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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on December 19, 2003
Multiple negative reviews are really annoying. Please stop babbling on about how you hate this book.
You must be from a competitor or you would't waste so much time talkinga about a book you don't like. It's less than $30 dollars for goodness sake. Stop whining.
And quit talking about Phd level research. Academia in finance is just now starting to realize that humans don't behave rationally in markets, give me a break. Any academic who talks about trading is invariably talking about something he doesn't understand.
This book is excellent. I know. I personally have made over $30 million trading futures and the major principles in my own trading are all contained in this book.
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on August 14, 2001
Execellent coverage of the 10 parts of trading system design: 1) Market Selection, 2) Market Direction, 3) Setups, 4) Market entry, 5) Protective stops, 6) Market re-entry, 7) Taking profits, 8) Position sizing, 9) Portfolio selection, 10) Multiple systems.

I was so impressed with the book that I attended Tharp's $2,000 Advanced System Development Workshop. This book covers 90% of what was in that workshop. The other 10% is in Tharp's other book, Financial Freedom through Electronic Day Trading. The 10 parts of trading system design were not covered at any additional depth or clarity in the workshop. In fact, the books cover a lot more material. Just buy the books and read them several times.
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on September 18, 2003
I have to admit the reading was a little intense, but once you understand the guidelines, these concepts can be applied in developing a successful trading system. I use some of these techniques in trading for my clients', yes I'm a broker based in LA (amazing a broker with a trading system, yes we do exist...LOL). This book has to be read in accordance with the following books. To get a better understanding of what Dr. Tharp is saying.

Reminisces of a stock operator by Edwin Lefèvre
Market Wizards by Jack Schwagger
By reading these books along with Tharp's book you have to get visualizations on what it takes to trade, the psychological aspect, market knowledge, and mathematical (algorithms) concepts. If this combination can't be understood than the people who brought this book and gave it poor ratings will continue to fail in the markets like the other 90 percent of investors or speculators who don't have a system in place. I always tell my clients not to treat trading as a hobby; a hobby is what you throw money at to satisfy certain emotions, but to treat this as a business where cash is your inventory. Strict rules and discipline are required to run a successful business, and this book enforces this ideology.
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on October 21, 2003
First off, let me state that I am not a trader and know just a little bit about it. I am interested in learning, however, leading me to try this book out as it has received some good reviews here at Amazon. Much of it was way over my head and too confusing to do me any good. But some of the information was very good and very understandable and for that information I felt my investment in terms of both time and money was well spent with this work.
One of the things the author says near the end of the book is that it will take four or five readings for some of the information to sink in. And that's for people who actually know the topic to begin with. I can understand why; trading seems so easy when looked at from a distance, just buy low and sell high, hey, anyone can be a millionaire! Of course it isn't so easy and most people end up losing money or at least not making enough to justify the time spent.
I think the most important and helpful part of this book is the teaching on what many call "money management" (often erroneously); that the author refers to as "position sizing." This topic is part of investing that many over look.
I understood and appreciated this subject from the days (long past) that I used to enjoy both the ponies and blackjack. Position sizing in both these pursuits is vital and understanding why you don't sit at the $5 blackjack table with only $40 bucks, you go to the $2 table or get more money, is the same understanding you need when figuring out how much to "bet" when making trades in the stock market relative to your overall investment size (simply put "what percentage is at risk?") If you sit at the blackjack table with $40 and bet $5, you are risking too much with one "trade."
The other helpful part was how to look at "expectancy." What is the expectant overall rate of return based on both the success rate AND the amount won and lost on those respective trades. In other words, you can be wrong 70 percent of the time and still make money just as you can be right 70 per cent of the time and still lose money. The authors coverage of this area, and how some people put too much emphasis on one or two areas of investing was very helpful to me.
The area of entry's and exit's was covered well too. When too much consideration is put into entry's, without considering position sizing, expectancy and exit strategies, then the investor will be at a severe disadvantage.
While still a neophyte, I can give this book a recommendation to any that don't mind some difficult reading, it covers a lot of ground and makes a lot of sense in places while being overworked and confusing in others. I found it helpful that the author covers multiple strategies and why or how each one works or doesn't and how that system could be improved with (sometimes subtle) changes.
I also checked out the web site associated with Van K. Tharp's work and I'll concur with those that say "beware", because he is definitely out to sell something besides just this book. Whether that is a warning sign or not, is up to the individual.
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on February 4, 2002
...and yet I think this is one of the best trading books around. Not that it brings many new trading ideas, but it makes you see somewhat familiar things from a different perspective, which, I think, is rather good. One of the best topics is certainly the psychological side, the one about trying to master the market and trim the psychological bias, but there are other sections that I read more carefully and more times than the others, like money and risk management, the risk-expectancy "R-multiple" theory being very interesting indeed.
Van Tharp's book is surely not recommended for the novice traders, but if you think you need to read at least a dozen of trading books in order to enhance your chances of being successful, this book is certainly one of them.
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on January 24, 2004
I am a system trader. I wish I had stumbled on this title BEFORE beginning to trade. I would certainly have saved myself a lot of time in designing a system that suited my personnality and goals. I found most of what this book brings by trial and error. Costly and agravating to say the least. I recommend this book to anyone whith a true desire to learn how to trade, and why, be they novices or pros (tired or disenchanted ... ;-)) Do yourself a favor: get this book and read it to understand ... not to find a magic recipe. The answer to trading success lies entirely within yourself. You bring discipline and determination to the table. This book gives you the basic tools to set you off in the right direction and make it happen.
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on December 10, 2009
After having put many Years into developing a very specific Swing Trading System myself for the Forex Market ... Van K's book has encapsulated two specific areas that I needed ... into words. 1) The Six Keys to a Great Trading System (derived from interviewing many successful Traders) and 2) Position Sizing (not for the faint of Heart). Aside from all of the other necessary elements ... like conceptualization to understanding R multiples ... Tharp has set out thee Model for System building by defining and explaining what is necessary to grasp a hold of in Your thinking process beforehand ... step by step. I would have to say that this book is for those who have already committed themselves into this arena. If You consider yourself apart of the mature audience (have already lost a Trading Account or two) and haven't given up and are seriously working on Your own specific System ... then get this book. Tharp is deceptively simple in his purposeful yet thorough way of explanation. I suppose this comes from years of teaching Traders the "How To's" of the Game. The Holy Grail lies within You and Tharp gets You believing it again ... if You've already got at least an intermediate foundation of resolve and experience.
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on July 15, 1999
Trade your way to Fiancial Freedom is an absolutely transcending book on the stock market that leads you into an incredible amount of information that remains terribly succinct. Dr. Tharp introduces the idea that the "holy grail" of the market, is not in some secret book somewhere that's hidden and only given to "professionals", but the holy grail is inside yourself. Despite this reasonable truth, it still can be a long journey to find that in yourself and you're likely to return jaded without the aid of this book.
Dr. Tharp takes professionals in different areas of the market (from T.A. to Arbitrage) to elucidate points continuously throughout the book to give you an idea of what could be best for you. He foreshadows his ideas of position sizing until the very last chapter, which is the only spot where position sizing, TRUE position sizing, is going to make sense. If you're not using some sort of conscious position sizing, and Tharp warns that many have a misconception of position sizing initally anyways, you could be cutting yourself out of tremendous profits.
I recommend this book to anyone investing or considering investing. I'm almost sure it will teach most any knowledgeable (and novice) trader a number of things.
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on March 21, 2000
This book changed my life.
If you trade, then this book is the Light and the Way. I have traded and studied the markets for many years, but not until after reading this book was I able to form a clear, lucid picture of WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR SUCCESSFUL TRADING. Once you understand the importance of Psychology, Exits, and Position Sizing - all brilliantly covered here - then you will be on your way to success in the markets.
This book will set you free from the oppressive chains of Newsletters, Advisory Services, Tout Sheets, etc. The impact of the study on Random Entry is truly liberating, and that section alone is worth the price of admission.
If you read this book carefully, it will forever change your views on trading and the markets.
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on May 14, 2001
After reading about Tharp in Market Wizards and reading all the glowing reviews here, I was very disappointed in this book. If you have read other books such as Oneill's How to Make Money In Stocks and Lefevre's Reminiscences of a Stock Opertor much of this information is a rehash. In fact the author mentions these other books often. It also seemed to be an advertisement for his other more expensive books and seminars. I was drawn to the book because I wanted to get inside the head of a trader. To find out why I was making good or bad trades from a psychological basis. This book offered almost none of that. There are better books out there if you're looking for a trading system.
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