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The Universal Principles of Successful Trading: Essential Knowledge for All Traders in All Markets Hardcover – July 26, 2010

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The Universal Principles of Successful Trading: Essential Knowledge for All Traders in All Markets + High probability trading : take the steps to become a successful trader + Trading for a Living: Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470825804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470825808
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Brent gives you the opportunity to sit down with some really great traders and learn from their good and bad experiences. This should be an invaluable experience for the reader.
--Larry Williams, Trader

Unlike most trading books, The Universal Principles of Successful Trading covers the key principles of trading success. It even has a money management chapter-a topic which most books neglect. I recommend reading this book cover to cover several times. It will change your mind about what's important in trading.
--Van K. Tharp, Ph.D., Trading Coach and President, Van Tharp Institute (, and Author of The Definitive Guide to Position Sizing

Brent Penfold has successfully provided readers with a blueprint for trading success. Not only does he cover such vital topics as trader psychology and effective money management, he also presents interviews with many successful traders and market researchers and his probing questions and their answers offer insights into their specific trading styles and psyches…a "how-to" book from start to finish.
--Tom DeMark, Founder, Market Studies, LLC

This is one of the best books on trading to come along in a long time and I predict it will become a classic. The book covers just about every aspect necessary to become a successful trader. His discussion and conclusions on the highly promoted Gann and Fibonacci methodologies might indeed surprise you. He made over 16,000 observations of Fibonacci ratios to derive his conclusions. This section alone is well worth the price for the "wanna-be" traders who are looking for techniques that work. In summary, read this book. You will be richly rewarded for your time and effort.
--John Hill, President, Futures Truth Co.

Brent has compiled all the ingredients in this book. He has experience, intelligence, and knowledge that he has tapped from traders all over the world. It is so refreshing to read a book written by a "true trader" such as Brent.
--Mark D. Cook, Pro Trader and Creator of the Cook Cumulative Tick Indicator

In my opinion trading education is delivered in two styles: quantitative and qualitative. The vast majority of information in the trading universe is quantitative-"hard-coded" information that can be replicated by the majority. However, successful trading only comes about by an understanding of qualitative learning-how you can readily teach someone to learn to lose when it goes against everything we're brought up to believe. Brent's "Just One Piece of Advice" section is one of the best attempts to get this qualitative message across. Take it. Read it. Then read it again and again.
--Nick Radge, Trader and Adviser (AFSL 288200) and Author of Adaptive Analysis (

This book cries out to be placed in any trader's library. Brent does a superb job of outlining, exploring and evaluating the current state of position sizing algorithms. As successful traders know, money management is one of the three pillars of trading success.  He also provides a unique trading plan. A great book!
--Ray Barros, Professional Trader and Fund Manager and Author of The Nature of Trends

This book is a "must-read" for anybody approaching the world of trading but also for skilled traders. I've read many books but this is the one I wished I had found when I was starting this adventure. Brent addresses exactly what a trader should really focus on.
--Andrea Unger, Winner of the World Cup Championship of Futures Trading® 2008 & 2009

Normally when asked to review a book, I will skim through it and make a few comments.  With this book, I just kept reading-I couldn't stop! Brent has an amazing ability to tell it like it is.  His "Just One Piece of Advice" section is brilliant, and worth the price of the book many times over. If you have a genuine deep desire to be a consistently profitable trader and want to learn what traders really need to know as opposed to what most think they need to know, do yourself a favor and read this-please!
--Stuart McPhee, Trader and Author of Trading in a Nut Shell

In my 25 years in the market I have read and seen just about every trading book there is. Very few get to the crux of trading like Brent has. Get it. Read it. This is not your typical trading book, this is a comprehensive book written by a real trader for traders, everyday people who are serious about becoming successful traders.
--John (JR) Robertson, Director, I-Deal Financial Group

Crawling in the right direction beats running in the wrong direction every time and Universal Principles of Successful Trading will definitely get you heading in the right direction. Straight forward language, simple concepts and emphasis given where emphasis is needed. I wish this book was around when I started out because to master the markets now all you have to do is master this book. 
--Alan Hull
, Trader and Fund Manager and Author of Active Investing

When Brent asked me to review his new book The Universal Principles of Successful Trading I was both excited and curious. Having read his first book and recommended it to many of my clients I knew to expect something big. Brent is one of the very few authors who actually puts into practice the strategies he espouses, which lends great credibility to his words. He provides the most comprehensive approach to the various strategies of money management I've ever seen. A must read for anyone serious about trading.
--David Montuoro, Futures Broker and Director, Bellmont Securities

Concise, to the point, and relevant for gaining the trading skills and strategies needed to maneuver in today's marketplace, Brent provides a clear road map on how to emulate the elite traders who consistently win over the long-term. Forget the hype you hear about trading and get this book. Read it, read it and read it again. And then study it until your eyeballs drop out. Brent keeps it real and if you can too then you may just find yourself in the exclusive 10 percent winner's circle! This book is destined to become a trading classic.
--Steve Mater, CFD Business Development, MF Global

In his first book Brent hits the nail on the head with a down to earth, no nonsense explanation of what you need to be a successful active trader. I haven't seen a more practical guidebook for traders in over 20 years in the financial markets. If you want to stop being in the 90 percent of traders who lose and join the elite 10 percent who win, then I suggest you throw out all your other textbooks and read this book from cover to cover. This is a book written for traders by a trader and is the obvious starting point for a successful trading career.
--Tony Makowiak, Head of Dealing, Aliom Pty Ltd

From the Inside Flap

The Universal Principles of Successful Trading clearly and unambiguously articulates trading principles that distinguish the winners from the losers. Though trading can be performed in different markets, across different timeframes, and with different instruments based upon different techniques, there is one common thread that ties all winning traders together: the universal principles of successful trading. All consistently profitable traders adhere to them regardless of the markets, timeframes, and techniques.

In this ground-breaking book from top trader, Brent Penfold, the reader will:

  • Learn how to develop a trading plan
  • Learn how to identify and create an effective methodology
  • Discover successful money management strategies
  • Understand trader psychology

And many more exciting trading and strategies secrets.

Supporting the universal principles are rare interviews from a diverse group of successful traders. Some are the new young guns of trading and others are market legends who are trading just as actively today as they were over 50 years ago. They represent a diverse group of traders from the United Kingdom, America, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, and Australia. All of them have generously agreed to offer the reader one singularly powerful piece of advice to help them towards their trading goals. Each piece of advice emphasizes an essential element of the universal principles.

This timely and exciting book from Brent Penfold has already garnered many accolades and looks set to become a modern-day classic.

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Customer Reviews

I bought this book for my Kindle and have devoured it.
M. Woodruff
A honest view on trading that will save you a lot of money and time if you are serious about becoming a private trader.
J.W. ,Singapore
This book is excellent for traders that are ready for it.
Steve Burns

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is excellent for traders that are ready for it. You need a foundation in trading to understand its importance and take the principles seriously. Once you are through the rainbow and butterfly phase of trading and realize that you will not be a millionaire in a year this book will help you get focused and get serious about your trading and what really works.

Here are the six universal principles of successful traders:
1). Preparation
Author Brent Penfold is in the minority believing risk management is the #1 priority in trading. He believes that once you get your trading system and position size in place you must use the amount you will risk on each trade to figure out your risk of ruin. The book shows specifically how to figure this out using an excel spreadsheet. His point is that if your risk of ruin is not zero then you will eventually blow out your account. Risking 1% to 2% of your capital in any one trade usually gives you a zero percent risk of ruin but it also depends on your systems win/loss ratio. But the point is to test any system with 30 trades first then determine your risk of ruin.
2). Enlightenment
Your #1 goal is to lower your risk ruin to zero. In trading the trader with the best ability to cut losses short wins. Simple trading strategies work the best based on support and resistance. The simplest way to win in trading is to trade with the trend on either retracements of break outs. The 10% of winners in the market win by treading where others fear, buying on break outs when they first occur and going short when a new low is made. Or buying into the abyss when a security finds support or resistance and reverses at the end of a monster trend.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By ISM on March 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book seems to have been put together from various disparate sources and not written with a comprehensive understanding of the subject. In general it comes across as repetitious, confused and sometimes misleading.

The book laboriously extracts multiple pages, tables and diagrams from some very basic points. For example it gives a formula for determining a trade size by number of contracts for the desired trade risk:

No. contracts = (risk per trade/risk per contract) - fair enough.

That seems sufficient, but it then lays out two tables with example values, firstly for different risk per contract amounts and then with a combination of different risk per trade amounts and risk per contract amounts. This approach is maintained through most of the book, it just becomes tiresome and adds nothing other than pad the book out.


There is a whole chapter on money management, but it really only describes various ways to determine the size of a trade position, whether that be based on a % of your trading account, splitting your account into a fixed number of units (obviously the same as a % of your account) or a fixed contract size. No mention of stops so not really addressing your risk exposure at all!


The money management chapter also attempts, but fails to describe the well known Turtle Trading strategy under 'Fixed Volatility Money Management'.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J.W. ,Singapore on August 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was studying for my level 3 of the CMT examination, when I learned that John Bollinger was coming to Singapore for a seminar. I registered and add other lecturers to my schedule, including Brent Penfold. John Bollinger was wonderful, but it was Brent Penfold's message that appealed to me the most. His message was different from all the marketing hype surrounding trading, so I also bought the book. When I finished my examination,I finally got some time to read the book. This book speaks to me at every line! Brent Penfold teaches you what you need to know to start trading and before putting your hard earned money at risk, warns you about the efforts you will have to commit to. Although it is not a beginner book, as some experience (or pain) in trading is needed to understand the concepts, I believe it can be valuable to any trader. Beginners may still want to let their ego cheat them and continue their search for the Holy Grail, but reading this book will plant a seed that will grow with their trading experience and they will come back to the book later. A honest view on trading that will save you a lot of money and time if you are serious about becoming a private trader.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Vik on September 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Brent Penfold has written a trading book for the individual. Simply a must have. No fancy computer techniques, no stories of traders risking it all to make billions. It really is what it says it is: The universal matter what style a trader adopts, this principles must be adhered to for success. it's similar to a law that must be obeyed to even allow you to play in the market. It absolutely opened my eyes
with respect to money management - a concept only winning traders currently understand completely. Brent lays the foundation of surviving before thriving and then educates the reader about the statistics to track
such as expectancy, accuracy etc. These were concepts I can understand as
an engineer, but just wasn't aware of. It's given me THE foundation to start my trading "business"

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