From the December 01, 2007 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

The Complete TurtleTrader: The Legend, the Lessons, the Results

By Michael W. Covel

$25.95, 272 pages

Covel provides a thorough and accurate historical account of the Turtles from the start to the finish of this experiment. For those unfamiliar with the story, Richard Dennis was widely considered one of, if not the, most successful trader of his era, the 1980s. He and partner William Eckhardt disagreed whether trading is an inborn talent or something that can be learned. They proposed an experiment to discover which was true: the Turtle Project.

Covel begins with a description of the thinking behind the Turtle project and recaps the story of recruiting and training the first Turtles, including some of their thinking and experiences during and through the conclusion of the project, which Dennis ended without warning. Covel continues the story with a brief rendition of life for the Turtles after the project. A handful continued as professional traders. The most successful Turtle has been Jerry Parker of Chesapeake Capital. Covel spends a bit too much time on Parker, as interesting and successful as he has been. It would have been interesting if there had been more about the other Turtles post-project lives, but the lack thereof is not entirely Covel’s fault. Anyone who has had much contact with Dennis and the Turtles can attest to their almost paranoid secrecy about the project, and that clearly hindered Covel’s project.

Covel suggests that Dennis and the Turtles achieved a milestone in trading and not only established systematic trading as respectable, but also set the bar high. They ventured into new territory and encountered great success.

Read the book. There are some interesting trading pearls to be had. They are not identified as such, but they are there nonetheless. Enjoy it. I did.

Robert Pardo is the president of Pardo Capital Ltd., Group Ltd. and Analytics Ltd. He has worked as a trader, money manager, educator, analyst and software designer. Reach him at

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