Sometimes I have the feeling that I’m reading the same book over and over again. These books have different titles and different authors but say basically the same thing. I had that feeling with Jody Samuels’ The Trader’s Pendulum: The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Traders (Wiley, 2015).
Samuels is the founder of the FX Trader’s EDGE Coaching Program. As a promotion, she is offering a free 30-minute coaching session to those who purchase the book.
Perhaps one reason that books on how to act like a successful trader are so similar is that successful traders do in fact have similar routines. These routines may not be the sole reason they are successful (in fact, I’m sure they’re not), but without some of them at least, they probably wouldn’t be successful.
Samuels stresses that people should treat trading as a business and that, habit #1, they should establish their trading business for the right reasons. As habit #2, they should complete a business plan and, #3, define their goals. I’m not sure any of these actually qualify as habits, nor am I convinced they are essential first steps, but they can launch the process of acting like a trader.
Habit (or action) #4 is self-serving: commit to your education with a trading coach.
Habits ##5-8 are commonplaces: understand and exploit your unique trading personality, follow a system, plan the trade and trade the plan, and measure your performance.
To round things out, Samuels suggests that people learn the secrets of successful traders and that they add balance to their lives.
The strength of this book lies not in its to-do list but in its storytelling. Fred and Stacey are the fictional protagonists of the book. Fred exemplifies the ways we go astray in trading. Stacey is the entrepreneurial trader who illustrates how we should act if we aspire to join the ranks of the highly successful. It’s in these stories that readers will find the most useful advice. When, for instance, should traders stubbornly follow their plans, when should they be flexible? What should traders do when the market becomes narrowly rangebound?
For novice traders, Samuels’ book offers a lot of sound advice. For more experienced traders who haven’t yet joined the ranks of the highly successful, it’s a useful quick review. For jaded book reviewers, it’s—meh.