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Trading Realities: The Truth, the Lies, and the Hype In-Between Hardcover – October 24, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“Jeff Augen is truly a unique voice and mind in today’s financial discourse. He has a knack for translating intricate economic and market interrelationships into easy-to-understand ideas and has a way of seeing patterns and cause-effect relationships across markets. For those who listen, there is much to learn and much from which to profit. Ultimately, he gives individuals a fighting chance to participate in the markets to their advantage.”

--H eather L arson -B lakestad , Executive Editor, Stocks, Futures, and Options Magazine

 

“Jeff is a true scientist who has turned his formidable skills to the markets. His systematic research and open mind have led to a series of insights that are stunningly original and an investment philosophy based on facts, with no time wasted on mere conventional wisdom. Following Jeff’s thinking can help any investor avoid many costly blind alleys and develop a strategy based on how markets actually work.”

--R obert B irnbaum , former hedge fund president

 

“Jeff Augen reveals the ‘ugly truth’ that everyone investing in the markets needs to hear and also applies the lessons to the real world of trading. He attacks popular myths, notably about whose fault it is when investment decisions lead to losses and who gets credit for being a wise investor. The tie-in between investment/trading strategic thinking and well-explained economic reality is refreshing and extremely valuable.”

--M ichael T homsett , author of Put Option Strategies for Smarter Trading and The Options Trading Body of Knowledge

 

Today’s financial markets are complex and dangerous. The value of individual investments is now more strongly influenced by world economic and geopolitical events than by the underlying fundamentals of the company being invested in. Layered on this intricate web of forces is the impact of high-frequency computer trading programs that enter and exit trades in a fraction of a second and drive 60% or more of the market volume on any given day. Trading Realities provides investors with new skills and approaches to succeed in this environment. Without this enhanced knowledge, investing is no more than gambling.

 

Writing for beginning and experienced investors alike, successful trader and author Jeff Augen focuses on the powerful forces that really move markets: the dynamics that are fundamental to your success, no matter which strategies or asset classes you choose. He provides new approaches to identifying market trends, exploiting global economic forces, trading the news, valuing risk, and dissecting economic reports released by the government.

 

You’ll learn how to gain a clear advantage: an advantage you can sustain through any market environment.

 

  • Invest with the markets, not against them
    Leverage the “mega” forces that drive all markets, in all market environments
  • Why markets always move in the direction that damages the most investors
    ...
    how to recognize that direction and move with it
  • Why even experienced investors overrate their knowledge and skill
    What you really need to know before you make an investment
  • How to clarify and compare the real risks of potential investments
    Getting past the myths of risk and leverage and understanding the realities

About the Author

Je ff Augen, currently a private investor and writer, has spent more than a decade building a unique intellectual property portfolio of databases, algorithms, and associated software for technical analysis of derivatives prices. His work, which includes more than a million lines of computer code, is particularly focused on the identification of subtle anomalies and price distortions.

 

Augen has a 25-year history in information technology. As cofounding executive of IBM’s Life Sciences Computing business, he defined a growth strategy that resulted in $1.2 billion of new revenue and managed a large portfolio of venture capital investments. From 2002 to 2005, Augen was President and CEO of TurboWorx Inc., a technical computing software company founded by the chairman of the Department of Computer Science at Yale University. His books include Day Trading Options, Trading Options at Expiration, The Option Trader’s Workbook, and The Volatility Edge in Options Trading. He currently teaches option trading classes at the New York Institute of Finance and writes a weekly column for Stocks, Futures and Options magazine.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (October 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137070098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137070091
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Zimmerman on November 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of Mr. Augen's, having read 3 of his previous books--two or three times each! So I was very eager to get this one and I read it the first day. Like his other books, the pages are small and the total word count is far below average (except for those "little" books). Small books are not necessarily bad; his others are gems. But it's very clear this time that he struggles to write just enough fluff words that the publisher would consider it marketable--without giving away much information or tradeable techniques. He spends pages looking at the peaks and valleys of US Steel relative to news events that obviously caused the turns on the chart. But he writes it almost as if he's saying he traded every one of those turns just right, and then his main point after all that is "pay attention to the news". Duh! In hindsight we can all be geniuses. There is NO method or real insight there. At the very end of the book he finally gets to some strategies. Hmm, have you ever heard of covered calls? Here's yet another few pages explaining how it works. For all his knowledge and expertise about options, he discloses almost nothing. There is nothing about how to find options where you can exploit the volatility smile. Nothing about how he builds his trading platform or researches market data. This book doesn't even come close to the title of "Trading Realities". I hoped it would discuss how little guys can survive in view of the realities of the powerful HFT systems that are dominating market volume--but nothing is disclosed on this critical subject.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mr. Augen's book is not a primer for beginners nor a comprehensive "how to" guide to the more experienced trader. It is a series of observations and ideas based on his considerable experience in the industry which will yield perspective and assistance to studious amateur traders. He cautions against over-reliance on traditional technical analysis, suggesting the trader needs to pay close attention to external events which drive the market and the growing dominance of lightning-fast computer-driven trading. His studies which distinguish between seemingly random stock charts and truly random number series is fascinating. The book has excellent comparison studies of alternative trading strategies, such as long stock vs. long call vs. short in the money puts. Different readers will take away different valuable messages. While traders need to have sensible rules and follow them, the book seems to remind us that there are really no golden rules or infallible guidelines (the bedrock "trading reality"?), and consisently successful traders need to maintain a broad perspective and think critically about all the factors which influence markets. Consistent with this admonition, "Trading Realities" is more attuned to provoking the reader to think than telling the reader what to believe.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Unfortunately, this isn't one I'm putting on my recommended list.

I'm not entirely sure what the point of this book was. I think it was to present option trading as a better path for trading the stock market than actually trading the stocks themselves, but I can't be positive. The author does do a pretty good job of laying out some option strategies that could be used along with or in place of holding stocks, and I definitely agree that for many people they present a better path (I for one have been trading options rather than stocks for quite a few years). That's just one chapter out of seven, though.

Focus aside, I have a few major issues with the book.

First, there are things he says in the book which are flat out incorrect. One of them is very early on and very obvious for anyone familiar with the currency market. He suggests that during the major dollar weakness a few years ago the Yen reached a value of $1.15. The fact of the matter is that the Yen has never been worth more than about $0.0125 - that one and a quarter cents. This isn't a horrible error, as it doesn't alter the context of what he's saying at that point in the text, but it does trigger a credibility warning flag.

A much bigger error, especially coming from someone claiming expertise in options, comes when he talks about price change distributions - an important element in volatility measurement and option pricing. He makes the statement "These values fit a bell-shaped curve where the peak represents a small number of unusually large price changes." This is totally incorrect. The peak of a bell curve represents a very high frequency of small price changes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really have enjoyed this book. Read it several times. Augen first principal, "This book is designed to help investors understand the economic and political forces that drive financial markets and to invest alongside those forces instead of against them."

In 248 pages he gives the reader an itinerary of things to watch, become aware and understand before you think your opinion of the markets is correct.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I picked up this book because I'm a fan of the author's other writing but was disappointed with this effort.

Most of the content in this book is fairly common sense...the main point throughout the book is that the news affects stock prices. Its hard for me to believe that we need a 272 page book to tell us that.

There's some good stuff in this book but most felt like filler.
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