again in this case there is no one method fits all, so the author does the best to lay an outline). Overall a great read and insights into thought process of a trader.

The last two chapters "The Abundance of Losses" and "Becoming an Emotional Specialist" each are probably the worth the price of this book. It is always hard to take losses and the book gives a great reasoning about the stop order as "the price where [you're] willing to transfer the risk to someone else." Throughout the book, a reader will also find nuggets of wisdom from a number of Market Wizards.

The author also has great information in his blog martinkronicle.com, where you can find interviews with legendary traders like Bill Dunn and Larry Hite.

In my opinion, this is one of the best trading books to come out in the recent years.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Develops idea that intentions equal results, October 8, 2011
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
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Michael Martin says that trading is 20% intellectual and 80% psychological. It sure seems that way based on Martin's stories of his own trading and that of others. These traders learn mainly from their losses. The truly successful traders have managed to stay in the game longer than others. They have learned to look at trading differently over time as they gained experience.

Unlike a lot of books on trading the markets, this one does not advocate a technical or fundamental method. It's about recognizing why one trades in the market. Martin writes about achieving certain feelings as a central goal of trading. This is a little poetic. He advocates meditation, as do more and more market wizards.

Once started, I could not put this book down. If Martin is correct, it changes everything. Notions of success and failure are changed. For example, we should learn to see the acceptance of a small loss that could have turned into a large one as a great trade. We should learn to "surrender" to the situation. Humility is more important than in most endeavors.

Martin's book helped me to recognize more of what I don't know. It made me feel like following his advice on yoga. I recommend his book about developing one's inner voice through harmonizing emotions with actions.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than just a trading book, October 5, 2011
This review is from: The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You (Hardcover)
I really like what he says a the beginning of the book:

"If you take away anything from this book, make it these points:

1. Trading profitably is about mathematical expectation

2. Knowing yourself is more important that what you know "

This is a great place for a trader to start, I never got anywhere until I understood these two pieces of advice. Michael might sound a little esoteric for some people but I personally thing that his advice is spot on. He is also a rare combination of successful trader that knows how to teach and knows a lot of the best traders in history on top of that.

My favorite thing is that he has been able to explain many of Ed Seykota's concepts in a much more accessible way, I had the fortune to be in one of Seykota's tribes as well and I can tell you that what he says is not easy to understand at all. Michael brings some of his mentor's ideas and mix them with personal insights that end up in a book that should be the entrance point for any aspiring trader or investor.
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