Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quick Book Looks: Resources for Traders

* TRAINING THE BRAIN - For a while now I've enjoyed the Sharp Brains blog, which focuses on the science and practice of brain fitness. Their book "The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness" consists of 18 interviews with practitioners and researchers in the field. It debunks a number of myths about optimizing brain function, with practical chapters on nutrition, stress management, exercise, and mental exercise/stimulation. My own chapter focuses on "Achieving Peak Performance in High-Pressure Professions"; other interesting topics include training the brain for attention span and lifelong learning.

* FINDING AN EDGE - High Probability ETF Trading by Larry Connors and Cesar Alvarez is a nice follow up to the earlier volume How Markets Really Work. Subtitled "7 Professional Strategies to Improve Your ETF Trading," this manual covers a number of tested historical patterns and trading rules. A worthy feature is that a range of ETFs are covered in the tests, including SPY, QQQQ, IWM, GLD, FXI, EEM, and quite a few sector ETFs. Many of the patterns involve buying weakness in a rising market and selling strength in a falling market. I suspect that at least some of the patterns might make useful starting points for the development of trading systems. A nice feature is that the strategies can be automated via TradeStation.

* MAKING FRIENDS OF TRENDS - Michael Covel's new edition of his popular book "Trend Following" takes an updated look at trend following strategies and the firms that trade them. It includes a chapter on market crashes and quite a bit of performance data relevant to trend following strategies. A new chapter on trend following in the stock market is also a worthwhile addition. It's interesting to see Covel's book juxtaposed with Connors' strategies (above); the takeaway surely has to be that there are many ways of making money in markets. The key is to find what best fits your own views and style.