Trading for a Living is a pack of four different books, but of similar design:
- The Best Trading Lessons of Jesse Livermore
- contains quotes from Jesse Livermore and a short translation/analysis from Frank Marshall for each
- Expert Trader: 93 Trading Lessons of Richard Wyckoff
- contains quotes from Richard Wyckoff and a short translation/analysis from Frank Marshall for each
- Secrets of Trading Performance
- a list of 10 principles to help you get in the mindset of a day trader
- Trading Essentials
- a list of 20 principles to help you get in the mindset of a day trader
On the surface of it, you might say that this is not a book at all, just a collection of random musings from Frank Marshall. However, it does offer a direct and clear entry in the world of trading. As a complete noob in the business, I thought it was useful, if only as a browse-through and a reference book.
While I may have the utmost respect for Livermore and Wyckoff, they were trading a century ago. Their insights, even translated by a modern trader, don't mean much, although the small explaining paragraph from Marshall at the end of each is concise and useful. However, the two small booklets at the end, with the 30 principles in total, are kind of gold. And not gold in the sense of "read those and you will get rich!", but because they are honestly telling you:
- trading is HARD, because it depends on you finding an edge over everybody else (you only win because someone else loses)
- trading is discipline, because you need to fight your own urges and emotions and follow an (ever evolving) strategy
- you need to keep your own mind, body and life in balance (he even recommends meditation and therapy)
- trading is a job, which needs to be done with the mind, not the heart
- most people losing big (the 90% that don't make it) usually enter trading with the wrong mindset: trying to prove something, gambling, fear, wanting to get rich fast, etc.
- trading is hard work: following the trends, interpreting the data, doing math and statistics, etc.
- you trade because you enjoy it, otherwise you won't make it
Bottom line: Frank Marshall is telling you NOT to pick up trading unless you are really into it. Even these relatively vague advice he gives is prefaced in every book by a disclaimer that you are not to follow it with the expectation that it will automatically make you win money. You need to put in a lot of work to even start making a dent and strong discipline is required to stop yourself from going in too deep and never coming back up.