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Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom Hardcover – December 13, 2006
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About the Author
Van K. Tharp, Ph.D., is an internationally known consultant and coach to traders and investors, as well as the founder and president of the Van Tharp Institute. He is the author of multiple bestselling books on trading and investing, including Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom and Financial Freedom Through Electronic Day Trading. Tharp is a highly sought-after speaker who develops courses and seminars for large banks and trading firms around the world. He has published numerous articles and has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Barron's Market Week, and Investors Business Daily.
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The last third of the book is where it shines for novices. Most who have been around for a while will know there is market and your own psychology behind prices, various entry strategies out there, the standard stuff you nod your head at. The book's value shines through in covering stop-loss, how to take profit, and how to position size. These concepts have actual technical methods and the book covers it at a semi-approachable 12th grade reading level.
The book also shines in that it gives you some perspective about how to look at trading in general. The "snowball fight" analogy is very good, you're trying to accumulate earnings while accepting that there will be losses. However over the course of hundreds/thousands of trades, they need to average out to where you're accumulating, net.
This is why I'm writing this review. Put frankly, the writing/literature/style of this book is horrendous. It's harder to read than a college textbook, even for simple concepts. The editors did a very very poor job of editing for style, clarity in the text, and even clarity in the pictures. It's obvious this book was written in the 1990s, most examples are not relevant anymore (tens of pages on impact of transaction costs. Who still trades over the phone?), and even the pictures are not clearly labeled (you literally need a magnifying glass to see the numbers on chart scales that the author constantly references). I've wanted to throw away the book about every 5 pages because I have to re-read sections multiple times just to make sure a pronoun the author uses is what I think it means. This is simply unacceptable. I'm constantly thinking: there must be another book on amazon that covers similar topics, but written differently. All suggestions are welcome!
The last con is that some of the most important topics (stop loss, exits, position sizing) don't go into much detail. The author does a good job citing previous research and his primary sources, but I feel 1/4 of the book has irrevelant fluff that could be replaced with deeper depth about the important stuff.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF IT:
The author at the very end suggests readers read the book 4-5 times so the concepts become second nature. I agree 100% with this, because the concepts go against your natural inclination. However because of the crap writing, the average Joe trader needs to read it an extra 3-5 times just to make sure he understood what he was reading.
Read this book with investopedia at your side, and you will change the way you look at "trading". Investing? Less helpful. More than 1 trade per month? Definitely buy and read 10x in the next year, it will change your life.
I found the ideas in the book generally good, but the book is poorly written in my opinion and at times not easy to read. The organization, grammar, etc. is fine, but the examples are not always clear. The charts often have axis data that is unreadable (even with a magnifying glass) so it's hard to tell what the text is describing, and many of the examples seem to either pull some information out of the air, or assume some general knowledge that isn't presented. I am an engineer, so I understand the math with no problem. It was disappointing that there are virtually no formulas; it was like a constant word problem described in text--sometimes with a missing (maybe assumed?) piece of needed information which I found to be very confusing and frustrating to figure out what the author is describing. I got the general ideas though, but it was definitely not what I would consider an easy read. The content seems to be directed somewhere between a beginner and advanced investor, but probably not particularly useful for either one alone. If you have a good general understanding of investing and want additional exposure to risk management and short-term trading concepts and risk management, then this is probably a good resource for you if you're willing to spend the time and effort to plod through the book.
However, if you are very new to investing or trading this probably is not a good book for you. If you have at least some of the basics and want to expand your knowledge, it will expose you a lot of things to consider and do further research on.
Yes, the title may be a little bit misleading but you can find extremely valuable information overlooked by 99% of the trading literature.
With this you lay the foundations of your trading business. These principles are mandatory for everyone. You can't skip studying and applying all of them.
Tharp explains everything very clearly and very well. He goes from psychology, to the right meaning of setups, to the overlooked importance of exits, to the importance of position sizing and much more.
Definitely buy this book.