Review of Trading for a Living: Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management by Alexander Elder

51DG4omF0+LIf you are ever going to be a successful currency trader, you must understand and embrace the fact that when trading in money, you need to have a long-term plan and you must have a principle to lead you both in life and in business.  Alexander Elder explains in his book ‘ Trading for a Living : Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management’ that a successful trade must be based on the 3Ms: Mind, Method and Money and only trading in currencies for a living will ever get to you master all 3.

This book is one of the most recommended to young and upcoming forex traders because it is written to help a trader think outside the box and because Alexander says trading is 90 percent an inner game and only 10 percent actual trading, success naturally comes when you build a good strong personal character and establish integrity in all you do.

This is undoubtedly one of the best and most comprehensive forex trading books you will ever read, and Alexander Elder, an MD and a professional forex trader, a teacher of forex trading and author of a series of best sellers did a wonderful job writing this easy to read and understand book.  Most tutors, educators, mentors and successful forex traders consider Alexander among the modern classics of the forex trade.

His life story is full of fun, adventure, risks and suffering but it sure is one of a kind.  He was born in Leningrad, grew up in Estonia, joined medical school at 16 but jumped a Soviet ship when he was working as a ship’s doctor in Africa and sought asylum in the US.  He is currently living in New York.  His biography lists some of his best achievements in life to include his experience as he worked as a psychiatrist and how he got the unique insight to unravel the psychology of trading, being the originator of the ‘traders’ Camp’ weekly series of classes for aspiring forex traders and being the founder of The Spike Group where members share the best stock picks for prizes.

Dr. Elder is among the most sought after public speakers in the US and internationally, so if you can pick his brain by reading one of the best books he wrote, I guarantee that you will learn something that will alter the course of your life.  Some of the how to areas that it covers include:

  • pic_elderBecoming a cool, collected and calm forex trader.
  • Profiting from the reading behaviors of the market crowd.
  • How you can use a computer to find the best trades.
  • Secrets to developing a winning trading system.
  • Looking for, finding and executing trades with the best chances of success.
  • Understanding and identifying the entry and exit points, setting stops and taking profits from trades.
  • Why there are more buyers than sellers, why buyers are more aggressive and why sellers shy away from demanding premium.

Some reviewers say that the book ‘Trading for a Living: Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management’ is an amazing book, but it dwells too much on trading indicators and several other external factors.  If this is true, here is another reason to be the best at using indicators and understanding the factors Dr. Elder has in the book.

Review of The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller & Dave Jenks

0071446370.01.LZZZZZZZ[1]On the back cover of the book ‘The Millionaire Real Estate Investor’ is a proud quote by Mike Summey, the co-author of the bestselling real estate investment book titled ‘The Weekend Millionaire’s Secrets to Investing in Real Estate’ and it reads: “This book is not just a bargain, it’s a steal. It’s filled with practical, workable advice for anyone wanting to build wealth.”  I couldn’t agree more.  The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is a book written by a self-made millionaire with over 25 years of experience in making money in the current real estate market and is the founder and owner of Keller Williams Realty International, the 5th largest and among the fastest growing real estate franchise in North America.  Besides this book, Gary has also written another bestselling book ‘The Millionaire Real Estate Agent’.

This book is perfect for those seeking financial wealth but have a genuine interest in learning the fundamental truths about the real estate niche and the models that make it what it is.  ‘The Millionaire Real Estate Investor’ can be described as a collection of the wisdom and experience from investors in almost every walk of life, dating back to over 25 years, and their stories and lives while they chased their dreams of financial success.  This is a life-changing book that focuses on how you can build wealth in the easiest and fastest legal ways possible.

The author of this book is a no nonsense, easy-going and straightforward mentor or teacher, whichever you prefer, and the proven strategies and methods illustrated in the book are easy to understand and to apply in a real-life situation.  This handbook however demands that you exercise patience and perseverance if you are going to make a mark in the real estate market but it helps you by guiding you to:

  • Know the myths about investing and money that often hold other investors back and how to adopt a millionaire investor mindset to be one.
  • How to come up with a winning ‘dream team’ to help you build your real estate empire because you cannot do it alone.
  • The_Millionaire_Real_Estate_Investor_cover_ls_1_4Zeroing in on the key values of properties and their owners and how to use these factors to tilt the transaction in your favor and get the best possible real estate deals.
  • Know to quickly and mentally assess an investment opportunity and use the proven strategies and methods to make a killing off them.
  • Learn to come up with your own investment strategy, build your network, track your net worth, understand your finances and generate leads and convert them into assets.

Although some reviewers say that this book is too focused on the reward aspect of investment, most agree that it is one of the most famous real estate books of our times.  I must agree that Gary offered less actionable advice in this book, especially as he did in ‘The Millionaire Real Estate Agent’ but I like it because he focuses on the motivation and theory elements that are the driving force behind the real estate boom.

Review of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham

the-essays-of-warren-buffet_600x450Warren Buffet is a straight up old-school ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of businessman.  Even when he writes to his shareholders, unlike most corporate bigwigs who use big words in a few sentence of a newsletter, Warren writes about the numbers in the annual report as well as about himself, what he thinks and what he expects.  In this book, which is an amalgamation of the best of his writings by Lawrence Cunningham, you will get to read everything that the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders read from Warren between 1979 and 2011.  You should expect to read investment strategies he came up with, some of the best business practices his company used and tons of free advice suitable even for first time entrepreneurs.

If I were to give you one solid reason to read this book it would be because I find Warren Buffet a very funny and a very wise man, everything he writes is important.  I didn’t know much about Cunningham before I read this book but I understand that he is not only the editor of the book but a partner who contributed a great portion of it.  Over the years I have read a wide range of business books, journals and reports but this one is fascinating because they weren’t written for a book reader – they are important official letters to other successful investors and the author is one of the most articulate and outspoken entrepreneurs in the world.

Cunningham’s major role was organizing the essays and putting them in sections between the prologue (P. 27 & 28) written by Warren and epilogue (P. 274 – 282) written by himself.  The book is organized into 7 sections namely:

1. Corporate Governance
2. Corporate Finance and Investing
3. Alternatives to Common Stock
4. Common Stock
5. Mergers and Acquisitions
6. Accounting and Valuation
7. Accounting Policy and Tax Matters

xBL02_IW_WARREN_BUFF_797540f.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Y_VGKTxusaIn the prologue section, Warren explains that the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders group are contacted directly by him or as he puts it “the fellow you are paying to make sure business is running”.  He clearly demonstrates how positive energy and dedication combined with his natural leadership skills and management principles gets you what you want, where you want and when you want it.  He explains in great detail what he has learnt over the years and with a great sense of humor includes tons of personal experiences and observations about the American investment market, its culture and economy and the most notable ups and downs of the last 25 to 30 years.

If you are the kind of reader who prefers to extract little information from a book and apply it before coming back for a new dose, then the essays of Warren Buffett is the perfect book for you because you can choose to read one letter in a few minutes and digest it for the rest of the day instead of waddling through fluff in a book and find your first point at the end of the chapter.  The book is easily written but novices may find it a little difficult to keep the pace, this is perfect for intermediate investors.

Money Masters of Our Time by John Train

9780887309700_p0_v1_s260x420First off, I will confess that there isn’t another book with a catchier title than ‘ Money Masters of our time ’.  John Train is the reviewer of reviewers and in this book he compiles brief profiles of about 17 greatest investors and money managers between the 80s and 90s, some of the very popular, successful and renowned but others may not be so familiar to everyone.  Most of the profiles in this book in my opinion are very well compiled and written, with very useful information about their investment policies, strategies and money management styles but there are about two or three that I felt didn’t earn a place in such an illustrated literature material.

In this compilation, John Train brings profiles Jimmy Rogers, Warren Buffett, Michael Steinhardt, Peter Lynch, Phil Caret, Julian Robertson, Ben Graham, Paul Cabot, John Templeton, Robert Wilson, Richard Rainwater, John Neff, Mark Lightbrown, Ralph Wanger and George Soros and goes to great lengths to bring out the real investors in them.  As you can see, on this list are value investors, short-sellers, international players, growth investors and commodity experts and each of them will provide you with solid insights as well as knowledge in a summarized and simplified approach.

The Author, John Train, is the founder of the Train Smith Investment Counsel but he is probably known by most as the former head of the Lampoon or the Signet Society.  He founded and was the first MD of The Paris Review and has written quite a number of great business books including Investing and Managing Trusts Under the New Prudent Investor Rule: A Guide for Trustees, Investment Advisors, & Lawyers; The Midas Touch: The Strategies That Have Made Warren Buffett “America’s Preeminent Investor”; Dance of the Money Bees: A Professional Speaks Frankly on Investing and The Craft of Investing among others.

They say that experience is the best teacher, but it can be better if you are learning from the experiences of others, especially those who overcame the natural and societal holdbacks and made it big.  Their knowledge, strategies and inspiration is wisdom to others, and what better way to learn than from multiple success stories?  This book profiles the 17 great people in our world of business and tells of their lives, how they got into business, their paths of investments, their trials and errors, their thoughts and approaches to new opportunities and the best lessons you can learn from each.

For instance, when he talks of Warren Buffet, he epitomizes the man as an unequivocal living legend with significant volumes already written about his personality and professional life.  He puts emphasis on Warren’s approach to business and how he uses a deep and wide moat approach to escape competition while creating differentiation and how he perfected the principle of ‘buy a great business at a great price, then make it greater’.  He quotes Warren’s use of humorous (though dry) choice of words and phrases like “A horse that can count to ten is a remarkable horse – not a remarkable mathematician” but if you know the man you will identify easily with the writing style.

Review of Market Wizards by Jack D. Schwager

odesk2When eToro launched the ‘Follow’ feature to forex trading, where any trader, novice or already experienced, can follow the trades of another skilled or pro trader, it was lauded as the best feature to fill the trench that most amateur traders fall into as they try to make it to the winners’ circle.  Jack D. Swager attempted this move back in 1988, but because of the technology and trades of the time, the best he could do was put it in a book which meant digesting it would be much harder than just clicking ‘Copy Trader’.

‘Market Wizards’ is not just a book, it is a series of books that provides information to equip you with motivation and skills to follow the paths of successful forex traders as you read about their lives, how they entered into the currency business, their winning trading styles, the mistakes they made and their battles that defined who they are.  This book is more of an interview that will most definitely provide you with a different perspective of the currency trade because you get to see that even extra-ordinary geniuses you admire started humble – maybe even worse off than you are now.

It would be accurate to describe this book as a compilation of traders’ interviews, presented in the simplest and easiest to understand style.  However, there are not just interviews in there, Jack delves deep to investigate the thought processes of the traders he interviews and describes them best as a literature guru would – comprehensively.  The book features interviews from market wizards including Michael Marcus, Bruce Kovner, Paul Tudor Jones, Richard Dennis, Ed Seykota, Larry Hite, Marty Schwartz, James B. Rogers, Jr., Mark Weinstein, Dr. Van K. Tharp and Bill Lipschutz among others.

jack_schwagerIf you believe that you have what it takes to be a forex trader, you should know that it is a torturous and very demanding form of excitement as Jack, the author, calls it.  He says that most people who lose money in forex trading make the mistake of thinking striking a balance between life and trading is easy, and assuming that profits are all that matter.  This book will introduce you into a world of hard workers and you will get to learn how those who have succeeded managed to balance emotion and knowledge and business and family.

Why buy and read this paper book when you can Google and find the answers to all your problems on YouTube, with modern-day successful entrepreneurs telling you what to do?  The answer is simple – anyone can post anything online and getting good high quality unadulterated information like what this book has is not easy.  Even though the book ‘The Market Wizards’ talks of the old wizards in the trade, they were the pioneers that opened the floodgates to the forex market.

If this book impresses you, find the second installment in the series ‘The New Market Wizards’ published in 1992 and the third book in the series, ‘Stock Market Wizards’ published in 2001.

Irrational Exuberance by Robert J. Shiller

51BSEYyKW2LAs much as the world likes to see the market as a rational and very efficient machine, one Yale economist strives to show us otherwise, in line with the British Economist John Maynard Keynes’ famous quote “The market remains irrational longer than you remain solvent”.  The first edition of the book irrational exuberance was released at the perfect time – just when the dot com fever was at high pitch and this book, many claimed, really helped those who embraced technology to do business then.  If it was useful for many back when the internet and modern communication and business techniques were just for nerds, how much do you think it will help you if you read it now?

The author, Robert James “Bob” Shiller is not only a renowned American economist but also a best-selling author and an academic who studied and has served in Yale University, Yale School of Management and the Yale International Center for Finance.  He has also been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, president of Eastern Economic Association and Vice President of the American Economic Association in back 2005.  Besides Irrational Exuberance, Robert has also written a number of investment books including ‘Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism’ with George A. Akerlof, ‘The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened’, and ‘What to Do about It, Finance and the Good Society and The New Financial Order: Risk in the 21st Century’ just to name the most popular.

The first edition of Irrational Exuberance was such a huge success because it offered a wide range of historical evidence and published research in the context of the stock market and how it relates with the market of today.  Although it seems to have no specific focus point, the book brings forth concrete suggestions on the policy changes that are already in place and those that must be made in response to market conditions.  The book argues that an economic boom such as that of the stock market boom of between 1982 and 1995 is speculative and not based on any sensible economic fundamentals, hence considering its structural factors will enable you to see such an opportunity from a distance, and benefit from it even before everyone else realizes.

robert-shillerThis book introduces 12 essential factors that are the ultimate causes of an economic boom including naturally occurring Ponzi processes, Amplification mechanisms that amplify the effects of precipitating factors, cultural factors and the effects of the market by the news media and the ‘new era’ of thinking.  The book further discusses psychological factors of the masses, psychological anchors in the market and the ‘herd’ behavior.  The book is subdivided into five parts, but of greater interest is the fifth part which tries to rationalize exuberance and teach efficient markets theory among other theories that investors like you are learning.

In this book, Robert believes that the market is grossly overvalued and the baby boom effect, media interest and the public infatuation with the internet all conspired to amplify the baby boom effect.  It is definitely worth checking it out.

Review of How to Trade a Currency Fund by Jarratt Davis

435eeac2b6737bb1b24d1f71cfd91654For those who have always dreamt of making it big in the forex trade and be professional currency traders, the book ‘How to Trade a Currency Fund’ written by Jarratt Davis is a great resource to expand your knowledge and learn to execute the trades that matter.  If you thought that trading in hedge funds is something that only the high flyers and bank executives, you should read this book to know how one smart young man decided to change his destiny and armed with no industry experience and with zero qualifications leaped into the forex market and came out a winner.  This book sold hundreds of thousands of copies because it promises to detail how Jarratt Davis, the author, made such a tale worth learning from.

The book is titled ‘How to Trade a Currency Fund: The Step by Step Guide That Shows How Anyone Can Trade a Fund’ but I can tell you at this point that if you have no idea what forex trading is or how the money market works, this book is not the best place to start.  This is because Jarratt focuses on showing the intermediate forex trader how to advance and achieve constant and consistent success and building a career in trading in currency funds rather than guide them to get started.

If you have a little experience in trading in the forex market, you will find this book not only insightful and an excellent read but also a gateway into a heaven of immense beneficial information for those who need it.  This book is devoid of any of the fluff and junk that many writers, especially of today who are more focused on getting backlinks rather than providing quality information to those who want it.  The thrilling and at times horrific but genuine revelations the writer makes in this book makes it not only an exciting read but also a captivating story of perseverance, dedication, hard work and constant research.

maxresdefaultYou have probably read quite a number of investment books recommended by other forex traders, but this one is different in one aspect: Jarratt Davis, the author, is a self-made millionaire who entered and taught himself forex trading in 2005 with the intention to support himself as he trotted the globe, but it made him better than what he expected.  He manages to transform himself from a self-employed trader in the retail field and gradually progresses through the ranks to trade in hedge funds rubbing shoulders with the most respected and successful professional forex traders and other investors and traders.

The education you should expect to receive from Jarratt Davis’s ‘How to Trade a Currency Fund’ may form the backbone of the most defining moments of your life as a trader, the mistakes that Jarratt made will help you avoid wasting time making and rectifying the same mistakes.  This, simply put, is the best way to be better than the author, and as you already know, the author is a successful guru in FX.

Review of Day Trading the Currency Market: Technical and Fundamental Strategies To Profit from Market Swings by Kathy Lien

kathy_lien_1_enEach single weekday, the world’s financial powers play their massive ‘high stakes’ game that involves moving over $2 trillion worth of currency across the whole planet at the speed of light.  When the chips are counted after the close of business, there’s certainly a group that wins and then there is a bigger group that loses.  If you are a forex trader, there are very many things you can do to always be on the winning team, but it is not easy.  Kathy Lien wrote the book ‘Day Trading the Currency Market: Technical and Fundamental Strategies To Profit from Market Swings’ as a guide to help ordinary traders and those struggling hard to make trades profitable to cross the elusive line and claim a place at the winning table.

The book’s cover introduces the author, Kathy Lien, as the Chief Currency Strategist at Forex Capital Markets where her job involves providing fundamental and technical research reports, trading strategies and commentaries.  She has also worked at JPMorgan Chase, appeared on CNBC, Stocks and Commodities, Active trader, CBS Market Watch, Futures and SFO where her work has been published.

When you pick up this forex trading book, the first thing you will notice is the high quality of writing – the way the words are phrased, how narratives flow and how the tone is just perfect to convince you that the author knew what she was writing about.  Lien begins this book by comparing the forex market with other trading platforms like futures and equities and explains why the forex market holds the most promising chances of success thanks to low transaction costs, continuous trading, customizable leverage and the fact that it is the largest market in the world.

forex-traderWhether you are a beginner or an intermediate trader, the book ‘Day Trading the Currency Market: Technical and Fundamental Strategies To Profit from Market Swings’ is right for you because it does deep to explain the concept of technical analysis, why technical analysis works best for the FX market and trains you to be a technical trader who can identify new breakouts and trends that offer multiple opportunities to enter and exit the trade.  Lien also covers the currency market from a wide angle but in a relaxed style, dwells a little on the market characteristics such as those that identify the best times to trade, daily ranges to watch, how to manage various variable market conditions and the element of seasonality.

Because Kathy Lien is a very respected member of the global currency trading niche, you cannot go wrong learning and adopting her strategies and using her advice and tips to place yourself on top of the pack.  The book covers a lot more than I have mentioned in this short review, but I can assure you that investing in the book will give you back many times the worth of the book in ideas, tips, guidance and advice and real-life illustrations and examples.  The book can be great for intermediate and experience forex traders but even beginners shouldn’t have a problem understanding it.

Review of Buy It, Rent It, Profit!: Make Money as a Landlord in ANY Real Estate Market by Bryan M. Chavis

57Almost every book in the section that ‘Buy It, Rent It, Profit!: Make Money as a Landlord in ANY Real Estate Market’ written by Bryan M. Chavis is targeted at individuals who thirst for knowledge to achieve their personal and professional success and wealth and ultimately happiness.  This explain why these books are published to have minimal fluff, to have motivating positive messages, examples and illustrations and simply tell the reader, in the simplest terms, what to do or how to achieve a goal.  This book, though, has been rated above the rest more than a handful of times by different reviewers and critics, and it is for a good reason.

Touted as one of the simplest roadmaps to the confusing world of real estate buying, renting and owning property, the book ‘Buy It, Rent It, Profit!: Make Money as a Landlord in ANY Real Estate Market’ establishes itself as a guide to get rich with frenzied colorful and excitement filled cover design, just like most other get rich in any way possible guide books.  However, you will be surprised that between the colorful and playful design of the cover pages is real information that will guide you to be a different kind of investor and landlord by working smarter, not harder and how to research potentially profitable property in an organized and easy to follow approach.

Bryan Charvis, the Author of the book, is himself the founder of Landlord Academy and a renowned writer but he used the same principles he advocates for in this book to turn himself from an ordinary average employee with a dead end 9 to 5 job to a landlord and very profitable real estate entrepreneur.  This book is based on personal experiences and lesson learnt by Brian Chavis as he strove to find his way in the murky waters of the real estate market. It therefore presents the necessary tools that even a novice trader needs to be armed with to make smart investment decision and to set and meet their realistic goals in life and in business.

Invest-in-Real-EstateThe book can be described as informative and impressive, but the writer is much more articulate, calculating, intelligent and passionate in person.  Therefore, whether you are a beginner in real estate or already have a business going and want to make it better than it is, this may be the best book for you.  Because it is a perfect combination of substance and enthusiasm, this book is a comprehensive resource to get all the tips, tricks and ideas required in the assessment, purchase, ownership, transferring and selling a real estate property.

As a closing note, just like any other book, this one has its weaknesses, the most pointed out being that it seems incomplete, giving it a feel of an infomercial on paper, some readers say it is too basic for anyone who understands the real estate market and some even just call it the author’s brags about his successes.  It all depends on your perspective and what you are looking for, but to me it is a great book worth checking out.

Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter

Although ‘Competitive Strategy’ was published back in 1980, this is still the best book for people seeking specific knowledge on how to assess companies or industries, evaluating risk by assessing those factors affecting the business environment and a study of the key factors that influence an investment.  Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor, in this book focuses on two elements that he says are the keys to competitive advantage: cost leadership including proprietary technology and economies of scale) and product differentiation factors with the product attribute being the most important of them all.

I would recommend this book to intermediate investors because the areas of trade it focuses on provide the solid foundation for understanding how companies formulate valuable and successful market strategies while others destroy even the little they had when they try a different approach.  The Competitive Strategy is full of real-life examples that the author relates to and because the examples and illustrations are real-life portrayals, it is easy to understand and to apply the lessons learnt.  As mentioned before, the book was written in 1980 hence the reason it is mostly recommended by the pioneers of modern commerce including local and international investors, managers and business coaches and lecturers worldwide.

‘Competitive Strategy’ is the best guide to learn business strategies, concepts, competitive advantage, technology innovation effects on business, the five forces, market differentiation and customer service.  The basic idea the book is based on is that a company or business can only use one of the three generic strategies and may try to compete by spending the least on cost structure (take Wal-Mart, Ryan Air and South West Airlines as examples) while trying to convince average customers that their products and services are different and better in quality.

apple-vs-microsoft-1If you don’t appreciate business ideas and examples from three decades ago, this may not be the best for you.  However, if you have a creative mind that can easily relate situations and can learn from completely unrelated situations to gain a business advantage, you should read this book.  Porter talks of the then successful companies like Apple and their strategies but completely leaves out some companies that had already showed potential then, like Microsoft.  What makes this book such a classic is that you can learn the strategies that companies used back then and compare how they ended up in the early 90s or even today, or how their strategies have changed since then to predict how the future will be like.

The 30 years difference between the time of publication of Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter should not be an issue because the book is still just as beautiful, coherent, relevant and informative to a modern investor as it was 30 years ago.  Porter’s ideas in this book are spectacularly simple, it is not every day that you read a simple book with complex competitive strategy ideas.  I would suggest you read the beautiful preview of the newest edition to know, in detail, just what this book has to offer you.