I’ve read a whole lot of trading books over the years. At this point there isn’t much that really gets me excited when going through a new one. I have to say, though, that The Inner Voice of Trading: Eliminate the Noise, and Profit from the Strategies That Are Right for You by Michael Martin is very much an exception. From very early on it grabbed my attention and kept it.
I was not familiar with the author before reading the book, so aside from the obvious trading psychology focused implied by the title, I really didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a very engaging discussion of many aspects of the mental side of trading. Martin combines anecdotes from his own trading with wisdom from some of the Market Wizards, among others, into a very worthwhile read.
Know yourself, trade to your personality
The two major themes of The Inner Voice of Trading are that you need a trading methodology which suits your personality and that successful traders are very conscious of their own emotional states. The former is something you hear quite often (and rightly so). The latter takes things a little beyond the usual “be disciplined” type of trading psychology dogma into the realm of emotional intelligence. Martin makes the point that developing traders spend too much time focusing on mechanics and external education, and not nearly enough time cultivating their internal tools.
Develop a meditation routine
The author is clearly a fan of meditation as a way to develop emotional intelligence. He talks about it throughout the text. His own personal meditative practice seems to be yoga oriented, but he also talks about other forms of mediation. For example, one of the traders he mentions runs as his meditative exercise. The point is to do something both to develop your emotional self-awareness and to put yourself in the right mindset for the trading day. In many ways you can think of it like the pre-game routine athletes use to prepare for competition. The idea and intent is the same, though obviously the methods vary considerably.
My one little gripe with the book is its lack of structure. There are chapters, but the subject matter tends to wind around, back and forth. It’s a relatively short book, and and easy read, though. Overall, I think The Inner Voice of Trading is very worth while and I would recommend it just about any trader.
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