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on February 25, 2009
I find it very regrettable that Dr. Elder has seen fit to slam this author's book in the public venue of book reviews. I've only been involved in learning the stock market since September of 08, and while there are innumerable books on the subject and countless web pages devoted to it, most of them only serve to increase the sense of mystification in the mind of the newbie.

"Trend Trading for a Living", is quite exceptional amongst the available titles in that it does a much better job of making the subject matter digestible to people who aren't already experts. I would recommend starting with an abject beginner's book first, and then read this book to really clear up any confusion you may still have. While I have found nothing new in it (I haven't seen anything so far that I haven't seen before...), I do find that I'm actually UNDERSTANDING and RETAINING what I'm reading, which is new. It may be covering the same old material, but it's done well and comprehensively, and doesn't leave out little critical bits here and there (a frustrating habit of most market books) and does not presume a prior, deeper understanding on the part of your reader, and that makes all the difference. It is not enough for a writer to understand the material themselves, they must be able to teach it, and Dr. Carr does that very well, and very clearly.

And when Dr. Carr says he's going step by step, he really is. He doesn't casually mention some term or idea or indicator setting you've never heard of because you're new, in some vague, unclear manner in passing, and then move on leaving you befuddled. He actually explains things to a useful level of detail. AND he responds if you write him.

It does sometimes happen that he doesn't fully explain a term the very first time he references it. Given the scope of the subject matter and it's complex inter-references, this is quite understandable. If you don't get something, just keep going, it'll come out in the wash. This also suggests that reading this book two times through is a good idea, yellow-lining the second time.

Dr. Carr is quite explicit and unambiguous in giving credit where credit is due, not only to Dr. Elder but to the many other pioneers whose material he references. There's absolutely not the slightest hint or suggestion of his co-opting credit or attempting to "capitalize" anything from anyone else. Expressly the opposite. If Elder had actually READ the book before being such a presumptive jerk, he would have read the NUMEROUS times Dr. Carr gives him full credit, without ANY obfuscation WHATSOEVER.

This book is a work of exceptionally high value and use, and Dr. Elder's reaction was completely inappropriate, giving as it does the general impression that this work is somehow illegitimate.

Reading and understanding Dr. Elders primary early works is absolutely critical to the rank and file trader. They are too foundational to ignore. I have his books on my shelf and will continue to use them. But he's done some serious damage to his credibility in my mind with his casual, flippant denigrations. Dr. Carr, for this very clear and approachable work, deserved MUCH better, ESPECIALLY in view of the fact that anyone reading this book is strongly encouraged by Dr. Carr to read Dr. Elder's books, quite ironic given the circumstances.

I don't know Dr. Carr from Adam, but it seriously annoys me to see someone trying so hard to produce a work actually usable for beginners get shot on the tarmac by a giant in the field in what LOOKS like a needless, unjustified and ill-mannered attempt to protect his turf. Dr. Elder could EASILY have afforded to be more gracious.

This book is a keeper, no doubt about it.
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on March 5, 2008
Positives: Specific set-ups and the formulas to scan for them using
How to create a watchlist of trending momentum stocks and finding a potentially low-risk time to enter them.
It's one of the few books that discusses different methods of actually taking profits, which anyone who's tried to trade for a living knows that's far more important than entries.
A discussion of trading options in a very clear and simple manner.

Negatives: No backtesting provided to give the probabilities of success, drawdowns, etc for the set-ups provided.
It could have been better had the author spent a few pages discussing position sizing and money management of one's account instead of the last chapter about his "utopia" world of future trading.
The constant referencing of his website/newsletter gets annoying, but I guess one has the right to advertise in their own book as much as they can.

It's a good book but I can't say if it's worth the $40 since I got it for free...Obviously the biggest factor leading to the success of these set-ups is recognizing the trend and having the discipline to stick with it.
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VINE VOICEon April 7, 2008
This book is in the tradition of Alexander Elder and Nicolas Darvas, some of the authors trading inspirations.(Mine also). It is a book that shows how to trade volatile high beta stocks using the trend as a guide. It is full of technical trading systems, with no fundamentals here you can ignore news reports, economic and business forecasts, P/E ratios, and book value. What you look for is chart set ups for both long and short positions.Great examples are given and how to find them. The book reinforces the "Price is reality" school of thought where price reflects the companies prospects, if the market likes your company's prospects the price goes up, if it does not it goes down. I agree it really is that simply. The book uses four sources of input for its systems:
Price patterns.
Moving averages.(I find these highly valuable). 20 and 50 day SMA
Technical Oscillators MACD, stochastics, RSI, CCI, and OBV.
Japanese Candlesticks (My favorite charts)

The book also covers the 10 habits of highly successful traders that are crucial for success. I really got a lot out of his examples of charts and showing the bullish and bearish trends based on the 20 and 50 day moving averages. He covers option trading in three chapters and shows how to trade bullish and bearish trends along with using straddles during option season.
Price and volume-that is all you need to know to trade well. Always go with the chart.All that is needed to be hugely profitable in the trading game is to be right more often than wrong. I have traded stocks for over 5 years very successfully and would strongly recommend this book all who wish to trade for profit or live the dream of trading for a living.
He wraps the book up nicely explaining how the market can build your character by making you more patient and humble. His best advice is that the market will do what it will do, just go with the flow and befriend the trend.
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on November 30, 2008
I really like this book. For some time I've been an active trader, holding my own. I have almost every serious trading book around. This book is unusual in two respects.

First, and very important, it sets forth very specific concrete approaches to selecting stocks and timing entries and exits. Dr. Carr does not stop with generalities. He sets forth a number of specific setups with clear and complete instructions on how to use them, but he also gives the general principles underlying them. So, you know why what you're doing makes sense. Even better, the methods embody the KISS principle, avoiding the unnecessary and unproductive complexities found in many approaches.

Second, this book is surprisingly complete considering its moderate length. It productively covers and summarizes the psychological and discipline factors necessary for successful trading. It clearly describes in detail techniques to use in bull and bear markets, with separate discussion of both stocks and options. Dr. Carr gives specific online sources of free information. In short, everything you need to use his method is in the book except for the computer and internet connection.

My only criticism relates to the computer and internet requirement. Dr. Carr talks at some length about the type of computer and connection you should use. I think this is overkill since almost everyone who would read the book already has an adequate computer and internet setup. But, the information doesn't hurt, although it will probably be dated quickly.

Finally, Dr. Carr's unusual background might account for the excellent writing style. His degrees are from Oxford and Princeton, in philosophy and theology! He is a professor of religious studies. A much more interesting background than had by most investment writers. Dr. Alexander Elder, M.D., author of Trading for a Living, appears to have significantly affected Dr. Carr's approach to, and philosophy of, trading. On balance, this might not be the "last book" on trading stocks, but it definitely belongs - well read - on your shelf.
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on February 20, 2009
The book appears to be a beginners book on trend trading but I found it packed with useful information. The author starts out with the basics of chart reading and then explains how to determine bull market trends, bear market trends, and range bound tendencies. What I liked was after explaining how to read charts and identify these patterns, he gives you a quiz of 20 charts and asks you to identify each one correctly. He then goes on to explain each of the 20 charts as to how he interprets them. I like that a lot.

The author then goes on and shows you his 10 favorite trend trading setups and how to scan the stock market with programs such as TC2000 and I also like that. I got some new ideas from the book and incorporated a "choppy" filter for my program trading setup. This wasn't defined in the book but his numerous good ideas gave me some new ideas.

Overall, the book was very well written, very useful, worth the money for sure. Why didn't I give it 5 stars??? I went to the authors website and looked at the past performance. It appears that whatever system they were using was working in a bull market but not so good in the last 6 months. Therefore, I'll just take the ideas from the book and not try to create a trading system from the specific examples.
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VINE VOICEon July 16, 2010
Dr. Thomas Carr's book Trend Trading For A Living is in my honest opinion one of the most important books an amateur trader could have--by amateur I mean any person who has not created for themselves a sytem of entering and exiting trades and selecting stocks.

It has two great features that no other book really has. 1) It has a distinct method of how to find stocks and how to trade them. By the time I had developed my money management system, I was just throwing darts at boards, and trying to use CANSLIM as best as I could with options, I was obviously successful, a 30 percent gain is nothing to scoff about, but I never really learned how they found their stocks. Thomas K. Carr, God Bless Him, tells you his exact system for finding stocks. He then goes into detail into several set ups to look for in these charts.

2) He talks about Options in a clear and unique way, giving a system of his own to trade them. Now, I have stricter rules of trade, but I don't think you would go broke following his system either. Hell, you might make more than I did.

His information on option trading is worth the price of the book alone, hell, it's worth ten times the price of the book. It details money management strategies and basic facts, which, used with his other systems could make you a fortune. Is it the only book you should use for options, no! But is it a great introduction to get you started with options. Most assuredly.

This book, leads the way in basic trading guides, and can make you a fortune if you let it.
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on February 21, 2008
This book is very strong. It is full of very specific and practical ideas to make money today (or if you are a newbie like I am - tomorrow) with all the steps you will need to do it. TC is not wordy leaving this one of the clearest reads you will have on such topics as this. The book is an efficient and pointed read that does not lose the readers attention nor confuse at all.

One caveat for the newer trader, as am I, the book assumes a level of knowledge which are, to be fair, truly basics in topics such as technical indicators, candlesticks, options handling, so I coupled this book with other more introductory and definitional texts and websites to great effect. I would tell more novice folks to go for it and try this book, his suggestions are very doable and his instruction crystal clear.

Be clear, this book is practical and about making money and I am convinced it will for traders inclined to this type of system and willing to put in the work, be they new traders or old pros.

I should also note that I subscribe to TC's service and he is incredibly helpful and quick to reply to questions. It's easy to tell you are dealing with someone of integrity who values his customers and that also counts for much in my opinion.
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on December 13, 2009
This book was a pleasure to read.

The Foreword by Alan Farley is a Gem. He states: "Learn the unique traits of the market day, week, and month. These repetitive tendencies affect how prices move and how traders trade. They reveal telling quirks that produce high-probability trades. ... Develop your own trading style and don't run with the herd."

Dr. Carr has a very readable language style, the publisher's have produced an easy on the eye, and appealing printing style. The Introduction (first 25 pages) may vividly portray author's transition "From Passion to Profession", but does it provide the reader with any useful idea(s)? But for the beautiful writing style and language of Dr. Carr, I would say `Skip It'. But definitely skip the first Chapter `What you need to Get Started'. Chapter 2, `Becoming A Chart Reader' covers the `Sexy Six' indicators (SMA, MACD, Stochastics, OBV, RSI, and CCI). This can help as a review for intermediate readers (who have already read about these topics in a Beginner's Book on Trading, such as Constance Brown's `Technical Analysis Demystified' and/or Tina Logan's `Getting started in Candlestick Charting'). The section on `Hermeneutics' is highly interesting, especially since this is the topic of the author's Ph. D. thesis; but, is it useful to the average trader-reader to know "we each bring our own experiences, biases, and personal preferences to what we are reading"?

I am tempted to say, read the Foreword and then skip the first 70 pages of Dr. Carr's book unless you are a reader like myself who enjoys good writing style even if the content is not quite relevant to the topic at hand. Chapter 3 `Developing a Trader's Mind' contains gems such as `a passionate feeling for the markets, a "fire in the belly," is a real plus for the trader.' This chapter also includes 2-3 page elucidation of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is highly readable, educational and informative; but is it useful to the average trader? Has Dr. Carr written this book merely to record his own life's journey, or to present a cogent set of guidelines to help the average trader? The chapter does end with excellent sticky notes for your trading monitor: (Trade only your own picks!; Never average down!; Let winners run!; Cut losses short!; No impulse buys or sells!).

The chapter on "The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Traders" is simple, readable and useful to the average trader. Even here, Dr. Carr can't resist showing his philosophical genius "Wealth shared is true wealth indeed".

Perhaps I enjoyed Dr. Carr's book not just for the sheer joy of reading a well written book (covering trends, philosophy, psycho-analysis, religion etc.) but because his trading philosophy matches mine: `swing trading for larger moves with day trading to exploit intraday moves'.

Part II (Trend-Trading Basics) and Part III (Get Started in Trend Trading) cover the subject matter very well (Stock Screening, Watch Lists, Recognizing Trends, proper use of Indicators, etc.). The reader can easily grasp the subject matter and use it as a guide or road map for Trend Trading.

In Part IV of the book `Trend Trading with Options' Dr. Carr attempts to cover Option Basics and some strategies for trading options (with a Bullish or Bearish outlook for the underlying). In choosing to write about Options without a single Profit/Loss Profile for the options strategy Dr. Carr is taking his readers into dangerous waters without a life preserver. Before attempting to trade options using the strategies discussed in Dr. Carr's book, I strongly recommend that the reader refer to one or more of the following books on Options Trading (Guy Cohen's Options Made Easy, James Bittman's Trading Options as a Professional, Anthony Saliba's Option Spread Strategies, Dan Passarelli's Trading Option Greeks, etc.). Dr. Carr's discussion of Options strategies does not include a single Profit/Loss diagrams. Without Profit/Loss diagrams it is difficult to comprehend and evaluate option strategies and the reader may make gross errors while implementing option trading startegies. For example, while describing `Basic Option Parameters' Dr. Carr states (Page 261):
"Puts bought make money as the market goes down.
Puts sold or written make money as the market goes down or stays flat."
If the first statement is true (which is indeed the case), the second cannot be true. After all, Put Buyer and Put Seller are participating in a `Zero-Sum Game' and the Buyer's gain is the Seller's Loss and vice versa. The Profit and Loss diagrams for Long Put (Puts bought) and Short Put (Puts sold) are mirror reflections of each other.

In summary, Dr. Carr's book is written in a beautiful style, has excellent coverage for Trend Trading, and includes interesting (but extraneous) topics such as `Hermeneutics', Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which you do not expect to find in a book on Trading. I would recommend this book for readers interested in trend trading with this refrain: Do not trade options if your only exposure to options trading is reading about them in Dr. Carr's book.
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on February 25, 2008
As a professional trader over the last 15 years, I must say this is one of the best books I have read on the market in a long time. Thomas Carr did a great job!! This book is a must read for anyone who wants to trade full time. Gives clear concise trading strategies for trading the market.
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on February 16, 2008
I have read at least 50 books on trading over the last 20 years and I have found this one to be the best. Everything you need to know to trade for a living is written in clear and concise terms. It is all laid out beautifully without being overly complicated and confusing. When you have finished reading this book you will have a definite plan and course of action to guide you in your trading. I highly recommend it for all levels of traders.

John K.

Lexington SC
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