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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on October 8, 2000
Trading especially short term trading need great concentration and a full-time commitment. Professional traders write few or no book.
Mr. Bernstein's books and articles are everywhere. Sometimes I came across his publications, I scanned through a few pages to see what he had to say about trading. Mr. Bernstein makes statements which are generally safe and easy to say. For example, I read his article the other day. He tells the readers "Do your homework.", "The trend is your friend." etc. Of course, these are the common rules for traders. But what are the concrete steps to implement these rules in the real-life situation? Well, I could hardly find any. On the other hand, he stated in that article: "...I maintain that a good trader can make any system works." I found this statement unprofessional and phony. The reasons:
1. Many systems on the market are just trash and can not be used at all.
2. Good traders wouldn't pick up any system and risk their money with it. Good traders are very selective and only trade a few systems that have proven record and are suitable for their individual styles.
I found similar problems in other works by Mr. Bernstein. Should I bother to buy this book? No, thanks.
I have read books from many different writers and have more than 10 year active trading experience. So I know something.
A few tips(IMO) for choosing good books on trading:
1. Only a small percentage of books on the market are good or great.
2. Popular books are not necessary good books. If you automatically think so, you've probably fallen into "Herd mentality" thinking.
3. Trading is a bottom line business. Find books written by traders who had proven long-term(5 year or more) successful trading records. They are the ones "know how".
4. Be wary of the authors who write many trading books.
Good luck.
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on October 7, 2000
Most books for "day traders" are so general that their techniques and advice can be successfully used by swing-traders (those who keep stocks for several days), and even by longer-term investors. This one is different. The author, Jake Bernstein, strongly advocates real day trading, when no securities ever kept overnight. Therefore, his techniques are usable for very short term trading only.
The advantage of this book is that it has very little general rhetoric and comes straight to the point, that is to the techniques which the author finds profitable. Basically, 90% of the book is about the use of technical indicators (such as various moving averages and oscillators) to determine potentially profitable entry and exit points. The topics discussed in particular detailed manner are the use of moving averages, stochastic indicator, moving average channel (MAC), relative strength index (RSI), momentum, and techniques for trading of opening gaps. The author also suggests several oscillators of his own. However, despite the simplicity of these indicators, one has to own software such as Omega Research Trade Station to calculate and plot these home-made oscillators in real time, or write a program yourself. There are also several chapters applicable to futures only (actually, the whole book is about trading in the futures market, but 95% of techniques are equally applicable to stocks).
The great advantage of the book is that it is very specific, clearly illustrated, and gives plenty of detailed technical advice and a number of potentially profitable trading techniques. Be advised, however, that those who are interested in trading but do not have enough capital to take profits from half-a-tick changes (and I, too, belong to this group) cannot really take advantage of this book. No trend and no trade longer than a few hours is discussed there! Therefore, this book is for the serious day traders, and only for them. If you are a day trader, this book is a must; if you are not, do not bother buying it but rather consider other options, e.g., the excellent book "How to get started in electronic day trading" by D.S.Nassar which is good for traders on any time frame.
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on August 29, 2000
I picked up this book with hesitation, aware of the reputation Bernstein has as a hypester right up there with Larry Williams, Ken Roberts etc. However I can say I was pleasantly surprised. He approaches the subject honestly and with little hype.
One problem I had with this book (and with a number of books like it) is that the authors present their methods as THE way to go without encouraging experiment. The difference between giving a man a fish and teaching him how to fish etc. I suppose you can't really blame the authors though when a majority of readers are looking for secrets and shortcuts rather than building blocks they can use to develop their own styles and tools and think for themselves.
I think Bernstein wrote off moving average based signals a little quickly, without looking into more advanced techniques of using them. His recommendation of the 3 and 24 MA's also did not look so hot on any of the charts I looked at (5 and 20 seems much better to me), nor did the moving average channels based on highs and lows seem that applicable on intraday charts.
I was also less than pleased with his countertrend interpretation of how to play gaps, though he at least went back and semi-rectified himself a little later in the book by pointing out that gaps can be indicators of an accelerating trend too- duh.
I did like his use of slow stochastics, and have found oscillators to be a fairly useful intraday tool IF applied correctly. His explanation of how to interpret oscillators in general will be useful to new traders and/or anyone who doesn't really know how to use oscillators.
I would say that if you are still looking for a methodology, there is some stuff in here that could appeal to you- IF you experiment with it rather than just taking Bernstein's methods by rote. This book is aimed at fairly new traders who have been around the block once or twice, but are still a little wet behind the ears and searching for their styles.
Last but not least, I don't see how this book could be deemed complete without a more thorough discussion of risk management, profit expectancy and reward to risk ratios.
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on August 21, 1999
This book provides excellent trading tools that work equally well for both the futures and equities markets.
Jake's methods give clear entry and exit signals, significantly reducing the risk from day trading. There are also plenty of examples and charts in the book to make sure that you fully understand what Jake is taking about.
Additionally, Jake is realistic about day rading and about the attitudes and psychology of day trading. He not only provides excellent information with clear examples and charts of various trading methods, but he also lists rules that help traders avoid mistakes, learn from those that do occur, and generally trade much more effectively.
Lastly, Jake is very willing to help readers. He says at the end of his preface to call on him if he can be of any assistance, and he is not just saying this. I had a question because the trading program I use showed some charts differently than the examples in the book, and I e-mailed Jake asking him how I should modify the charts, and he quickly replied to my questions and helped me solve the problem.
A great resource for day traders...should be required reading.
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on June 19, 1999
In "The Compleat Day Trader" Jake Bernstein has successfully presented the reader with the full gamete of information necessary for success in any day trading endeavor. The experienced or beginner trader will each benefit from the comprehensive coverage which takes the reader on a detailed journey from what to consider when starting out, through a thorough presentation of technical analysis to building a personal strategy. This book is filled with easy to understand examples as well as the author's own interpretation, commentary and recommendations based on his extensive trading and research experience. The psychology of day trading which is often not adequately covered in other books is presented along with numerous tips and basic rules for success in a manner that binds the psychological aspects with actual trading system methodology. This book will help provide the edge that is necessary in the increasingly volatile and competitive markets of today. This powerful book should not be absent from any day traders collection.
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on April 29, 1999
This enlightening book holds your hand and teaches you the basic knowledge you need to become a day trader. With specific facts, instructions, methods and explanations, he walks you through everything you ever wanted to know to begin day trading but were afraid to admit you didn't have a clue. From basic definitions and explanations to precise methods, examples and charts, Jake instructs you in a succinct yet elucidating manner about the ins and outs of day trading. The section on psychology alone is worth the price of the entire book. And if you take the time to commit his twenty keys to success as a day trader to memory, it's truly the icing on the cake of knowledge. Once I completed it, I couldn't wait to read The Compleat Day Trader II which advanced the teachings even further than The Compleat Day Trader and went on to show you what systems work and don't work and why. The section on placing orders was really valuable too. To me, what makes Jake's books so meaningful is how he combines the psychology of trading with the trader's basic nature and intertwines that with the hard, cold facts of reality. This makes his writings and teachings much more real and down to earth than those I have read from other authors and traders. And he is also very accessible, which is almost unheard today. That's why I feel both books have earned five stars.
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on February 11, 1999
Several of those whom are disatisfied with the book seem to be overlooking a couple of key points. First, the title is "The Compleat Day Trader." That is, "compleat," not "complete." The latter implies that the book is a comprehensive dissertation in the field of day trading in all markets. Compleat means; "highly skilled or proficient." One needs to practice and become proficient in the methods outlined in the book in order to profit with them. Second, Jake is a futures trader. The recent influx in day trading equities has led many to (perhaps mistakingly) to this book. This book focuses solely on trading futures on an intraday basis. Thirdly, the author refers to what is being taught in the book as methodology and not a system or systems. The important distinction being that a system is automatic. There is no interpretation on the part of the trader. Methodology is an approach to the market. It can be used with other methods or systems, it can be tweeked and fine tuned to meet an individual's own style. Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult to backtest than it would be for a true system. I trade futures short term and use many of Jake's methods (including the DSI.) There are a few indicators which are real gems. If you daytrade S&P, Tbond or currency futures, then you can use this book. If you are either trying to learn more about trading equities or the Holy Grail system - save your money for another title.
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on December 24, 1998
This book is seamingly orginised and comprehensive. It tries to touch on various techniques that have been in use. It falls short in many aspects, however. First, it does not give a clear understanding of which method is best under what conditions. Second, there are no tests or reports of tests from other literature (except one or two), so the reader is not able to make performance comparison. The reader ends up with a knowledge of several techniques at a high level but with a lot of confusion as to when and how to use these methods. Third, arguments used in general are not scientific; gut feeling, or long years of experience is one thing, scientific evidence is another. Overall, the book clearly shows that the authors lack adequate quantitative skills in technical analysis and this does not make their critisism about "system testing" very credible. It is an inexpensive book, but buying a better book at a slightly higher price should be a better investment.
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on April 7, 2000
I picked up both the books in one day and was looking forward to finding out new information for trading. Essentially this book is filled with "indicator" information. This means he covers in great detail points in the chart such as Moving Averages, RSI, MACD, OBV, ROC, etc. Mr. Bernstein also believes that if one puts all the indicator info into a software, it can direct us when to buy and sell!
It depends what kind of philosophy one has on trading. If one believes that trading can be automated then this book can be analyzed and programmed, otherwise if one thinks tomorrow's prices will be influenced by asian markets last night, then no point. The book suggests to track an intra day 3-minutes(!) Moving Average of a stock's price for optimal results. Personally I vote against this type of trading.
I did not move onto the second book and returned both.
Thank You, Steve.
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on February 4, 2000
I like graphs & trying to interpret what they mean. At first glance this book seems to make sense with regard to helping time trades. There are many different styles of daytrading. For my style (both momentum trades & scalps) real time price graphs coupled with Level II quotes & time & sale data is more than enough. This books trys to make what should be simple into something more difficult. It recommends using mathmatical formulas (actually graphs that are a summary of mathmatical formulas) to enhance the timing of your buys & sells.
I found the book worthless. I read it once & never bothered picking it up again. (Thats my definition of worthless).
The books I refer back to time & again are the two charting books written by Barry Rudd. They seem to supply me with more than enough trading ideas.
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