Book Review: Trading From Your Gut by Curtis Faith

One of the books I put near the top of the pile in terms of practical usefulness is Way of the Turtle by Curtis Faith. Not only does is provide a view of Faith’s experience as one of the famous Turtles, but it also takes a good look at trading system design and development. In his new book, Trading from Your Gut: How to Use Right Brain Instinct & Left Brain Smarts to Become a Master Trader, Faith takes a different approach, one that would seem to contradict his earlier focus on systems. After all, instinct and gut feel would seem to be the complete opposite of system trading. It’s not really that simple, though.

At the core, Trading from Your Gut is about integrating the right-brain instincts and intuition you develop as a trader with the left-brain rational side from which systematic analysis and trading tends to flow. Faith spends a fair amount of time arguing for why that is important. In fact, the better part of the book could be said to fall into that area. The idea is that combining the two parts of your brain will make for much better results than either one on its own.

Now, having said that, Faith considers the swing trading timeframe the most optimal for trading with both sides of your brain. Real short-term trading, he contends, favors a more intuitive approach, while the timescales of long-term trade suit a more left-brain approach because there’s plenty of time to think things through rationally. It’s worth noting that an awful lot of traders seem to want to go the other way, make gut calls on long-term trades, but use mechanical systems for short-term trading.

If you’re looking for short-cuts to develop intuition, though, you’re out of luck. Faith tells you what you should already know – that you can only really do that by trading. That said, he does provide some tips for making the process more efficient and effective. There is, of course, a lot of trading psychology discussion in the book, which given the subject matter shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, Van Tharp wrote the foreword.

As much as I do believe this is a worthwhile subject, I think Faith had to do a lot of stretching to get it to be a book. There is clearly a lot of filler at the end to get close to the 200 page count, including a discussion of the forex book he has in the works. I think when you boil down to the meat of what he’s trying to get across you really only have a couple chapters. My personal feeling is that this material, at least as it is currently developed, would have been better off as a section on a more expansive book on trader development, or even trading systems.

My bottom line is that overall I came away a bit disappointed in a kind of “does not fulfill its potential” sort of way. I don’t think this was Faith’s best effort. It doesn’t disuade me from wanting to see what is next book offers, though.

Be sure to check out my full list of trading book reviews.

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About the Author
John Forman, author of this blog, has traded for more than 20 years, is a professional market analyst, and authored The Essentials of Trading. He is an active participant in trading forums, consults for trading related businesses, as published literally dozens of trading articles, and has been quoted in a number of books and in the media.
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