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on January 13, 2003
Elder begins with a chapter on psychology. Mind as he refers to it. In my experience, success in trading has less to do with understanding "the madness of crowds" and more to do with developing discipline. Read Mark Douglas instead.
Next, Elder spends a lot of pages giving the reader a rundown of the most common price patterns and technical indicators. Which is fine if you don't know them, but has all but the most neophyte readers skipping over great gobs of the book.
Next, Elder trots out his two pet indicators and tells you about them. I have used them and they're about as good as any others that you probably already know about and have already used. In other words, I wouldn't buy the book just to get a peek at them.
Lastly, he goes into money management. Elder has said himself that he wishes he had devoted more time to this section. Once again, unless you are a complete beginner, you won't find much meat here either.
Elder likes trading off moving averages and looking for divergences in certain indicators. Well, I have been trading a fair number of years and am here to tell you, you can do better than that. Much better.
If you're a beginner, try reading Nison and DiNapoli/Boroden. Their material is far more effective and will have a much greater impact on your bottom line.
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on April 6, 2003
If somebody bought, read and judged the book by whether it could really help him or her to go "trading for a living", that somebody would definitely be disappointed. Even the author himself pointed out that the success rate for the conversion of ex institutional traders to independent traders was very low owing to the much higher psychological load of trading one's own money than that of trading OPM.
Despite the over-promise of the book title and the second half of it discussing mostly technical tools, the book is quite well written. There are plenty of bright ideas, some with originality that can be attributed to the author's M.D. and psychiatrist background. In particular I like the following points much:-
- That trading is a minus sum game (considering commission and slippage) and the mass media or gurus or prevalent market view are almost always wrong.
- The analogy of the market as an ocean and a huge crowd of people, in either case an individual can have no control of but have to follow (or leave) emotionlessly for long term profit.
- The analogy of Alcoholic Anonymous with Loser Anonymous that requires the same treatment for true recovery, whereas accepting oneself as an alcoholic or a loser is the very first step of healing.
- The need for discipline and patience as individual traders' only weapon to against institutional traders advantages in faster information, better research reports, lower psychological burden for trading OPM, etc
- Price is a psychological event, a momentary balance of opinion between bulls and bears, its pattern reflects the mass psychology of the market.
- Last but not least, the opening prices are determined primarily by amateurs whilst the closing prices are determined by professionals.
In short, the book is well worth the price and I do recommend it to those who study continuously for self improvement in their trading. Remarks:- The author claimed that he personally did so, too.
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on April 27, 2001
2 Years ago I became a full-time trader after taking several courses and reading more than 40 books on trading. Dr. Elder's book is the ONLY one that has made me money, a lot of money (603% last year).

The first half of the book deals with the psychology of both the market and the trader. I didn't fully appreciate this portion of Dr. Elder's book until I began trading. This is the biggest obsticle of the trader. His insight has really helped me to understand the movements of the market and myself as a trader.

The second half of 'Trading for a Living' deals with technical analysis and money management. This has proved invaluable to me. There is so much accurate information I've read the book eight times, that's how jam packed it is with useable information. Also, every word matters--no fluff at all--unlike most of the books on trading I've read. And, don't overlook his money management chapter. This is where amatuers fail. His simple money management system will help to elivate you to a professional trader. If you want to make money, this is the book.

SKEPTICS
I'm not saying any book will make you a trader. It's more complicated than that. But Elder gives you a great foundation, especially his triple screen method and his ranking the success of various patterns and indicators in different markets (bull, bear, trading range).

From there, it's experience. I've been day trading for 11 years. I've made great money and had some loosing years, but mostly it was when I didn't follow Elder's advise. One of his great pieces of wisdom is (paraphrased) "Great trades scream out to you," meaning don't trade to trade, wait for super setups.
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on January 25, 2000
I have to say after reading Dr. Elders book for the second time, I am even more impressed with the wealth of knowledge and understanding of what makes the markets move. I prefer the triple screen method that is presented. This book covers all of the basic knowledge for the beginner as well as the experienced trader. If you are new to trading you will find this an excellent source to build your dreams on. I believe study is the key to sucess in any endeavor. This book is easy to read and you will be amazed at the insight you will gain as to the day to day operation of the markets. I think it is important to decide on what method makes the most sense to your trading style and then learn all you can about it. The more knowledge you have the better decisions you make. I find the hardest part being money management. I have to control my urge to follow my gambling impulse to bet the farm on what looks good in the charts. Even though I know it is a sure way to loose in the market. This is a game of the most interesting kind that changes on a moment by moment basis. What a great way to make money. My word of advice on any trade where you have the slightest doubt of why you are in it is to GET OUT IMEDIATLEY ! . If you do not know why you are in a trade and what you expect to happen and why, then you are guessing. If guessing is what you like to do go to Las Vegas and have a great time. Best to you all in trading. If anyone has a real-time quote service they are proud to have please let me know who they are. Thanks
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on July 20, 2006
This book changed my life and changed the way I trade. Part of the reason I can say that is the fact that I developed my all-time most reliable and profitable trade from Elder's simple explanations. Fully 80% of my trades are based on a formation that occurs using two indicators described in this book. Elder even identifies the formation as being "the strongest signal in technical analysis." I will certainly agree, though it took me some time to find the ideal market and time-frame for it. If you trade futures, stocks, or currencies with Candlesticks, the secret is in this book. It gave me the edge I needed to become consistently profitable. I own more than 60 trading related books (those are just the keepers) and I think what makes Elder stand out is the fact that he is/was a successful trader for many years and that the content of this book is the hard-won wisdom of those years. This is not a book written by some infomercial peddler who makes his living selling trading "courses." I chuckle when I see the price for this book is $47.25 because I would have counted it a steal at a hundred times that. To unlock the strategies in Trading for a Living you will have to adapt them to your own trading style, vehicle, and funds. I agree with another reviewer who said this book is for a person who is more than an amateur but not yet a pro. I believe that the techniques used by most very sophisticated professional traders are built on the indicators and principles found in this book.
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on August 18, 2005
I have a confession to make. I have been trading stocks since I was 13 years old. In between classes while my friends would head for the lavatories to smoke cigarettes, I would head to the pay phones to talk with my broker.

I am older now. Along the way, I have read many books on trading. This is, perhaps, one of the best. Dr. Alexander breaks the art and science of trading into three pillars:

* Psychology

* Market analysis and trading systems

* Money management.

The key to winning the trading game is to win the battle within your mind. Dr, Elder, himself a practicing psychiatrist, explains how to develop discipline and to avoid the traps caused by emotional trading.

Second, he shows how to identify good trades using charts and computerized indicators. In remarkably clear and concise language, he explains the indicators and how to combine them to develop your own trading system.

Finally, he discusses importance of money management. The successful trader manages risk. Dr. Elder lays down the rules for limiting it.

After reading this book, there is no doubt in my mind why this book has achieved the lasting success it has. All traders, both novices and experts, will benefit from reading it.
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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2006
If you read and follow the principles in this book you will make enough money on your trades to pay for this book many times over. I have been active in the market for years (Averaging <20% return a year) and I agree with this author completely having lived out the greed, fear, and mistakes he talks about.Read this book and save yourself a lot of unnecessary losses.

The first section of this book teaches you the psychology of successful trading:

1). You must be committed to being a trader for the long haul.

2). Learn all that you can, but be skeptical, go with what works.

3). Develop a method for analyzing the market.

4). Develop a money management plan.

5). Do not get greedy and rush trades.

6). Understand that you can be your own worst enemy through greed, fear, and emotions.

7).You must change to be a winner.

He introduces his own trading tactic of "Elder-ray" and also force index, triple screen,parabolic, and channel trading.

In the Risk Management section he covers the most important strategy of when to exit? He suggests setting a stop-loss on every trade at it's past days low and if it ticks up to reset a protect profit stop at 50% of your paper profit.

He also suggests never risking more than 2% of your account on any one trade, and never losing more than 6-8% of your account in any one month.

He makes a great point that all true professionals in any field do not count there money daily. Traders should focus on their trading not their daily paper profits.

Buy this book, you will profit from it, whether you are a beginner or an advanced trader, it will make you more professional and logical.
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on January 1, 2001
This is definitely a book for the novice, the intermediate and the professional trader.
The psychological section of the book is useful more towards the intermediate and the professional trader, whilst the trading tactics section is more designed for the novice and the intermediate trader, and the money management section for all three types of traders.
I found this book very helpful throughout my trading career and I would highly recommend that once you have read it not to discard it. You will find it greatly more beneficial to your trading career if you were to read it at least once every 1-2 years of your trading life, because certain areas in the book become highlighted and more readily understood as you mature.
The only reason why I gave it the 4 stars was Elder's fairly lack-lustre Money Management section (accounts for about 6% of the book). However if you find you would like to know more about Money Management (which is an integral part of trading) I would highly recommed K. van Tharp's "Trade Your Way To Financial Freedom."
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on November 23, 2001
Dr. Elder's book provide an almost perfect foundation for the novice or even perhaps the more experience investor. Like the most basics interpretation of drawing a Trendline he wrote:"It's better to draw support and resistance lines across the edges of congestion areas instead of extreme prices".(Extreme prices reflect panics among the weakest traders, while edges shows the masses of traders that changed their minds). If you trade long enough you know that this is true. He also explained and draw "Kinds Of Divergence" which is very important for any oscillators interpretation including RSI and stochastics.
I found that his explanation in this subject more focus and better than John Murphy's book The Visual Investor, or Martin Pring's book or even Perry Kaufman's Trading System. Finally for those who are planning or just started as an investor or trader please read these 4 books first before you invest in your hard earned money:
1.& 2. Both of Dr. Elder's book (incl his study guide)It helps you a lot to measure the power of the chart pattern through his explanation on oscillators)
2. Japanese Candlestick by Steve Nison (It helps you to success in short-term and medium-term investment, also helping to make an entry or exit point at the general chart pattern, when you have doubt in making a decission)
3. Encyclopedia of Chart Pattern by Thomas N Bulkowski (This book is for a medium or longer-term investment, also a very excellent book in chart pattern).
Finally I wish you all, success in investing to have a financial freedom.
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on September 18, 2000
I have read numerous books on day trading and this is by far the best. Most books just give generalities but Dr. Elder goes into specifics. He shows exactly where to find entry and exit points and where to place your stops. He explains in detail all the indicators and how to construct them. His risk management section is a must if you want to protect your equity. He explains how to trade like a professional, against the market crowds, for maximum profits. Overall, this is a "Bible" for traders. I searched for more books written by him on trading, but realize he's got it all in this book! Great reading!
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