Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Sometimes a blog post isn't sufficient to properly address trading psychology challenges and ways of overcoming those.  Toward that end, I've written four trading psychology books that tackle different aspects of trading performance.  Below is a summary of each book and links:

This was my first book on trading psychology and illustrates how the problems impacting traders are variations of problems all of us face in our lives.  That means that tools and techniques that work for our personal development can facilitate our development as traders.  The Psychology of Trading introduces the idea of solution-focused work, which involves identifying hidden strengths and building upon those.  The book also introduced the notion of state-shifts--changes in our states of consciousness--as essential to changing our mind frames and our trading.  Among the topics addressed are intuition/implicit learning; making the most of crisis; changing repetitive patterns; and the use of dreams and hypnosis in self-discovery.

This book was written to explain how successful traders make the transition from being newbies to becoming elite market performers.  Key topics include moving from being a beginner to becoming a competent trader; ways in which competent performers become experts; the role of deliberate practice in trader development; cognitive and behavioral techniques for enhancing performance, the role of trading journals in developing performance, and strategies for skill development.  A major thesis of the book is that structuring your learning processes the right way can greatly increase the odds of your trading success.

By the time I was ready to write my third book for traders, I had considerable experience on a medical school faculty teaching psychology and psychiatry trainees how to conduct brief approaches to therapy.  That teaching--and the books that followed from it--led me to realize that much of what passed for "coaching" in the trading world was not consistent with up-to-date practice in the field.  The Daily Trading Coach takes evidence-based approaches to short-term change and makes them usable on a self-help basis.  The book is written as 101 lessons that cover everything from cognitive, behavioral, solution-focused, and psychodynamic techniques for change to methods for enhancing well-being.  A section also tackles ways in which we can coach our own trading businesses and develop our edges in markets.

My most recent book in trading psychology was the result of the recognition that traditional approaches to trading psychology and coaching simply were not working.  In this reworking of the field, I drew upon research in positive psychology to show how traders could more effectively adapt to changing markets; build on their strengths; cultivate creativity and the generation of sound trading ideas; and develop best practices that anchor robust trading processes.  A major focus of the book is the idea that distinctive trading success comes from distinctive cognitive and personality strengths.  By understanding and leveraging those strengths, we can maximize the odds of our success in markets.

This is *not* a book specific to trading psychology, but rather is the third volume of a textbook I co-edited about effective short-term techniques for change and how to employ those.  If you have an interest in being a coach or counselor, this book is an excellent reference volume, with chapters written by top experts in their fields.  My own chapter describes solution-focused brief therapy, which is the set of methods that I have found most helpful for traders.  In solution-focused work, we look for exceptions to problem patterns and the strengths that underlie those.  In identifying and building upon our strengths, we can often accomplish more than by remaining problem-focused.