From the October 01, 2009 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

The Daily Trading Coach: 101 Lessons for Becoming Your Own Trading Psychologist

The Daily Trading Coach:
101 Lessons for Becoming Your Own Trading Psychologist
By Brett N. Steenbarger
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
$45.00, 346 pages

The deeper we move into the 21st century, the more accepting we become of the notion that we truly can control how we act and react to the world. Specifically, in the trading world, a whole industry is growing up around this concept because many are coming to understand that successful trading is less about the markets themselves and more about how a trader acts and reacts to the markets. “The Daily Trading Coach” by Brett Steenbarger quite naturally falls into place with the overall cultural trend and the trend in trading toward psychological self-retraining.

With the simple and non-linear construction of the book, you can simply learn what you need to learn, when you need to learn it. You don’t have to read the book from front to back to gain insight for your particular needs. This is the fundamental premise behind the book, which is an incredibly important aspect of successful trading: that you can mentor yourself to success in the financial markets.

Steenbarger goes a long way to supporting his premise and helping you remake your trading mindset with problem identification, clarification, and mental exercises. Each chapter is an in-depth explanation of the mental lesson, complete with examples and a resource section to follow up on things you deem particularly helpful. An interesting sidebar to the book is that Steenbarger writes with an implicit premise that might well be another important key to trading success — better people make better traders. The contents of each lesson are easily adapted to how we live our lives, how we act and react as people. For example, three lessons are titled “The Importance of Feeling Good,” “Build your Happiness” and “Cultivate the Quiet Mind.” Without a doubt, many of us could stand to read, learn, and practice these life lessons.

The book reflects Steenbarger’s extensive background in mental coaching, trading, psychology, and teaching. He has authored two other books on trading psychology, he coaches hedge fund traders, he is an associate professor at SUNY-Syracuse and he holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, all excellent credentials for the author of a book that goes down this heady path.

One might expect a book such as this to be somewhat dense and inaccessible. It is neither. Although the book reads with a textbook flow, his writing style makes it a textbook you might have liked when you were in school. If you falter at times in your trading because of emotional/mental errors, this book will help you get what you want.

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