What is the Forex MBA?
The Forex MBA is a list of books that I think contain a vast treasure trove of information that any trader should find of interest.
A master’s degree, such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration) is an advanced degree that is generally only undertaken by someone who already has a thorough understanding of the subject at hand. In the same sort of vein, I am aiming this book recommendation list at those who would consider themselves to be traders with moderate or advanced knowledge of the subject. This is not to say that a beginner trader would not be able to benefit from the information in these books, but they might not get the same amount of benefit that someone slightly more experienced would.
Maybe I should really call it my MFT (Master of Forex Trading) booklist, but I doubt that many people would readily recognise the MFT acronym!
The books cover a broad spectrum of topics and are aimed at helping the reader become a better person as well as a better trader.
Master forex trading without spending a fortune
While books are not the only way to learn a new skill or acquire new knowledge, they are a great way to learn on your own time and at your own pace. They are also affordable and can be bought and read in a piecemeal fashion.
Why were these particular books chosen?
When you browse the list of books below you might be mildly surprised at how many of them seemingly have nothing to do with trading at all. This is true; quite a few of the books are not trading books at all.
There is a very important reason for their inclusion.
When you first begin to learn about trading there are at least two things that you quickly find out about the markets. The first is that the markets are just made up of other people, traders just like you, and secondly, that the markets never stay the same for long. Change is a constant in the markets; the dynamics and temperament of any market changes and fluctuates with time.
You have to be aware that the markets can alter so that you can spot the changes and adapt both you and your trading plan to the newly prevailing conditions. If your trading plan is simple and robust then these adaptations will probably be minor tweaks rather than wholesale changes.
In addition to the market influencing changes in your trading, as you become a better trader you’ll be changing. Extra knowledge and experience will hopefully improve you, moving you along the path of greater success.
Just as important as becoming a better trader is becoming a better, more rounded human being. If you seek to constantly improve yourself, in all aspects of your life, then this will lead to additional, probably unforeseen, benefits to your trading prowess.
The non-trading books on this list are a way for you to start that process of personal development. A way for you to expand your mind in directions you probably had never thought beneficial to your trading activities.
How does reading all these books differ from being taught to trade in an official program?
Since there is no official training program offered by any of the traditional higher educational institutions such as universities or colleges, you are left with either enrolling in one of the many private trader training programs or learning on your own.
If you are just starting out on your trading journey then I would recommend that you learn the basics before tackling all of the books listed below. If you are interested in forex (foreign exchange) trading then a great place to go to school is BabyPips.
What these books are not.
What you won’t get from reading these books is any holy grail or secret trading strategy. There is no easy, one size fits all prize on the quest for trading success. No matter what way you look at it, you still have to do the hard work to become who you want to be. If you want to be a successful, profitable trader then you have to work towards that goal. If your determination, motivation and drive are strong enough then you will get there.
How were the books selected?
The books were chosen out of my own book collection. These are some of the interesting and thought-provoking books I have read since I began on my trading journey. It is by no means an exhaustive list of great books, just ones that I have come across and thought to be worthy of recommending to others.
The list of books is not organised in any particular manner. It is just grouped together by category.
Feel free to read the books in any order that strikes your fancy.
Now, onto the books themselves:
The Spirituality of Success
by Vincent M. Roazzi
One of the hardest parts of any new journey is taking the first step. Vincent Roazzi will plant the vital seed that you can achieve whatever you want. His own personal story will inspire you and you’ll come to understand how success is not logical. This is a great book that covers many aspects of the remarkable universe that we live in and how we can harness our own drive and passion, while learning to avoid the many pitfalls in our path.
One of the best things about this book is that it will peak your interest in many other topics and subjects. It’s a great springboard to being introspective and honest with yourself, while also opening up your mind to the great possibilities that exist all around us. Your curiosity will be tickled and you’ll want to blaze your own path in the search for further knowledge. You’ll have questions about many different topics that you’ll be interested in exploring answers to.
Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill
This book is a classic in the field of personal development. At its core Napoleon Hill tells us how the most powerful instrument we have for making change in our own lives is the power of our own mind. The content is as relevant and insightful today as it was when it was first written almost a century ago.
The Blond Knight of Germany
by Raymond F. Toliver and Trevor J. Constable
Erich Hartmann is the Ace of all Aces. His unsurpassed record of 352 kills flying against the Russians on Germany’s Eastern Front during World War II is a stunning achievement.
What is even more remarkable is Hartmann’s story after the end of the war. Handed over to the Russians by US forces he spends a decade imprisoned in various notorious Soviet gulags. What keeps him going is the love for his wife and the chance that he might be reunited with her one day.
It is a tale of modern chivalry, bravery, humility and love. A great source of inspiration which shows the strength of the human spirit.
The Way of the Warrior-Trader
by Richard McCall
At first glance it seems hard to fathom that the way the Japanese samurai warrior used to live could teach us anything about the modern world of electronic trading. Richard McCall does an excellent job in distilling the values and principles by which the samurai warrior lived their life and makes it startling relevant to how you can fashion yourself into a calm, focused, dedicated trader.
He helps you understand how to harness your bedrock of motivation and build on it to turn your aspirations of success into reality. He teaches you a simple acronym that is at the heart of his plan of action. From this simple word he is able to expand out a string of easily memorable phrases that you are able to use to move forward with your physical, mental and spiritual training.
I have to add a strong caveat to this recommendation: Richard McCall was charged and convicted by the CFTC in 2006 for fraud and trading irregularities. I am not pulling my recommendation mainly due to the fact that the book was written in 1997, well before Richard McCall ever started trading or selling his trading services. The book is written by a martial arts expert looking to impart the mindset, discipline and ways of the samurai as a template that can be used in the trading arena.
Weekend Millionaire Mindset
by Mike Summey and Roger Dawson
If you’re planning on making a lot of money it can sure help to learn from people who have been there and done that. The personal life stories of the authors contained in this book certainly inspired and motivated me. The anecdotes and advice they offer can help you to evaluate and redirect your life in the way that you want to take it. You will learn that everything you need to accomplish your definition of success is contained within you. You are the only one who can change things.
Crunching the Numbers
Fooled By Randomness
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The very act of what randomness means is almost impossible for most people to comprehend. We kind of understand what randomness is, but have a hard time picturing what it truely is. What does randomness really look like? This difficulty generally stems from the nature of how our brains are hard-wired: we seek to identify patterns and order in everything around us.
Coming to grips with randomness is therefore going against something fundamental at the heart of what makes us function as human beings. This makes it hard for us to really see the inherent randomness in the markets, both the way that price moves and the events that impact on price.
It’s no coincidence that many a trading system has pattern recognition at its heart. Spotting those patterns is something that we are good at; the more familiar we become with charts the easier it becomes to spot those tell-tale patterns. Unfortunately, the randomness of events seems to have a way of rendering the predictive power of those patterns useless.
Coming to accept and embrace randomness is an essential step on the path to trading enlightenment.
Trading in the Zone
by Mark Douglas
While many people consider Trading in the Zone to be a great book on trading psychology, I think it’s greatest asset is in helping the reader to really understand the impact that probability has in the world of trading. We have no way of knowing the future, and so it is only through a thorough understanding of probability that we have any chance of putting together and following a trading plan that will lead us to consistent profits.
History Repeating Itself
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
by Edwin LefÃ¨vre
Written almost a century ago, this book tells the thinly disguised biography of Jesse Livermore, a speculator who moved onto Wall Street after being thrown out of the New England bucket shop due to his winning ways. The initial seed of almost any piece of modern trading advice can be sourced back to this seminal trading book. The trend is your friend. Let your winners run and cut your losses. They’re all here.
The book’s protagonist goes from boom to bust and back again many times over. You’ll come to know the emotions and drama of making it big and then losing it all again. Intertwined throughout the text is sage trading advice that many generations of successful traders have lived by. It should come as no surprise then that this book is considered a classic amoungst the investment literary canon.
Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders
by Jack D. Schwager
The New Market Wizards: Conversations with America’s Top Traders
by Jack D. Schwager
If you had the chance to meet and ask questions of some of the greatest traders of our time, what would you ask them?
While many of us will never the get the opportunity to do this, Jack Schwager has, and the results of his interviews are contained in these two books. A broad range of traders are interviewed and so a wide array of useful advice is offered as they discuss their past successes and failures.
The pro traders make it clear time and time again that it takes dedication and hard work to make it as a successful trader. There are no silver bullets or holy grails.
Bird Watching In Lion Country
by Dirk du Toit
The foreign exchange markets are a complex and wild beast. You must arm yourself with the knowledge of how the market functions. Who are the participants that make up the market? What drives the price of currencies?
The entanglement of price action, events (both macro-economic and global) and time are unfurled for you to grasp how the many parts of the forex marketplace are meshed together.
I have also previously written a more in-depth review of BWILC and its impact on my forex trading.
Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis
by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin
Nothing ever seems to last forever. This includes empires of which the United States seems to have transmogrified into over the past century. Through vivid descriptions of empires past, including the mighty Roman Empire, the American empire is shown to be what it truly is.
The trouble is that the new empire already seems to be in trouble, with a financial system spiraling out of control – a massive trade deficit, an ever expanding government with an insatiable appetite for debt, consumers who seem unable and unwilling to save, a string of financial bubbles, and a runaway military complex.
The initial virtues of personal liberty, economic freedom, and fiscal restraint bestowed by the founding fathers on a newly nascent country seem to have been steamrolled into the ground. What does this mean for America’s future?
The Creature from Jekyll Island
by G. Edward Griffin
Money has a long and extremely interesting history. If you’re trading currency then it certainly makes sense to study the history of currency. Why did we move from pure barter to precious metals as a store of value? What exactly is fractional reserve banking? How does a pure fiat currency system work?
You’ll uncover the murky underworld of central banks, including the creation of the current US Federal Reserve Bank, America’s fourth central bank.
It’s a real rollercoaster journey, full of economic booms and busts, secretive deals, boneheaded politicians, greed and wars aplenty.
Knowing the underpinnings of the various monetary systems in use today and how they broadly function is invaluable knowledge in trading the currency markets.
The Strangeness of Being
Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics
by Gary Zukav
If there is anything in this list of books that will truly expand your mind in ways you would not have thought possible it is Dancing Wu Li Masters. This book is a layman’s introduction to the world of quantum physics, a world so fascinating and bizarre that you see the world in a completely different light once you know about it.
Most people think that quantum physics is a subject so far beyond them that there is no chance that they’ll ever understand it. Don’t be one of them. All the concepts that Gary Zukav details are easy to grasp, even if they do result in a universe more beautiful and strange than you had ever probably contemplated before.
While there is no explicit link, the author also comments on the interesting parallels between quantum physics, a modern science, with some of the ancient teachings from the Far East.
The Holographic Universe
by Michael Talbot
This is another book that will question the way you look at the world. You’ll learn about the emerging holographic paradigm in science which draws on the fields of both quantum physics and neuroscience.
The book discusses how the holographic paradigm may provide a rational basis for interpreting a wide variety of phenomenon located around the fringes of established science. The author looks to construct a bridge between traditional science and spirituality.