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Customer Review

239 of 242 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the wisest buy for earning income with options, rookie or otherwise, May 25, 2008
This review is from: The Rookie's Guide to Options: The Beginner's Handbook of Trading Equity Options (Hardcover)
Options are a complicated investment instrument, but if properly understood and implemented, they are far less risky than owning stock or mutual funds. And as a bonus, they are most often more profitable. Trading options, one can choose to be a risky gambler (not recommended) or a conservative income generator.

The trick is understanding options and understanding risk management. If you trade options WITHOUT understanding them, and WITHOUT any risk management implementation, then by default you are a risky gambler. You will be out of money before you know what hit you.

The option world has its own lingo. And there are myriad strategies to sift through before determining which one(s) suit your risk/reward desires. Placing the actual trade orders with your broker requires a thorough understanding and fluency of the lingo, as well as a confident understanding of the strategy you've chosen.

The good news is that this book will actually TEACH you what you need to know to be a conservative income generator with options. I can assure you it is the ONLY book that TEACHES this. I own all the major books on options that have been released in the last five years and this one is by far the best and most practical. And long overdue.

To me, in order for an author to teach options trading, he or she must provide the real world philosophy behind a strategy, real world examples, real world gotchas, real world "how", and most importantly, real world "why". Of all the books I own, this one provides the total package. The others do a good job of perhaps the philosophy and the how, but totally lack the rest. In short, no book until this one teaches the complete knowledge one requires to be successful at option trading for income.

I am a rookie in that I had not actually traded options until studying this book. I am NOT a rookie when it comes to attempting to learn how to trade options. The other books did not leave me confident in my abilities to consistently earn income with options. Thus I didn't make any trades. This book gave me the confidence to start trading AND EARNING INCOME. That point alone truly sums up the value of this book compared to all other books on the shelves. The other books are simply lacking in regard to earning income with options. They are good resources for information but not for implementation.

The author's approach is conservative. You will learn how to manage risk and see that options ARE a good, safe investment instrument if used with conservative strategies and prudent risk management techniques. You'll also learn, perhaps by constructing a spreadsheet on your own (strongly encouraged by me), just how much potential income you can earn. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

However, a strong warning here: You MUST understand and comprehend what you are reading. You can't skim this book and expect to do well. In fact, you'll fail if you skim ANY book on options. Most likely, you'll fail big time after a lucky string because you THOUGHT you understood. If you can't commit to learning, and I mean intensely learning and understanding this book, then please steer clear of options. There are no free rides. You must invest brain power to do well. Recognize that most people do not WANT to invest the brain power required. It's hard. It's intense. It's confounding. It's WORTH THE EFFORT. Eventually it clicks. Decide if you do want to commit, and if so, buy this book. It's the only one you will need to conservatively earn a steady income trading options. If you do invest the brain power, you will be proud of yourself and you'll do well financially with your new knowledge.

I want to add that the author is an experienced floor trader, and a gracious man who has replied to all questions I've asked of him via email. If you are inclined to purchase $2000+ in software and another $2000-5000+ in so called "training" or "education", please save your money and seed your options trading account with it instead. But before making ANY trades, nail down what this book teaches. It is all you need.

FYI, my own trading focuses solely on Credit Spreads (which have their own chapter in the book) and utilizing the author's philosophy on risk management. But I had to understand the ENTIRE book prior to making that decision. You would be wise to do the same before deciding your own direction.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 21, 2008 9:05:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2008 9:09:40 AM PST
This is the kind of review I was looking for, and the kind that's needed, when one is trying to pick a book on a subject about which everyone seems to have an opinion, but few have hard facts. There are lots of books on options out there which suggest by their title that they're for beginners or novices. The problem is that when you start reading them, the author starts using terms he or she hasn't defined, and concepts which he or she assumes the reader is already familiar with. And too, there are many books which give you a good academic understanding of options, but really don't prepare you to look at an option chain, evaluate the data, and make a trading decision. I'm looking for a book that does all this, and I know that's a tall order. But if this book is all that the reviewer says it is, then I'm already sold on it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2009 11:37:54 AM PDT
H. B. Nigh says:
Amen to that! No negativity or positivity here; just the blunt honest opinion from the reviewer. An opinion that is not swayed by offense or joy. I would have liked to know exactly HOW successful the reviewer was by using this book but that's their business and I could understand a desire to keep that private. Bravo to the reviewer! You have convinced me.

Posted on Apr 22, 2010 7:51:35 PM PDT

Fantastic review. I agree with you about the author as it relates to replying to your questions. I live about 10 miles from Mark and although I've never met him, he has responded to several questions I posed to him via email. I bought his "Short Book" but he suggested "Rookies Guide"...........I can't wait to take the time to really learn this. I love just about anything that involves Finance as my background and experience is in Leverage Buyouts. Not tomention, I am much more interested in Options than buying Mutual funds or Stocks picking.

Great job Donald.

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 7:22:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2011 7:27:20 AM PDT
Krystof says:
Excellent review.

""In fact, you'll fail if you skim ANY book on options.""

You got that right. However, I'd just like to clarify... in my experience, you might also fail if you try to read-through first, instead of just skimming first...

The reason I am fired-up on options is because I just happened to buy Put Options by Jeffrey Cohen. This book is very simply written and focuses entirely on put options as an alternative to buying stocks for the conservative investor. With such a limited focus, there could not be a more simple book about options... And I am well above-average in mathematics... And yet... for my first reading, I feel it best to "take his word" for what he is saying, without trying to understand it! If you know what I mean.

I.e., "Alright, I get the drift, options can do such-and-such..." Then without understanding how this works, I go on to the next chapter... For me, a first-skimming seems to be the only way to begin to understand the book. Later of course, I "must" study each paragraph one-by-one, if I am actually to "do" options.

If, on the other hand, I first attempted to understand fully the equations of each paragraph--with no clear picture where this is heading--that would be rather agonizing. And so I would say...

"You fail if you ONLY skim ANY book about options.... Skimming is perhaps a good first step. However be prepared to read very carefully a second time. And then once more."

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2011 6:30:14 PM PDT
Robert says:
this is also my method. Great follow up review.

Posted on Oct 15, 2011 10:25:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2011 9:03:55 PM PDT
John says:
"...they are far less risky than owning stock or mutual funds. And as a bonus, they are most often more profitable." <-- Sorry to be a wet blanket, but anyone naive enough to believe that is setting himself up to lose money. Potential return is proportional to risk. If the converse were true everyone would be doing it and there wouldn't be any "juice" left. As the reviewer (contradictorily) says later, "There are no free rides."

I successully traded options before, but not enough to quit my job. I am getting back into it and am buying this book first. Skepticism is an appropriate attitude when evaluating risk, and it's the attitude I will be reading these books with.

Posted on May 2, 2014 1:38:35 PM PDT
marty says:
Does the author go over the Greeks? They are basic to understanding option trading.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2014 3:52:14 PM PDT
John says:
Of course he covers the Greeks. That's chapter 15.
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