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Traders Magazine Review - Helen Quenet
on October 2, 2003
Book Review - Come Into My Trading Room by Dr Alexander Elder
It was with a great deal of curiosity that I began to read Come Into My Trading Room. Trading for a Living, Elders first and classic book was the second trading book I ever read and even 40 or so books on from there I still rate it in my top five and frequently recommend it to others who want a considered and honest introduction to trading.
I was interested to see how the themes and emphasis had changed and developed in the nine years since the first book was published. I had briefly read a couple of reviews that suggested it didn't add much to the previous book but I was eager to make my own mind up.
So the first question I asked myself was what hasn't changed?
The style of writing is as clear and engaging as in the first book. The layout is logical and in all key areas he suggests further, more specialised reading to take you deeper into the subjects that may interest you. For the size of the book (only 313 pages), it is very comprehensive and covers the three main areas of competence for a trader. Psychology, Technical Analysis and Money Management. So the three pillars from the first book are still very much standing.
What is different? A great deal in my opinion. The psychology section is vastly improved. I thought that to be the main weakness in the first book, with an over reliance on the AA model which (because of my professional background I have issues with) He draws the title of the psychology section from another excellent book by Mark Douglas, again giving the impression that Elder himself has been learning a lot over the past few years.
The technical analysis section goes much less into describing basic TA than the first book did and instead focuses more on the application of TA to trading. It also includes an update on a method first described in the first book the "triple screen" and a section on systems trading and system testing. As someone who is toying with developing systems at the current time I particularly enjoyed his discussion of the distinction between systems and discretionary traders.
The book is not just aimed at day traders, in fact he lays great emphasis on people examining their own motives to become day traders suggesting that you require at least a years successful experience with end of day trading before you move to intraday trading. He does ask his readers to answer tough questions about themselves and if you are able to give honest answers you will profit greatly from this book.
He also concurs with one of my prejudices, which I am happy to repeat here, he stresses that traders should take their first steps in inexpensive markets to trade. So with futures for example trading the Eurostoxx50 at 10 euros per point is a better starting point for the new trader than Dax at 25 euros per point. He also provides a helpful method for working out which markets you can afford to trade. It is this applied aspect of the book that makes it so valuable. There is no irrelevant padding here, every paragraph has relevance.
The overall balance of the book is about perfect now. In the first book the basic TA took up a large percentage of the volume, this time the sections are much more equitable, with quite rightly, money management and record keeping getting a much more through treatment than in the previous book.
One change in this book (and I did wonder if he had read Tony Oz's wonderful "The Stock Trader") is an addition of some actual trade examples. I always like seeing these because following them through gives a real insight into the traders mind in a way simple chart examples can't.
I think there is a more cautious/warning tone about this book than the first. I suspect this might be because Elder runs trading camps and has had lots of experiences with wannabe traders since writing the first book. He's very aware of the main reasons why people fail and makes these very explicit in the text.
There is also a very good and well referenced basic description of the major trading instruments their advantages and disadvantages something that was missing from the first book.
The section for new traders (or babes in the wood) as he calls them covers the basics of setting up to trade from home, which instruments and markets to look at and the issues of commission, slippage and expenses. He stresses the importance of the bottom line and the need to keep trading expenses such as commission under control
This is a book written by a mature trader and trader educator, who has seen and done it all and can now give the most balanced, practical and honest description of learning to trade you will find anywhere. I highly recommend it to new traders and improvers alike.