Van Tharpís Favorite Trading Books

I'm often asked "What are your favorite trading books?" Here I'll briefly describe my favorite trading books.  

I don't list them in any particular order because Iím not sure I can rank them that concisely.  Iíve ranked them alphabetically by author, except that three of the books are my own and Iíve included them at the end.  In addition, most of them are classics, so my description of each of them will be brief.

In most cases they are available for sale through our Amazon bookstore and links are provided. If not, a note will follow the description.

 Trading Coach Van Tharp

About Van K. Tharp


1) Easterling, Ed:  Unexpected Returns: Understanding Secular Stock Market Cycles.  Fort Bragg,  CA : Cypress House, 2005.   This is a self published book in which Ed does a masterful job of helping people get a major perspective of why the stock market will do what itís going to do.   If you want to understand the big picture, then this book is a must read.   Michael Alexanderís book, Stock Market Cycles is also a favorite book, but I only wanted to pick one book of this type, so this is the one I selected. Buy Unexpected Returns from Amazon

2) Faith, Curtis:   Way of the Turtle. New York : McGraw-Hill, 2007.  I was so impressed by it that I asked to write the foreword and I did. First, it paints a very clear picture of what is necessary for trading success.   Curtis says in very concise terms that itís not about the trading system.  Instead, itís about the traderís ability to execute the trading system. Secondly, it probably has the most lucid description of how some of the principles of behavior finance apply to and influence trading that Iíve ever read.  The third aspect is that I really like Faithís emphasis on game theory and using it to explain how a trader should think.  

All of this together with a number of stories about Curtisí experiences as a Turtle make it a very valuable read. Amazon ...

3) Graham, Benjamin.  The Intelligent Investor: The Classic Text on Value Investing.   New York: Harper, 1995.  Value investing is one of the best ways for the long term investor to beat the market.   This is the classic text of value investing and itís the essence behind much of what Warren Buffet does.  So if you have the desire to do this sort of investing, then this book is a must read. Amazon ...
4) LeBeau, Charles and David W. Lucas. The Technical Traderís Guide to Computer Analysis of the Futureís Market.   Homewood,  IL: Irwin, 1992.   Iíve been associated with Chuck for a long time and heís a presenter in our systems workshop.  And the reason he is a presenter is this book.   It probably does the best job of any book up to itís publication date of taking apart systems into components and showing you how to logically think about and develop systems. Amazon.

5) Schwager, Jack. Market Wizards.  New York: Institute of Finance , 1988. Jack Schwager interviews 16 of the top traders in the world (and he also interviewed me.)  This book, like no other until its sequel, really elucidates whatís important for trading success.   Iíve always said that trading success consists of the commonalities of what great traders do and how they think.   And if you want to learn that, then this book is the place to start. Amazon 

Audio version

6) Schwager, Jack.  The New Market Wizards.   New York: Harper Collins, 1992.   There are a lot more than 16 great traders and Schwager presents some more of them in this classic book.   I personally think the William Eckhardtís interview alone is worth the price of the book.  Amazon..
7) Wilder, Wells.   New Concepts in Technical Analysis.  Greensboro,  NC: Trend Research, 1978.   This is the oldest book on my list and Iíve included it because it is the original presentation of some of the classical tools of trading including ADX, ATR, and many other classics.  If you are not familiar with these concepts, now is the time to start and this is the book to start with.   Amazon ...

Books Authored by Van Tharp

8)  The Definitive Guide to Position Sizing Strategies:  How to Evaluate Your System and Use Position Sizing to Meet Your Objectives. 2nd ed  Cary, NC: IITM, 2013.  I think this one is a new classic. It includes how to measure the quality of your system objectively, no matter what style of trading you have or what instruments you trade.  It includes everything you could possibly want to know about how to use position sizing, depending upon the quality of your system, to meet your objectives.  Itís that simple and Iíve very excited about it. Only available through VTI.
Matrix9) Trading Beyond the Matrix: The Red Pill for Traders and Investors. Cary, NC: Van Tharp 2013. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is my favorite, individual book that I’ve written. My goals with Trading Beyond the Matrix were to write the ultimate psychological book, and to show the key inputs and outputs of successful traders: what people did and how they did it, then the results were. It’s my belief that if someone thoroughly studied all of the information in this book and had the discipline to follow through on the actions, they would be successful in the markets. From Amazon. From VTI.
10) The Peak Performance Course for Traders and Investor (5 books Iíll count as one).  Cary, NC: Van Tharp, 1989.   When I developed the Investment Psychology Inventory to measure strengths and weaknesses of traders, people started saying, ďI totally agree with your analysis, but how can I use this information to improve my trading.Ē   As a result, I wrote the home study course over a five year period to do just that.  The course should be must reading for anyone who is serious about trading or investing.   And if there is a number one choice among the all of these books, this set is it. Learn more...
11) Super Trader: Make Consistent Profits in Good and Bad Markets. Expanded Edition New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.  Transform yourself from a mild-mannered investor into a proactive trader who outperforms the markets! From Amazon.   From VTI.
12) Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom, 2nd Edition.  New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.  If you really want to understand systems and how to approach the markets, then this book is also a must read. From Amazon.   From VTI.





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Last revised: February 17, 2015