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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 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 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.
4 people found this helpful
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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 February 17, 1999
This book will not please the cash-market stock day trader nor even the futures day trader who does not have a Commodity Quote Graphics system hookup at his disposal. But if you do, you will learn some ideas to try, research, and refine, for S&P futures day trading. The book is a little sloppy in using the term "derivative", which has a definite meaning in Calculus, in an unusual sense; but this is a small hurdle to clear. The style is very readable. Purists will seek in vain for convincing verifications of the all the methododology suggested in the book, but this complaint is a common one for the genre. This is efinitely not a book on the psychology of trading, but contains carefully spelled out ideas on how to daytrade.
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on September 26, 1998
I read this book with interest. It gives a brief overview of many trading tools and techniques. However, it was all theoretical. The author repeatedly claimed to have more than 20 years trading experience, yet he included no real examples of successful trades he made using any of the indicators or techniques touted in the book.
The value I got from the book was the simple explanations of a number of indicators and theoretical usage of the indicators. I'll have to look elsewhere for practical, hands-on examples of how those indicators can be used in daytrading.
This book is written for those wanting to trade S&P futures, commodities, or currencies. No mention of equities. Although I found the book interesting, it is far from "complete."
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on July 23, 1999
The Compleat Day Trader : Trading Systems, Strategies, Timing Indicators, and Analytical Methods by Jake Bernstein
This text introduced me to some of the crucial concepts involved with daytrading the volatile commodity futures markets. Jake exposed me to some of the basic concepts behind his trading methods in a way that allowed me to apply them to my own trading. It is truly a valuable addition to any trader's library who is interested in expanding their base of knowledge using the benefit of Jake's experience. This book is an excellent start to learning about the strategies, methods and psychology traders must employ if they are to take their task seriously. More compleat strategies and methods for the advanced trader can be found in Jake's Compleat Daytrader II published by McGraw-Hill in 1998.
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on August 14, 2000
One of the most difficult things involving the markets, regardless of what you trade is timing.With this book, Jake not only gives you suggestions for timing indicators, but he also gives you some strategies to follow and shows real time examples which are clear and very detailed. In this book, Jake share his extensive knowledge about systems, strategies, technical indicators, and trading systems. I have purchased many trading books and this one is CRITICAL for your success as a trader. One more point that I wish for potential traders to consider is the source. Jake Bernstein has been involved in commodities and futures trading for 25 years. He brings real trading experience to the table. He does not promise you guaranteed results are a "pot of gold" under the rainbow. What he does give you is the information that you will need to be successful, REGARDLESS of the time frame you are trading. Also, he is available for you. I recently e-mailed him with a question from the book and I received a detailed explanation from him the very next day! I challenge you to find any author who will do that! Good luck and good trading!
One person found this helpful
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on May 6, 1998
Jake should be ashamed of himself. He clearly only wrote this book to take advantage of the current "Day-trading craze." There is little, if any, information reguarding the mental, physical and financial aspect of day-trading. The entire book is one big preface for the thesis statement: "Gee, nobody knows so be vewy, vewy careful." Me? I've been Day trading for about 6 months. CURRENTLY I'm ahead; have read everything I can on the subject and this is the worst I've run across. If I could, I'd dump it just to get something back out of it.
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