Frequently I get questions asking which book or books someone should buy to better understand their trading. It’s kind of a hard question to answer. When I first created our Foundations of Stocks and Options program I referred to it as “the best of my notes”. Why? Because I had synthesized all of the program from my vast library of information and combined it with my real world experience.
I suppose if I were more resourceful I would just write my own book and tell people “here, buy my book, it’s the perfect trading book.” But after 6 years of teaching people what I know about trading I have yet to write even the table of contents to my own book.
Recently in a class I was again asked for a reading list by a guy named Ed. I asked him “why would you want to read books when you have access to our entire library of training? That’s a lot easier format to consume the information.”
Ed replied that he just wanted some reference books, something to stick on his shelf that he could go look at like a reference section in a library. Well I suppose I can’t argue. If you could see my whole trading library you’d be impressed. If I’m honest with myself I would be a little sad if I didn’t have my own trading library and I figure every trader should have the gift of their own library as well.
So I want to give you the gift of my top library picks. If I had to choose which books from my huge library to take with me to a desert island, these are my picks. Certainly there are more books that could be added, but these are some winners and some of my favorites.
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On General Technical Analysis:
Technical Analysis of Stock Trends – Robert Edwards & John McGee
Truly this is my desert island book on Technical Analysis. Originally written about 80 years ago, the information in this book is as relevant today as when it was first published. The book lacks in the areas of more modern technical analysis, but in terms of a basic understanding of the core principles of TA – it’s the bible.
Technical Analysis Explained – Martin Pring
This is a good utilitarian book. It kind of covers everything. I don’t think anything in this book is specifically profounds, but it is a single volume resource that really coverspretty much everything in the world of TA.
Technical Analysis: The Complete Resource for Financial Market Technicians – Charles Kirkpatrick and Julie Dahlquist
This is the official textbook of the Market Technicians CMT program. It’s a tad nerdy at times, at other times it’s totally nerdy. But it’s a great resource and it certainly has helped make me a much better trader.
Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets – John Murphy
This was my first real “textbook” on Technical Analysis. While it’s a little outdated today it has served as an excellent volume on trading over the years. I still consider it one of the best.
Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques – Steve Nison
This is the book that started it all. Steve Nison’s original book on Candlestick trading. To be truly candid I think a student going through our classes on candlesticks is going to be better prepared to trade candles than they will by reading this book, but it’s still a worthy book to be in your library.
Candlestick Charting Explained – Gregory Morris
Greg Morris has an interesting work here that really digs into the patterns themselves. This is truly a reference work. Every pattern you can imagine is in this book complete with probabilities of success and frequency of occurrance.
On Elliott Wave:
Elliott Wave Principle – Robert Prechter & A.J. Frost
The book that set the course of Robert Prechter’s career and the one that stands as the ultimate textbook related to Elliott Wave. Considering the complexity of the subject this is a surprisingly easy read. You will find it much easier to read this book than to trade the system but if you want to know about EW, this is where you start.
R.N. Elliott’s Masterworks – Ralph Nelson Elliott, Robert Prechter
Also published by Prechter, this is a collection of Elliotts works. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve got. There is an excellent biography included on the life of R.N. Elliott, and you can read the way Elliott first presented his own theories.
Trading in The Zone – Mark Douglas
The best introduction to why trading is 80% psychology and 20% execution. Every trader must learn to manage their emotions and their psychology. This is an excellent library addition.
Trading Beyond the Matrix – Van Tharp
I was at a trading event in LA a few years back and a guy I met at lunch told me about this book. I bought it and said “dang, that’s a good find.” In this book you will learn about “Tharp Think.” It’s a good one.
The New Trading for a Living – Alexander Elder
Alexander Elder was one of the first to really start writing and talking about the mix of psychology and discipline with technical trading. This book is the latest edition of his original book “Trading for a Living.” Full disclosure, I have only read the original, but it’s a good one.
Options as a Strategic Investment – Lawrence Mcmillan
This was the first book on options I picked up – I then put it down. Once you pick it up you will see why. It is not an introduction to options at all, however it is an excellent reference for just about everything you could ever want to know about options. When you pick it up you will see why so many refer to it as the bible of options trading.
Fibonacci Analysis – Constance Brown
The only book in my opinion that really explains Fibonacci. Enough said. It’s a difficult read, and I think you’d be better off attending Total Fibonacci Trading, but this is a standard on Fibonacci Analysis.
Generally Awesome books:
All of the Market Wizards books – Jack Schwager
Jack Schwager has spent his career now interviewing great traders and learning from their successes. His “Market Wizards” series is in my opinion a must for ever trader. He has now released several in the series and some of the older ones have been updated to newer editions as well. I recommend all of them.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
It’s not technically a trading book but it is responsible for turning my life around. I read this book when I was 22 years old and it was the first time I “got” the American spirit. I remember picking it up in the bookstore and when I got home and started reading it I just could not put it down. I read almost the entire book in 1 sitting. The thing that struck me from Think and Grow Rich is the reality that anybody can do it. It was the first time I started to realize that my thinking controlled my life and my destiny. Up until then I just believed I was a result of whatever happened to me. This book changed the direction of my life and I suggest everyone should read it.
So there you have it – that would be a pretty powerful trading library. Maybe I will add to it in the future but I think if you could have all of these books as a reference stuck on an island, well you could probably piece it together again how to trade.
The bad news is this collection of books is going to set you back quite a bit – then you still have to read them. And then you still have to interpret them.
The good news is you’re not stuck on an island and for just one low monthly price you can have access to the best of my notes and all of the great programs we have created here at TradeSmart. Not only that, you will also have access to all of the new courses we continue to develop over time.
If you’d like to get started learning to trade, go ahead and check out a membership here at TSU. You’ll be thrilled you did – AND you don’t have to read over 10,000 pages of words talking about trading!