Come take a peek into what I have in my library.
Not just my trading library, but my complete library.
Let’s start off with a few quotes.
“A man’s reading program should be as carefully planned as his daily diet, for that too is food, without which he cannot grow mentally.” – Andrew Carnegie
“Poor people have big TV’s. Rich people have big libraries.” – Jim Rohn
The Transformative Power of Books
When I first started out, I didn’t read very much. I was young and thought I knew everything. And I had trouble understanding what I read, and actually had to sit there looking up words in a dictionary. Needless to say it was frustrating and very time consuming.
Nowadays, I interpret information flow super fast.
But there were days it was not always so.
Interpretation of information flow is an acquired skill. It’s NOT a talent. I was not born with it. I was forced to develop it.
Part of it was consciously choosing to develop it. Other times it was just a byproduct of my complete obsession with trading.
Just as I did not realize the importance of a reading program in my early years, the same thing happens with traders, and those people who are broke, poor, and in the middle class. They are desperate for new ideas and new perspectives that can revolutionize their lives, though they may not know it yet.
Some of the best ways for those new ideas are from books, despite the rise in digital news and articles, etc. Books provide a complete story and argument and background. This is something that an article can’t always provide. Books can be condensed into a page or two of key insights. However, sometimes you may not be able to understand those insights without the background information contained in the book. That is why a good book is so powerful. it contains the insights you seek, and the background information to understand it. As Mark Zuckerberg said: “I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.”
You don’t just become what you think about, you become what you read about. When I started achieving some of the goals I developed from reading, I got very excited and figured out that I could plan my reading to achieve bigger goals. So a special thanks must be given to all the authors out there, and the news reporters who do a fabulous job of accurately recording the developments of the day.
Now back to books and my library.
Categories of Reading
I don’t just read trading books. That formed the bulk of my reading in my early years. I felt it was important to develop a very strong trading foundation from which I could go then branch out and do other things.
Here are all the categories that I read about:
Trading / Investing: This category is separated into roughly three sections.
There is the top tier “A” trading bookshelf. The books in here are the classics that contain what I believe to be the most powerful trading ideas that last a lifetime and contain ideas that can be used to generate profits every year – no matter whether it is a booming economy, recession or depression. Some of the books on this shelf include works such as: Market Wizards series, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, The Alchemy of Finance, Soros on Soros, Inside the House of Money, More Money Than God, etc. Typically these books include some form of global macro trading.
There is a second tier of “B” trading books. These are still good trading books, just not as elite as the top tier.
Then there is the third tier of “C” trading books.
The reason why there are three tiers of books, is because it shows my progression to the truth of the markets. I can see the wide spectrum of inefficiencies that the various traders and investors profit from. I can see the different strategies they employ. That allowed me to better choose.
The other reason is because I can compare them. I can read a book like Reminiscences of a Stock Operator and The Alchemy of Finance and compare them to one of the “lesser” trading books. This was hugely important to my development as a trader. It allows me to both draw connections between things and also to get to the truth faster.
Do not underestimate the power of seeing your trading progression. There is massive value and joy in seeing yourself progress to ever higher levels on the Trading Profit Ladder.
Biographies: I read biographies and autobiographies of both traders and also business people, political people, religious leaders, athletes, military leaders, etc. I recommend reading a biography or two of George Soros, A Worthy Messenger, Napoleon, Howard Hughes.
Spirituality/Consciousness/Meditation/Metaphysics: These form the third pillar of trading success. The purpose of these books is to be able to clear my mind to focus on what really matters. To allow me to better figure out the CAUSE of things, in order to attain the effects that I desire. To be able to tap into ideas that I would otherwise be able to. Various good books in this category include: The Trick to Money is Having Some, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness, When Nothing Works Try Doing Nothing, and Love.
Personal Development Books: These are also separated into various “tiers.” Some of the books on the top tier include: Looking Out For #1, Action!, The 5 Major Pieces of the Life Puzzle, The New Psycho Cybernetics, The Success System That Never Fails, Think, and Think and Grow Rich With Peace of Mind.
Business Books / Leadership / Negotiation, etc: Parts of trading and life can be thought of as a business. As a corporation. How is your corporation working out for you? These books allow me to get better at building up the business of various parts of my life. A few good books in this category are: How To Get Rich, No B.S. Wealth Attraction, How To Be Rich.
Nutrition/Health: As Buddha said: “To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” It seems the trading journey tests so many different parts of life. I have had various health problems that I have had to overcome, with a few that seemed very life threatening. Some of the books that have helped me are: Super Immunity, Anatomy of an Illness, Pain Free.
Fiction: Some people think fiction doesn’t play a strong role in life. It most certainly does! We need entertainment and a way to live vicariously through the lives of others. I don’t read as much fiction as I would like, but I do get to a few books of these every year. There was one fiction book that I read over the past few years, that changed my life trajectory in a certain part of my life, in a massively better way.
So there you have it – the categories in what I call “My Golden Library.” In fact, let that be one of the things you should leave behind as a legacy. You have your pictures, your journals, your achievements, etc, and also leave behind the books in your library that helped you to become the person you are.
A Diverse Library
Ask yourself: How big and diverse is your library?
The reason I developed this was because I realized that success in trading is not “just” about the trading process and systems. It is not just about position sizing. There can be so many unanswered questions about various things in life, that, if solved, would turbocharge trading profits.
If left unanswered, they can haunt you. They gnaw at you. Taunt you. They can sabotage your efforts to succeed at trading. They prevent a proper commitment to trading that is required. It can be a good idea to dedicate time to solve these challenges.
Find out what these unanswered questions are. Make a concerted effort outside of normal market hours to solve them. Answers do exist. Search and you shall find.
I am a serious student of anything and everything that can possibly give me a slight edge in life and trading. After all, the difference between not making any money and making +10%, +50%, or +100% in a year or a month, can just be one good trade. Just one good trade using leverage. George Soros was able to generate a decent profit for the year in the aftermath of humongous losses in the 1987 stock market crash, because he found one good trade to short the U.S. dollar with leverage.
Another reason is because you don’t want to start from a blank piece of paper. Staring at a blank piece of paper when trading or writing or doing anything is very intimidating. It helps to have some kind of template, blueprint, and raw material in your mind to work with. As Steve Jobs said: “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” A lot of my trading habits are designed so that I don’t have to be starting from a blank slate in analyzing the market action.
You Don’t Have To Read Them All
Here is a confession: I haven’t read over half the books in my library. But that’s okay. I feel smarter just walking in to it.
Even though I haven’t read over half of them, every month I keep buying more. Some books I just buy for the title. It may have a good title that inspires me and gives me ideas.
In fact, whenever I embark on a new important goal, I typically go out and buy books on it. One time I bought 20 books on a subject. I only ended up reading about half of them and the problem was solved in a marvelous way. Who cares that I spent $200 extra on books that I never read, and probably never will? On to the next adventure in life.
There is a certain positive energy that is put out when you invest in yourself. So when I buy books, I do it because I do expect to read some of them and extract the insights and put them into action. But another reason is because I feel just spending and investing money in myself, moves me forward in life.
Bulk Up Your Mind
Most people may have not read a book since high school or college. Don’t make or continue that mistake.
Put yourself on a consciously designed reading plan. Tell yourself: These are the 6 most important things I desire to do, and these are the books that I believe can move me forward, and read them. Of course, skill is required in interpreting what you read. I would like to develop my own program for that someday, but in the meantime, check out How To Read A Book.
Trading is an intellectual game. A game of interpreting information flow.
As Steve Cohen described his trading:
“I combine lots of information coming at me from all directions with a good feel for how markets are moving to make market bets.”
And as Jim Rogers talked about working with George Soros in the 1970’s:
“At the time I worked most intensely, I really knew an enormous amount about what was going on in the world, just about everything that any single human could.”
If your trading is not where you think it should be, it could be because you are not embracing this element of the information flow in the markets. The traders stuck in this stage are usually only using chart and price patterns and technical indicators. They are usually very hesitant about embracing the information flow. They think it is not important to know the “why” of market movements. I know I had a rough time with this as well. But that was only because I did not know the shortcuts and strategies that I know now.
On a final note, I do not know your unique situation and desires, but I reckon that if you commit to reading some of these books listed above over the next year, you will most likely experience such an awakening and explosion in your knowledge, ambition, vision and perception of the breathtaking possibilities around you.
P.S. If you desire the trading success of the “top tier” trading books, there is a faster way than trying to figure it all out by yourself. Invest in the Order Flow Mastery Course.