Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter (View On-Line)
My Favorite Non-Fiction, Non-Trading Books by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
Workshops Held Only Once Each Year (in the US)
Market Volatility: Key Price Zones for Bulls or Bears by D. R. Barton, Jr.
Are You Ready to Take Your Trading to the Next Level?
In January, we will be presenting two of our Foundation Workshops at our offices in Cary, NC. Van calls these "Foundation" workshops because they provide certain core material that you must master to become a great trader.
The Blueprint for Trading Success workshop is a complete structured program that will launch you to a more advanced skill level in your trading. You’ll learn seventeen focused, strategic steps to will help you create the kind of trading results you want. We regularly hear from students that they know planning is important but they’re not sure where to start and in some cases, they don’t even know what a trading business plan should look like. Hint – it should not look like a “typical“ business plan. You’ll leave this workshop with a template in hand to guide your trading business’s development and your personal growth as a trader.
In the How to Develop a Winning Trading System workshop, we'll teach you one of the real secrets of long term trading success — how to design or modify trading systems so they fit your beliefs, personality, and resources. Learn all of the building blocks and the process for putting them together into robust systems that can trade stocks, futures, currencies, or options and that can make 50 trades per year or 50 trades per day. This workshop thoroughly prepares you to develop systems when you need to adjust to changes in the markets or to changes in your circumstances.
Plus, Just Announced: Forex and Bear Market Workshops in May!
To register or to see our full workshop schedule, click here.
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My Favorite Non-Fiction, Non-Trading Books
My staff asked me to put together a list of my favorite non-fiction, non-trading books. I have a library at my house with several thousand such books, so picking just a few favorites from them is not very easy. In fact, you could take just a single topic, like NLP or Spiritual Growth, and I could probably come up with 10-15 books for each and every category. I decided to pick my favorite 15 overall — and actually, some of these are book sets. Also, many of these are recommended - if not required reading for the Super Trader Program.
So I’ll list my 15 favorite, not in order of preference but by category. Titles in bold are those books most likely to help you really transform.
Spiritual Books That Will Help You Move Toward Awakening
1) A Course in Miracles Channeled by Jesus through the scribe Helen Schucman (who was a Jewish Psychology Professor, lol). This book is actually made up of three works and the only one I really recommend you read is the workbook with 365 lessons. You do one lesson each day for 365 days, however, I must admit that I have done the course at least three times and I have never managed to complete it in a year. By lesson 75 you will begin to notice a major change in your life.
2) The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Reynard. I took four years to work through the lessons in A Course in Miracles. When someone presented me with this book much later, I read it and said, “A Course in Miracles said that?” And then Gary Reynard actually showed up in my area to give a one day workshop which I attended. That happened right after I had read his book and I have seen no sign that he has been back here since that time. All of this is interesting synchronicity. In any case, I had completely missed some major points in ACIM according to Gary’s book and thus I soon did the 365 lessons again. Thus, I recommend that you read The Disappearance of the Universe before you do the workbook lessons in A Course in Miracles.
3) A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie. When you read this book, you’ll understand how an awakened person thinks and that is a rare gift. In this book, Katie’s husband, Steven Mitchell, translates selections from the Tao Te Ching and then Katie elaborates on what those points mean to her. I had no trouble reading this book but I’d had many years of experience doing A Course in Miracles prior to that. If you find this reading this book to be difficult, then first do the 365 lessons in the workbook of A Course in Miracles.
4) A Course In Love Channeled by Jesus through Mari Perron. This book came many years after Helen Schucman had died and it came through a different source. And this one you have to read. ACIM is about changing your thinking, this one is about changing your heart. Because you must read this text, I recommend that you do this one only after you are awake or have completed the 365 lessons from ACIM.
More Spiritual Books (But Different From The First Class of Books)
5) The Secret of Quantum Living by Frank Kinslow. I was sitting in one of Ken Long’s technical workshops when someone approached me and said he had just read a book that was the secret to everything. I said okay and he told me about this book. Since this man tended to read a book a day, he asked me the next day how I liked it and of course, I hadn’t even started reading it. When I did read it, however, I thought he might be right about it being the secret to everything. In this case, I’m going to recommend listening to this book on Audible rather than buying the text version. Why? Because the audio book provides a whole set of exercises that are not in the book — and those exercises are the key to Kinslow’s material.
6) Power versus Force by David Hawkins. I don’t like all of Hawkins books, but I love this one. And while I don’t know how true his model of human consciousness is, I find it very useful and thus I recommend this book. The first five books listed above have the power to really transform you. This one is good, but it only contains useful concepts on how to think about consciousness.
7) The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. So let’s go back to books that will really transform you. This is one. It focuses on the topic of gratitude and contains a 28 day program that will change your life. I require people to complete this book in the follow up program after our Peak Performance 203 workshop.
8) The Five Levels of Attachment by Don Miquel Ruiz Jr. If you read this book, it will totally change how you think about beliefs. I don’t know that there are enough exercises in it to change your life but this book is very, very interesting. When you understand how attached we can become to our beliefs and the impact of that attachment, you’ll understand why people can kill others because of their beliefs.
9) Why We Believe What We Believe by Dr. Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman. This is not a book about transformation but it is one of the most comprehensive texts on the topic of beliefs that I have every read. And it really illustrates how your reality is made up of your beliefs.
10) Strategies of Genius — Volumes I, II, and III by Robert Dilts. In this three-volume set, Robert Dilts modeled the genius of some of the great legends of the past. These include (in Volume 1) Aristotle, the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes, Walt Disney, and Wolfgang Mozart. Volume 2 is devoted to entirely to Einstein. And Volume 3 covers Sigmund Freud, Leonardo da Vinci, and Nikola Tesla. I personally believe this work shows the genius behind NLP modeling.
11) NLP Going Meta: Advanced Modeling using Meta Levels by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. This book isn’t for everyone and without a lot of background in NLP, it will be pretty hard to understand. In addition, Dr. Hall’s writing style leaves a lot to be desired, however, it is my favorite book on NLP Modeling. In my opinion, modeling is what NLP is all about.
12) The Big Book of NLP Expanded by Shlomo Vaknin. Again, this isn’t easy reading but the author presents more than 350+ NLP techniques and methodologies. So if you want a sourcebook for NLP, this is probably it.
Other Favorite Books
13) You'll See It When You Believe It by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Wayne Dyer has written many books and this is definitely my favorite. This is an easy read with the potential to transform you.
14) Resurfacing by Harry Palmer. The basic Avatar course is nine days long and this book contains the first three days of the course. It has many transformational exercises that I highly recommend. While there are some aspects of Avatar that I do not like (I’ve taken the basic course twice, the master course once, and the wizard course twice), you can’t go wrong by spending some time with this particular book. Palmer’s other basic book, Living Deliberately is also a favorite of mine.
15) Conversations with God — Books 1, 2, and 3 by Neale Donald Walsch. I found these books useful not for the information they contained but for their statement that anyone can have a conversation with God. At first I didn’t believe it, but now I have regular written conversations with my Inner Guidance and that’s something anyone can do. I like these three books as evidence for that.
Combo Discounts available for all back-to-back workshops!
See our workshop page for details.
Key Price Zones for Bulls or Bears
The markets have grown jumpy again over the last few weeks. The S&P 500’s 14-day Average True Range (ATR) volatility measure has doubled over the last ten trading days!
The S&P cash index was down 5.1% from its Dec. 5 high and for intraday traders, the ride has been interesting with multiple tradable trends (mixed among some neck-snapping reversals…). For swing traders, however, the series of schizophrenic large up and large down swings have been whipsawing positions with wild two day excursions.
As is usual during periods of expanding volatility, swing traders need to be nimble; but this week, they may also be scratching their heads for some short-term directional clues. I thought it would be useful at this point to show a few sign posts that would show when the bears or the bulls have won some near-term battles. For that, let’s go the charts.
The Bears Win the Next Battle If…
This market is moving strongly in one direction for half a day and then pushing even harder the other way for the rest of the day. For the last few days, the bears have had the upper hand. They passed the first hurdle near the close of trading on Tuesday:
We see the first hurdle that many analysts had their eyes on: the 0.382 retracement level of the move from the October 15th low to the December 5th highs.
How will we know if the sellers will garner more before the end of the year? If they can pass the next hurdle. On the chart, we see that at the confluence of the 200 day simple moving average and the 50% retracement level at around the 1950 level. This should prove to be a strong support area — if price can make it down there.
The Bulls Take Control Again If…
In the near term, the market is very oversold and a rebound could reasonably be expected. The telling factor will be how strongly the market rebounds. Let’s see what levels could signal that the bulls have climbed back in the driver seat:
In this chart, we see two blue boxes around previous consolidation zones, one for the most of November and the second for late November/early December. When the index broke below each of these two areas, sellers appeared in force.
If price can climb back into the lower zone, the bulls will have held off the bears but we could end up consolidating sideways from there for quite some time. If we can make it back into the upper zone, however, then the bulls will be clearly back in control and new all-time highs will likely follow.
As always, I love to hear here your feedback. Send your thoughts and suggestions to drbarton “at” vantharp.com
Great trading and God bless you,
Integrating Our Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Selves
The book "Trading Beyond the Matrix" contains numerous profound insights on many levels.
I think one of the most transformational insights for me personally is in understanding and personally experiencing the importance and interconnection of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual facets. We live in a culture which tends to view ourselves and our state of consciousness as separate somehow from our ability to create and function in the world. Additionally our culture supports the notion that our emotions and mental states just sort of happen to us. There are some movements toward changing that perception, but nonetheless a lot of the messages we've been given say that we are basically just victims of our thoughts and feelings. That they are beyond our control.
This book paints a very different picture. Showing us instead how it is indeed more than possible to take the reins and exert a significant degree of control in choosing our state of being. And how the integration of ourselves as spirit, mind and body is what allows us to function at our very best. The stories and the information presented speak of an important paradigm shift; bringing to light the real fact that as we positively change our state of being we become, in fact, far more effective in all realms, I have come to understand that as we grow into a deeper awareness of who we really are and choose how we really want to be we are able to function much more powerfully.
Van frames these concepts the way an artist frames a painting of snow on the mountain behind your house. So that one suddenly notices the mountain and it's beauty; whereas before we may have walked past unseeingly. What was invisible, now becomes abundantly obvious; the way a pattern leaps out on a chart once you know what you are looking for. Chaos turning to order.
In light of this perspective, it becomes clear to me that my primary focus needs to be on my own state of consciousness. Building a foundation of my spiritual path, laid down with the way I carry myself in the minute to minute, day to day, year to year, present moment. Holding awareness of my heart, mind and soul and how I am BEING, here, now, rather than simply what I am doing.
This is an ongoing journey taken on many levels: Working with and changing my mental patterns and belief systems. Shifting my emotional habits. Releasing that which no longer serves me. Nurturing new and more useful beliefs and ways of conducting myself. Opening to that which is bigger than us all and by its nature shall remain nameless. Learning to let go of fear and to embrace Faith. Following the Call toward Connection with the entire Universe in its Glory. It is a journey as journeys often are, at times in fits and starts; now transcendent, now losing all perspective and falling flat. Advancing; retracing... But as Marianne Williamson once said of a Course in Miracles: "It works when I do it," and is perhaps the only journey which offers what we crave on the deepest level of our being.
Embracing this journey, life becomes as a Buddhist once said, "a Giant Biofeedback Device Allowing me to simply observe my choices and how they impact the results"; a lesson in 'reality', if you will. So I learn that, for instance, when I slip into fear-based thought patterns I may become rather stressed out. At which point, alas, my brain is not functioning well at solving the very problems which it is worried about, much less tackling any bigger picture issues! When I keep myself calm, energized and focused I become surprisingly efficient at any task before me. Including that of making good decisions, whether it be in managing a trade or in any other aspect of my life. When I am connected to my higher Soul-Purpose and living from my Heart I am able to create and share from a place of Joy and Ease and may even experience states of being such as Bliss.
My main motivation for learning to trade was, as directed by my soul, for the purpose of generating money [ i.e., power — in the positive sense here ]. This is to be used as leverage in an attempt to help improve the world. My biggest desire is to nudge us toward a world better for all. One to benefit future generations where support for personal and cultural realization is the norm. We cannot always know the effect we have had, or how much success we will contribute to during our lifetime. But I am drawn to do my part.
In the beginning I have to admit I was kind of embarrassed to be known as a trader. All the associated images of self serving greed, and uptight businessmen in suits on Wall Street came to mind. And it seemed somehow to be rather at odds with the picture I had of who I was. I have only gradually come to be more comfortable in this role. It is a curious thing to see it come around full circle to the realization that it is actually my own transformation; my spiritual, mental and emotional growth, clarity and healing, which will, in fact, allow me to succeed in this endeavor.
The trading "Metaphor" as Van calls it, is indeed a powerful arena of self exploration. Bringing us face to face with our fears, shame, attachment, desire, beliefs, values, self criticism, etc. I am having a grand time [replete with many useful challenges of course!], exploring the territory. The "Matrix" does a remarkable job of providing a set of guideposts, if you will, to help illuminate the journey. Offering many valuable tools in addition to considerable inspiration and fellowship along the way.
Amusingly now, I see, that it is not being the archetypal "uptight business man on Wall Street" which leads to our trading success. But rather finding peace — the calm within; the path of happiness, growth, and soul realization. Ultimately leading us not merely toward our success as traders but towards Joy and fulfillment on far deeper levels. To a place where our dreams may become not only possible but perhaps numinously probable.
So the unexpected occurs; We go down an avenue strangely unfamiliar and find only our truest self waiting at the end...
It is a journey which asks from us, of course, significant commitment and effort and yet paradoxically also just a simple letting go. Trusting in our Souls mission and the Divine Flow. Having Faith and the Courage to put one proverbial foot in front of the next. A journey ultimately of coming home to our SELF.
Enter the Matrix Contest
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We want to hear about the one most profound insight that you got from reading Van's new book, Trading Beyond the Matrix, and how it has impacted your life. If you would like to enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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