It’s been a few weeks now since I first received Brett Steenbarger’s new book Enhancing Trader Performance. At that point I was able to go over the first chapter, which was amazing. Until this weekend, though, I didn’t have the opportunity to progress any further. Over the last couple of days I finally gave it the attention it deserved. Now I’m wishing I’d just read it cover to cover when I first got it!
First, to keep things totally above board, let me state for the record that Brett Steenbarger wrote the forward to my book, The Essentials of Trading. He and I became acquainted through my editorial work with Trade2Win. When my book was near completion, I asked Brett to give it a look knowing that he was involved in trader training and development. The foreword followed from that.
Brett’s new book, Enhancing Trader Performance, is his second, following on the heels of his extremely successful and worthwhile initial release, The Psychology of Trading. I would not, though, call it a sequel. While the latter part of the new work does bring in major elements of what the first book covered, the majority of it has a quite different focus
Enhancing Trader Performance is primarily about developing trading expertise. As someone who has spent his fair share of time teaching and coaching on a variety of levels and in different theaters of pursuit, some of which were extremely competitive and performance oriented, I was immediately grabbed by Brett’s presentation. And it never let me go – literally pages of notes later.
This book may not be for everyone. It clearly has a bias which leans more toward the full-time and/or short-term trader than someone who traders longer-term and/or on a more part-time basis. This is a natural function of Brett’s work helping professional traders with their development and to overcome performance hurdles, along with his own personal efforts in the market, which are short-term in nature as well.
That said, there is still a ton of extremely useful material for any trader, new or experienced. Enhancing Trader Performance provides a sort of road map toward developing trading expertise. This isn’t about the mental part of actually making trades and managing positions. Rather it is more a discussion of how one becomes more than just a competent trader.
Coaching is a major theme, with Brett clearly being a proponent of traders having coaches who can assist them in their development similar to the way they would an athlete. I personally tend to disagree with the way he uses “coach” and “mentor” interchangeably as I consider the two to be different, but that does not detract from the overall message. Importantly, since it can be difficult for the individual trader to get in to a good coaching relationship, Brett shares plenty of tips and advice for how a trader can be their own coach.
The one major carryover from The Psychology of Trading is the use of the stories of actual people – either real or composite. They really help to drive home the points Brett is making, and in a fashion easily relateable by the reader.
In short, read this book if it is at all your objective to excel at trading. More than that, take your time and really absorb it. Read it once, then read it again. I know I will.