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One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Competitive World of Proprietary Trading Hardcover – August 2, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Proprietary trading firms do somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of all the equity volume in the U.S. markets on any given day. But unlike most firms on the Street, proprietary firms have no clients. They do not take other people's money and speculate it on their behalf. Proprietary trading (or 'prop trading' for short) is done for the benefit of the company's partners and employees only: the firm is the client. Their profits are generated solely from the bets they make on their traders. If they are wrong, they lose their own money. When they are right, they keep a percentage of their winnings. The world of prop trading is mentally and emotionally exhausting, but the rewards can be substantial, if you understand how to identify good trades, take profits at the right time, and limit losses.

In One Good Trade, Mike Bellafiore reveals the inner workings of the proprietary trading firm he cofounded, detailing the challenges of prop trading and explaining why traders succeed or fail. In the process, he shows how you can use the skills and strategies developed at his firm to improve your own trading success.

The author takes you inside the world of prop trading to show how the professionals trade successfully, sharing all the important market lessons he has learned over the course of his career while introducing a fascinating cast of characters, some of whom have succeeded, and too many who have failed. He offers a range of straightforward trading strategies, such as breakouts from congestion, trading off support and resistance, and identifying consolidation setups. Perhaps more importantly, he explains the importance of other, often overlooked skills critical to successful trading: developing consistency in monitoring markets and uncovering trading opportunities, discipline in executing trades, making rational risk/reward bets, and managing trading capital. He reveals those skills through illustrative stories of the growth of his trading firm and the ups and downs of traders he has trained.

Becoming a better trader requires discipline, a thick playbook of trading setups , and well-rounded trading skills, and One Good Trade will show you how to develop all three.

From the Back Cover

Praise for One Good Trade

"Bellafiore is a committed and dedicated trader and teacher of the profession. His book shows the same attention to detail and the finer points of making a career in trading."
Howard Lindzon, cofounder and CEO, StockTwits

"A terrific book for traders who desire to gain a complete understanding of the inner workings of proprietary trading and what it takes to become a consistently successful trader."
Charles E. Kirk, The Kirk Report

"If you've ever desired to journey into the professional world of a leading proprietary trading firm—how they organize their strategies, train new traders, select stocks in play, and even fight the mental game of trading, then One Good Trade is certainly the book for you."
Corey Rosenbloom, CMT, President, Afraid to Trade

"One Good Trade is the only book I know that truly takes readers inside the proprietary trading world and explains what it takes to achieve career-long success."
Brett N. Steenbarger, PhD, author, TradeFeed blog and The Daily Trading Coach

"With One Good Trade, Mike Bellafiore gives you a front-row seat to see what it takes to become a successful trader in today's volatile markets. The stories and examples of how some traders achieve incredible wealth and how others crash and burn are great lessons for any aspiring trader."
Tim Bourquin, cofounder, www.TraderInterviews.com

"One Good Trade provides an insider view to the world of proprietary trading. If you are new to trading, you will learn that successful trading requires a lot of hard work, resiliency, discipline, continuous introspection, and a courageousness to challenge yourself and adapt."
Jason Gardner, Managing Director, Head of Trading, Kershner Trading Group

"Exceptional care coupled with a standard of excellence and attention to detail is the mantra that is at the foundation of SMB. Mike and Steve have created a unique and insightful angle to the development of new traders."
Nadav Sapeika, Chief Operating Officer, T3 Live, LLC / T3 Capital Management, LLC

"This book is a must-read for all developing traders and those who are interested in a good read about the behind-the-scenes goings on of a successful trading business."
Brian Shannon, author of Technical Analysis Using Multiple Timeframes


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470529407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470529409
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As several other reviewers have indicated, this is "not just another book on technical analysis." While that's completely fine -- there are lots of other good books out there if you want a book on any individual topic, like technical analysis or trader psychology, and I've read dozens of them -- I think this book swings too far in the opposite direction. The book fails to give any but the barest details about how an individual might go about applying the principles and methodologies that have supposedly worked so well for the author's firm. We hear over and over again about trading "stocks in play." What does that even mean? All we are told is that stocks in play are those for which there have been recent news releases, and have "good order flow" and "enough volume." Perhaps I'm part of a dumb minority for whom the meaning of these vague terms isn't completely obvious. However, my claim is that the author simply doesn't elaborate on any of his claims in enough depth to make them useful for the unwashed masses who don't already work in a prop trading firm. He has an entire chapter dedicated to describing what kind of people get hired at firms like his, and yet he somehow manages not to say anything more substantive than "firms look for people who are a good fit for their culture." Wow, what a revelation. Bottom line: I'm not looking for someone to hold my hand through every minute detail of the trading process, but I find it ridiculous that a ~$40 book with great reviews on Amazon would do nothing more than make broad generalizations about how to achieve consistent profitability.Read more ›
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By Omnitrader on January 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Be prepared it is long, I would never write a review this long or one in general really, but I felt compelled to do this. Actually I think it was my duty to direct readers away from this book.

I have never read such dross in my life. Self-glorification, narcissism, fluff, delusional ideals, and unethical statements can describe this book. It is so unbelievably awful, the fact that this book is popular can only be explained in two ways, the readers are naïve or have no education about finance and markets (which is ok, everyone starts somewhere) and/or looking to get rich quick. Let's dissect the book to some lines I picked out that I was flabbergasted about.

Check out page 18. The author and his partner rip apart a recent college grad and it's now published in his book, not only that he mentions how they will make so much money off the kid. Wow are you kidding? You paint a nice façade Bella.

Page 41. The author says traders shouldn't work hard. Hah that is great, your right why bother trying to develop yourself and further your learning? And your athlete metaphor doesn't work because and athlete won't play w/o a multi-million contract

Page 49. The author decided to spare the reader the specifics of what is relevant information when it comes to day trading stock. Explain to me again, why are you writing a book?

Page 143. The author says he can "sense by the PENNY where a stock should be trading 98% of the trading day." No he cannot, this is just asinine, if you are rational and have a brain than you shouldn't spend more than 6 seconds analyzing that quote.

Page 148. Finally 148 pages in the first intelligent character emerged, CDT. This woman apparently was very smart, hence why she left after one month or two.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Naturally, after buying the book, I check out the SMB website and they are selling their training for $6000. For a mere $280 or so a month, you can watch them trade every day.
There is some good advice in this book but too many of the macho claims are off the charts. One trader has supposedly made a profit every single day for the past 2 years..and he is not their best trader. How about expanding a bit on how this was accomplished? Some detailed examples of actual trades?
In the beginning of the book we are lectured on trading "stocks in play", one or two every day that are active and volatile. Ok.
Near the end of the book, we learn about another SMB trader who can carry 30 positions at one time. Apparently, they change styles as the market changes. Sounds easy. Anything specific we should be looking for? If I don't know which style I am trading at the moment, what good is this book to me? Guess I have to subscribe to the website.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't often write reviews, but I really liked this book. I read this book in two days. I first heard about Mike Bellafiore through Dr Brett Steenbarger's blog, "Traderfeed".

The title, "One Good Trade" refers to a process as taught by SMB Capital, a proprietary trading firm which Mr Bellafiore owns with a partner. The process entails following the seven fundamentals taught by SMB through the entry and exit of a trade and then going on to the next trade and following those fundamentals again and repeating this process for the rest of your trading life. The seven fundamentals are detailed in the book. Mr Bellafiore's emphasis is on this process. He states that making and losing money on any specific trade is not the focus, but following this process IS the focus and making one good trade after another by following these fundamentals is the essence of good trading. You can lose money on a trade, but if you follow these fundamentals and this process, your profit and loss statement will ultimately take care of itself. He compares this to sports teams and the way they practice the fundamentals over and over and then execute those fundamentals in the game. There are plenty of sports analogies here with the implication that an elite trader must go through the same kind of rigorous and disciplined training that successful athletes go through. Having played sports in high school and college and now trading full-time, I have to agree. The book begins with the explanation of this process and the principles of this process are felt throughout the book. Mr Bellafiore is not here to teach some new technical analysis technique, thank God. He basically states that his firm already knows those techniques.
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