The PlayBook: An Inside Look at How to Think Like a Professional Trader Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0132937641
ISBN-10: 0132937646
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eBook features:
  • Highlight, take notes, and search in the book
  • Length: 448 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Page Flip: Enabled
  • Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Digital List Price: $59.99

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Written by one of the world's best trading coaches, The PlayBook teaches traders who do not trade U.S. equities how a pro does. At the largest prop firm in South Africa, Mike coached our guys to add U.S. equities to their trading quiver. This memorable experience is archived in humorous, engaging, and educational detail to help you build your own playbook.”

—Garreth Montano and Kevin Thomas, Managing Partners, African Gateway and Storm Securities


"The PlayBook teaches traders how to build a personal methodology and how to be scalable. It demonstrates the necessity for traders to embrace technology and become more bionic, so they improve their P&L. The PlayBook offers a peek into the future of trading and who will be successful. This is an important book.”

—Andy Kershner, CEO of Kershner Trading Group


“Having worked with SMB traders, I love how this book shares the real psychological struggles pro traders face, even the best ones, and explains the importance of continually working on yourself to become a Consistently Profitable Trader.”

—Andrew Menaker, Ph.D, Trading Psychologist


“Fascinating! Bellafiore has put together his experience in trading and the importance of doing one’s homework in this book in a manner that is easy for anyone to understand. The real-life examples, particularly citing Singapore, prove that the methods and strategies shared aren’t theoretical but proven facts that even Asian traders can apply. This book is recommended for those who aim to improve their trading habits.”

—Lee Chang Wen, Head of Phillip CFD, Phillip Securities Pte Ltd. (A member of PhillipCapital).


“Mike is one of the most generous sharers to the StockTwits trading community in real-time with his trading thoughts and blogging. The PlayBook is another wonderful contribution from SMB Capital and its co-founder to the trading community.”

—Howard Lindzon, CEO of StockTwits


Want to become a truly great trader–either for yourself or for a prop-trading firm? The PlayBook will help you get there. Based on one of the world’s most successful trader training programs, it’s the closest thing to signing up for a “trader boot camp” yourself!


You’ll learn by watching traders walk through their actual trades, explain what they’ve tried to do, and try to survive tough expert critiques. Trade by trade, you’ll discover how professional traders must think to succeed “under fire,” how they assess their performance, and how they work to improve.


Using concrete setups drawn from his extensive trading and training experience, Mike Bellafiore walks through a wide array of trades, showing you how to maximize profits and avoid hidden pitfalls. As you learn crucial trading skills, you’ll also gain indispensable insights into market psychology and trader development. Packed with color, personality, and realism, this is today’s most exciting and profitable guide to real-world trading!


Mike Bellafiore and SMB Capital will help you…

  • Build a trading PlayBook that builds from your strengths.
  • Trade bigger, with their proprietary trading risk system.
  • Develop a methodology to make trading decisions.
  • Understand what it takes to be a pro trader by meeting many successful pros from SMB Capital.
  • Avoid “intern-level” mistakes their pro traders have made in real-time.
  • See the “Future of Trading” and what you need to do to succeed.
  • Remember to be grateful for your opportunity to trade and invest!

About the Author

Mike Bellafiore is the co-founder of SMB Capital, a proprietary trading firm in New York City; SMBU, their education arm; and SMB Systems Trading, their algorithmic trading division. He is the author of “the trading classic” One Good Trade. His firm has regularly appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN Money, Fox Business, the BBC, and in the Wall Street Journal and the SMB’s trader training program was highlighted on the TV documentary Wall Street Warriors. An international lecturer, Mr. Bellafiore has built trader training programs globally for hedge funds, prop trading desks, and retail traders, working with some of the world’s largest traders. He lives on the Upper West Side, with his wife and newborn son.

Product Details

  • File Size: 32911 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (July 12, 2013)
  • Publication Date: July 12, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,527 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really do not understand who this book is supposed to be marketed to. It does not contain any information that would be useful for a novice or an advanced trader. I mean nothing at all. . . . The trading strategies that are discussed (almost entirely technical analysis based) are not really discussed thoroughly. I mean they are touched upon but in a very very shallow way. For the novice this info is useless since it provides no theoretical backdrop explaining why anything detailed in the book would actually work. On a practical level the descriptions (don't let the abundance of charts fool you) are too vague to be of any practical use. You will not finish this book feeling like you have a better understanding of what goes on at a trading firm. One of the chapters is titled "Blue Collar Trader" and it tells you that you need to roll up your sleeves and absorb the strategies of other traders when coming up with your own game plan. Ok, but that is obvious. Sadly, the entire book is like this. It's fluff to the extreme. I can't stress that enough. Another reviewer described the book as one big giant advertisement and that is exactly what it reads like. I just remember reaching page 280 at one point and thinking to myself "what the hell have I been reading? What am I supposed to be getting out of this?" I know that might seem hard to believe because the book is over 400 pages but it is! Finally, the book is expensive. A lot of trading and investing books published by Wiley or FT press are expensive and it can be difficult to determine beforehand whether they contain useful information. This one definitely does not. I really mean it when I say that this book is a waste of money. Look elsewhere.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The whole book reads like a motivational speaker trying to sell you a product. In this case, it almost seems as if he is trying to get the reader to invest in his firm, since he keeps talking about himself. He shares almost no concrete information, rather explaining that "if you read a little more, you'll find out how to become a great trader." But in the end, it's all marketing-hype and no information. There is no "playbook." The playbook is the one you make yourself with your own trading rules by putting in time & effort. The author presents several long-winded scenarios of his firm's lucky trades, but everything is based on some random technical analysis (which this book doesn't even explain). He just tells his traders to keep looking at charts - the author's role is more of a "middle-manager/slave-driver." He explains how he makes his traders work many hours in a day, staring at charts, and that if you want to be a good trader then you've got to do the same. It's a lot of fluff, no substance. What a waste of time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I feel a bit bad writing a negative review of this book, because it is entertaining at times, but I continually found myself asking, "why am I reading this book?". It lacks substance, even with the driving concept of the book. There are perhaps three main points that the author makes: 1) document your trades in order to find what works, 2) do more of what works with greater size, and 3) hard work is the key to success/you have to work hard to be successful. Yes, it is that high level. The ironic thing is that the author doesn't even get into describing in detail what a Playbook (document of trades) should incorporate, other than to say it should be unique to each trader. The author will show screen shots of his firm's traders' Playbook enteries, but he dosn't describe the specifics, other than to note that if the reader doesn't understand the terminology, he shouldn't be concerned.

1) The author has an engaging writing style, and has a "feel good" message that most people can become profitable traders so long as their work ethic is strong. (...maybe this is the reason for all the 5 star reviews?? I can't think of any other reason why, aside from having his traders review the book)
2) It shows the inside conversations that take place at a prop desk, which further makes the world of being an elite trader seem accessible. ( an aside, I fully expect the author's firm will be flooded with resumes as a result of this book)

1) The book is foremost a recruiting tool for the author's firm, SMB Capital. Example after example are given about the firm's culture, work expectations, why traders fail, etc.
2) The book lacks substantive definitions of key terminology and the trade strategies that his firm's traders make.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to this book for quite a while.
There is some good info contained within, however I thought there would be more focus on trading ideas.

As the book progressed, there was more and more self promotion of the previous book and all the products/services SMB offers which lessens the quality of any book.

Overall not a bad book, perhaps the main point is that you have to work hard.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains very little about trading and investing. The book is written only for day-traders, and even then it's mostly a promotion of the authors firm and anecdotes of the firms top traders.

Each chapter is a biography of a trader at the authors firm. Full of useless stories, boring, and long-winded, you learn about the trader's favorite movies, workout routines, girls they've dated, and other assorted anecdotes. You'll read about a trader who dates two girls and has to choose which one of them to make his girlfriend. You'll learn about a trader who shows up late for work because his roommate took too long in the bathroom. You'll hear the story of some nerdy trader who finally made enough money to get lucky with a girl, and he shows up the next morning wearing the same clothes. The girl was "a nice girl from Manhattan" btw, (I don't think I could have lived without that detail). There are sections where the author discusses trades that the firm has made, but for a $50 book, they are few and far between.
For example, Elder's "The New Trading for a Living" is a vastly superior book, and it's the same price.

The author writes an entire chapter of obnoxious stories about some rich kid named "Prep". The author drools over that fact that Prep went to Choate, a non-merit based achievement for those who possessed the minimal intelligence necessary to get good grades in middle school and were lucky enough to have parents who were well known and wealthy enough to pay the tuition. But gets better, Prep came from "a town in New Jersey where all the Dads work on Wall Street", ok, that's not merit based either. Prep also "just missed the Ivy League." Pretentious.
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