Book Review: A Trader’s First Book on Commodities

I was recently given the opportunity to read Carley Gardner’s new book, A Trader’s First Book on Commodities. I think Gardner, whose bio lists her as Senior Market Analyst and Broker with DeCarley Trading, as well as a columnist for Stocks & Commodities (you may have also seen her articles on Trade2Win), has put together a pretty solid introduction to futures trading. Notice I use the term “futures” there rather than “commodities”, though. The book title tends to reinforce the view that commodities and futures are the same thing. The markets were effectively the same thing for many years, but the advent of financial futures a couple decades back means commodities are in reality just one facet of the futures markets at this point. Gardner’s writing doesn’t restrict itself just to commodities in her discussion of futures trading, though.

That little terminology nitpick aside, like I said, it’s a solid introductory book. One of its strengths is that Gardner spends more time than most authors do talking about the brokerage side of trading. It’s something a lot of users are likely to benefit from as they make their own trading plan decisions.

In standard introductory trading book fashion, the book also covers the usual material on market history, market structure, margin, terminology, instruments, order types, and quotes. She’s also got solid discussions on the subject of trading as a business and the emotional side of playing the markets.

One of my little gripes about the book are that Gardner has a tendency at times to go off on streams of consciousness which take her away from the main point she’s trying to make. At a couple of points she also mentions a more complex subject, suggesting that it need not be addressed at that point, but then proceeds to talk further about it anyway. Those two items aside, though, I found the book to be well put together and a useful starting point for anyone looking at commodities/futures trading.

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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