20 Books Every Trader Should Read

A question I get asked on a regular basis by those interested in trading is, “what books do you recommend?” Perhaps you came to this article thinking the same thing?

Well, you’re in luck because I’ve spent the last 30 years – and a ton of money – buying and reading every trading and investing book out there so you don’t have to. This list represents the best of those books, the ones I can, with no reservations, 100% recommend – except of course for those at the end that I’ve declared are “avoids.”

As with every list, there will be disagreements.

“Why is that book on the list?”

“Why isn’t that book on the list?”

Because it’s my list, so shut up!

But seriously, I’ve picked 20 books that stood out for me as a trader that were a #valueadd for one reason or another.  That doesn’t even have to mean that they are about trading.  For example, the “General Interest” section is made up of books that appeal to a trader’s mindset.

I hope you find this list of value, and if you do, please pass it on to someone who will appreciate it.


Since I first wrote this post, hundreds, if not thousands of books on trading and the stock market have been published. Most of them are real bad.

But a select few are so good they deserve a place on this list, so I have added this updated section.

Technical Analysis Using Multiple Timeframes – Brian Shannon is one of the original trader/bloggers and his book has been a reference companion that I go back to time and time again.

The way he illustrates the power and simplicity of using multiple time frames in a trading methodology will make you shake your head and wonder why you’ve been making things so complicated.

A must have addition to any comprehensive trader’s library.

Trading Options: Using Technical Analysis to Design Winning Trades – Greg Harmon is a friend and a good guy, but that doesn’t mean I’d put his book on this list if it didn’t deserve it. I can’t say enough about this book.

Don’t let the “options” part of the title fool you. This is a book that teaches you step by step how to identify trade candidates and create a methodical plan to take advantage of them – both with and without options.

If I could only recommend one book on trading, this would be the one.

The Next Apple: How to Own The Best Performing Stocks In Any Given Year – From the book’s description;

This is not a book about the company or the stock Apple. This is a book about finding the next Apple or at least finding hundreds of “mini-Apples.”

$10,000 invested in Apple in 2003 is worth $1,500,000 today.

Ivan is a great trader and master at finding hot momentum stocks. He does a great job in this book showing you how you can find stocks that have the ability to become the next Apple, aka, big winner.

Abnormal Returns: Winning Strategies from the Frontlines of the Investment Blogosphere – Tadas Viskanta has spent the last 10 years on a daily quest to find the most interesting, compelling, and informative financial and stock market content. This has made him an expert curator of investment ideas and strategies, the best of which he lays out in this book.

From active trading to ETFs and global investing, Tadas covers it all in a smart, thoughtful way, with a smooth style that is both easy and enjoyable to read.

The Market Wizards Series – Chances are, you’ll find these books on the shelf of any serious trader. They are without a doubt the most comprehensive collection of interviews with superstar traders ever published (Market Wizards,  The New Market Wizards, Stock Market Wizards, and Hedge Fund Wizards).

However, their dirty little secret is that although they capture perfectly a moment in time, they are extremely dated and will give you almost no insight into today’s markets or how to trade them.

Their contemporary value is showing how even the greatest traders initially struggled and often blew up (repeatedly) before becoming successful.

They are like benign candy, enjoyable to consume, but won’t help or hurt you.

Stan Weinstein’s Secrets For Profiting in Bull and Bear Markets – This book was the first to quantify one of the most important concepts in trading; the four stages in which stocks move, which are the basing, advancing, topping, and declining stages.

Despite the fact that the cover of this book has not been updated since it was published in 1988, stage analysis is still relevant today.

How to Make Money In Stocks: A Winning System in Good Times and Bad – As an unnamed trader friend of mine recently said, all you need to do is review the charts in the first 150 pages of this book and you will be good to go.

These charts, along with O’Neil’s annotations give you a great foundation to understand the patterns stocks form before they go on massive runs.

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator –  Tough call on this book, only because I don’t think it is the Rosetta Stone of trading books that it is often described as.

The language is dated and colloquial, which though strange, is actually part of its charm. There are definitely some foundational lessons for trading in this book, but you as the reader have to do the historical conversion in your head from venues like “bucket shops” to today’s market.

How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market –  This book should really be called, “How I Made$18,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) in the stock market,” because that is how much it would be in today’s dollars.

That would be phenomenal for anybody, but for someone who did it while traveling the globe, in a pre-internet, computer, iPad, Smart phone world……while working as a professional dancer? Well, that is just epic.

His “Darvas Box” system, though crude and in need of adjustment to factor in today’s HFT, is still a foundation of a solid trading style/discipline.

Trading Education:

The Stock Twits Edge: 40 Actionable Trade Set-Ups from Real Market Pros –  Okay, before you accuse me of trying to kiss the ass of the folks at StockTwits, let me just tell you that I’ve been recommending this book publicly forever.

This is the book I wish existed when I started trading 30 years ago.

It is the “Market Wizards” for the retail trader, and more importantly, each chapter is written by someone who currently has an active presence on social media.  Plus it’s the only place you will ever see @The_Real_Fly write two whole pages without saying “fuck!”

The Trading Book: A Complete Solution to Mastering Technical Analysis and Trading Psychology – I like Anne-Marie, but if she had asked me if it was a wise choice to add another trading book to the world, I would have advised against it.

And I would have been wrong.

I was amazed at the scope of material that this book was able to cover in such a meaningful way. Anne-Marie’s economical (and often humorous) style takes you right to the core of each concept, doing away with irrelevant and superfluous information.

I don’t think it is hyperbole to say this is an instant classic for the beginning/intermediate trader.

Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques –  There are a lot of books out these on candlestick charting, but almost all of them are derivative of Nisson’s tome.  This book does a great job explaining the basic concepts as well as the most relevant patterns related to candlestick charting.

Unless you really need to know about the “three-drunk-salarymen-rolled-by-the-hooker-in-the-Shinjuku-train-station” pattern, this book is all you will ever need for candlesticks.

Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom –  Yes the title is cheesy and sounds like something from a late-night infomercial, but this book has one of the best overviews of the different types of methodologies you can use to make money in the markets.

More importantly, it shows you how to go about formulating a methodology for trading in the markets.  The information on risk and position sizing alone makes this book worthwhile.


The Disciplined Trader  & Trading In The Zone –  These are the definitive books on trading psychology.  I know traders who went from perpetual losers to consistent winners after reading these books.  The way Douglas climbs into the psyche of a trader is scary and there is a good chance you will wonder aloud how he managed to plant the hidden camera and microphones in your office to take notes on your trading deficiencies.

Real World Trading:

Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street’s Champion Day Trader – Extremely dated, but still the only full auto-biography (I believe) of a “Market Wizard.”

It is a look into the mind and process of an extremely disciplined trader who is still putting up crushing numbers to this day.

One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Competitive World of Proprietary Trading – If you want to know what it’s like trading in the real world of a prop firm, this is the book.  But even more so, this book shows you how to focus on process instead profits to become a successful trader.

There are a number of great trading lessons in this book, all wrapped around relatable stories (kinda like this blog).

General Interest:

The 50 Best (and Worst) Business Deals of All Time –  This book is like eating a piece of candy – you will enjoy it so much and will be sad when done.

Clocking in at under 200 pages, it gives concise, informative, and fascinating insights into some well-known, and some not so well-known business successes and failures.

The chapter about the ABA’s settlement with the “Spirits of St. Louis” alone is worth the price of admission.

Backstage Wall Street: An Insider’s Guide to Knowing Who to Trust, Who to Run From, and How to Maximize Your Investments –  Sure, once again you can accuse me of kissing ass to a heavyweight financial blogger, but really, if you have read Josh’s blog for any amount of time, you know he’s the real deal.

This book pulls no punches and will probably be looked back upon years from now as the clarion call against the entrenched Wall Street establishment instead of those Occupy Wall Street douchebags.

Mean Business: How I Save Bad Companies and Make Good Companies Great –  Dunlap made his name as a “turn-around” specialist for near-death companies, and this book chronicles some of his most famous successes.

I get that Dunlap’s career ended in shareholder actions, SEC investigations, and his banning from ever running a public company again, but just because Michael Jackson’s final few albums sucked doesn’t mean that “Off the Wall” and “Thriller” weren’t masterpieces.

Dunlap was an asshole to be sure, but often times an asshole is what is needed, and his excesses in restructuring were merely a response to the bloated corporate excesses of the times.

It’s hard to fool guys like Kerry Packer, Sir James Goldsmith, and the principles at KKR who used Dunlap as their secret weapon, so “Chainsaw” Al must have been doing something right at some point.

The New Financial Capitalists: KKR and the Creation of Corporate Value – Every time I re-read this book I get financial wood.  Love them or hate them, KKR changed the way M&A was done and left an imprint on corporate financing that is still felt today.

It is hard to forget in the wake of the 2008 credit crisis that KKR was always responsible – and almost always successful – in using debt and leverage to save failing companies and create or unlock value for shareholders and their investors.

This is an authorized biography of the company but done in a truly objective fashion and it highlights how the key to a successful KKR deal is not so much about the money (or debt) they brought to the table, but the wealth of managerial talent they brought to their target companies.


Trading For A Living: Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management  – This is the gateway book that every new trader seems to come through on the road to trading, but  I have to say, I have never been a fan of Dr. Elder.

It stems for my suspicion that he makes (and has always made) more money from writing about trading and putting on overpriced seminars about trading than he has from actually trading.  In this book he espouses a multiple time frame method  that is rudimentary at best and his nod to trading psychology is done better and in more depth by Douglas.

The only interesting aspect of this book is his explanation of how trading is NOT a zero sum game, but that is really only worthy of a blog post at most.

The Education of a Speculator –  I have a friend who not only is a 100x better trader than I could ever hope to be, but is a connoisseur of art and literature, and even surfs. He is also a friend of the author, Victor Niederhoffer, and thinks highly of him.

That is why it pains me to say that “Education…” is probably one of the worst written books that I have ever read.  It would be better titled, “Let Me Tell You What A Great Squash Player I Am.”  And even though I am sure there was meant to be some subtext in his narcissistic stories that relate to trading, it is written in such a purposefully exclusionary way that you can’t find it.  Since I am part of the “chattering classes” it is probably that

It would be better titled, “Let Me Tell You What A Great Squash Player I Am.”

And even though I am sure there was meant to be some subtext in his narcissistic stories that relate to trading, it is written in such a purposefully exclusionary way that you can’t find it.

Since I am part of the “chattering classes” it’s probably that Niederhoffer, a true intellect, is just writing above my level. But unless you are picking this book up on the way to your Nobel Prize luncheon, it’s probably best to just skip it.

Hey, don’t forget to check out my book Trading: The Best Of The Best – Top Trading Tips For Our Times destined to be on this top 20 list someday.

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The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

  • dnotes

    ‘Late to the party and appreciate this list of books. Intrigued by a friend of my husband’s who does his own day trading and has for well over 25 years and coming from a real estate finance background my small stack of ‘beginner’ books with the first one read being Nicolas Darvas’ ‘How I made $2M in the Stock Market’ (which translates to approx. $17M in 2017 adjusting for inflation from a c.1958 dollar!) and I’m just going through Stan Weinstein’s How to Succeed in Bull and Bear Markets soon to be followed by O’Neil’s ‘How to Make Money in Stocks’ and ‘How to Make Money Selling Stocks Short’ Other titles include Quality of Earnings by Thornton L. O’Glove, It’s Earnings That Count by Hewitt Heiserman,Wall Street The Other Las Vegas and You Can Still Make It In The Market by Nicolas Darvas all found through used and thrift book stores because I frequent them as a collector of cookbooks too! I am most interested in building my knowledge base and methods in a good step by step fashion and can see that each investor ‘finds their way’ and finding ‘my best way’ appears to be what others do. Am I wrong? it’s most helpful to see recommendations of users and would be interested in any future articles you may have for those who are looking for material from beginner to intermediate before dipping into advanced. Thanks!

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  • John Granite


    Great list!

    But let me humbly recommend you include John Murphy’s classic work on technical trading (see http://www.swingtradesystems.com/trading-resources-guide.html#classic-books for title/year/publisher details). I bought it years ago and I still read through it from time to time – even after 10 years of trading!

    John G.

    • It is a classic, and I like it, but it is SOOOOOOOOOO dry.

      If it had a bit more personality I would have it on the list.


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  • Ryan

    It takes years of practice but if you can master the “three-drunk-salarymen-rolled-by-the-hooker-in-the-Shinjuku-train-station” pattern I guarantee you success

  • Peter Taylor

    A great selection, pleased to add a couple of others of your choices to my ‘soon to read list’. Cheers.

  • Steve

    The Zurich Axioms – great book.

  • Thanks for finally writing about > 20 Books Every Trader Should
    Know About. – bclund < Liked it!

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  • morakinyo john

    I commend your courage on books

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  • Lin

    Re: Buying a house. Your assumptions are grossly slanted. Figure in the write off with a mortgage. Figure in the decades after you’ve paid off the mortgage. Figure in the stability factor when you’re talking about stress. Figure in a market that is hardly linear. Figure in the tax relief you get when you sell your house over 55. Figure in so very much more that is not bottom line: neighbors, the pleasures of gardening and improving if and when you please, a place for your children to call home, etc. Please try to be at least marginally balanced when you present an argument.

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  • KHN

    The article on The worst investment a House is highly flawed. It fails to consider the huge tax savings on home ownership, the additional cost of inflation on the rent, the fact that you wouldn’t find the same size rental for 75% of the cost of the mortgage and the appreciation on the home. All of these would negate a good portion of the savings he talks about

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  • tradrmark

    I agree on the Stan Weinstein book & Justin Mamis “The Nature of Risk”.
    I liked all of the Market Wizard Series as well.

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  • Barbara amsel

    These are actually wonderful some ideas in the blog. You have touched good quality points here. In whatever way continue writing.http://www.pinterest.com/bubblegumcastin

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  • aleena rose

    This post is really valuable that designed for the new visitors. Pleasing work, keep on writing.

  • Scott

    The best book I have ever read about trading is “Trade Like the Little Guy” by L.A. Little. This book really targets the small, everyday trader and has great methodologies that work. Since I have read the book, I have bought L.A.’s other’s books as well and really have grown my portfolio successfully in the last 5 years since the 2008 crash.

  • Peter

    I just read something very interesting. It’s called Rallied! The Alternative Guide to Becoming a Trader. Has anyone else read it? What do you think? Lots of humor and lots of good stuff too. Covers almost everything a beginner needs to know. Economics, Monetary policies, basics of forex, stocks, options, etfs. If anyone read it please let me know if there is anything similar out there so that I can read that too.

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  • BobityGrant

    I’m fairly new to trading, and I have to say “The Naked Trader” by Robbie burns was the best starting point I found – http://www.harriman-house.com/book/view/220/spread-betting/robbie-burns/the-naked-trader/

  • JB Marwood

    Thanks for sharing this list although I cant say I agree with you on your view that blogs are more important than books now.
    On the contrary, I find much of the information on the internet about trading to be sketchy. Good books provide far higher quality content IMO.

    • Well either way, it is good to know that there is quality content out there.

  • Mikel

    I think your book is the worse. Just collected others ppl quotes in twitter and selling as a book. Not quite what I pay for :(. Trading for Living is a good book.

    • You miss the point of the book…it is not just tips but a directory of 50 active traders. Everyone has a live link to both their StockTwits stream and web presence, so you can always follow those to find their latest content. The book never goes out of date.

      And really…..are you going to sweat $4.99…of which $3.49 goes to fight pediatric brain cancer?


  • Kingg Kinghh

    Anyone who wants to trade – read ‘trading for a living’. It is one of the best books out there.

  • Kingg Kinghh

    Are you dumb or brokers community paid you to call ‘trading for a living’ book not good?? It is by far the best book one needs to read.

  • techhoney

    The best one I have found is the Reminiscence of a Stock Operator by Jesse Livermore…

  • I think Trading for a Living is the most important book out there for beginners who are just landing in the world of financial instruments. It basically sets you up and tells you in a few words what you’re about to confront.

    The triple time frame system that Dr. Elder presents in his book is fairly simple and the worst a trader can do over time by following it is break even. Although I suspect in bull stock markets it can bring nice profits. With Forex it’s a different story.

    However, what Dr. Elder emphasizes is the need to be following the bigger trend. And from there on – a trader can build his own system or can pick another system off the internet and pass it through the filter of the bigger trend rule, which is the safest bet in any markets.

    All these books have some value but all of them fail at taking the trader out of a mathematical state of mind and teaching him to assess the market context first. So if I would write a book, my biggest time frame would be the market context time frame and then daily and then hourly and so on.

    If you’re gonna read the ‘New Market Wizards’, in the first interview Bill Lipschutz tells how he and his colleagues would assess market context in their early days: “hey, the GM showroom was full when I passed by today, let’s buy GM stocks!” and basically this way of thinking represents a rudimentary but still efficient way of assessing a certain market context. Unfortunately few books actually actually concentrate on market context…

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  • Mark Larson

    General Interest… consider adding “Little Book of Behavioral Investing” by Montier. Slanted towards investing but it’s also helpful with trading.

    • Cool, thanks for the heads up.

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  • shibu s

    I like ‘Trading for a living’, becouse it change my trading life and also many of my friends.

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  • Jan

    I have read over 50 stock trading books and there were
    only a few good ones like:

    The small stock trader by Mika

    from the greatest stock traders of all time” and “How legendary traders made
    millions” both by
    John Boik

    of a stock operator” and
    to trade in stocks” both by Jesse Livermore

    How I made $2,000,000 in the stock market
    by Nicolas Darvas

    How to make money in stocks by Willien

  • Chick trader

    I love your list of recommended books and have read many of them. I would also suggest recently published “The Emotionally Intelligent Investor: How Self-Awareness, Empathy and Intuition Drive Performance” by Ravee Mehta who previously worked at Soros fund mgmt. He also has an interesting blog post at http://www.theemotionallyintelligentinvestor.com.

  • Would that great friend of your be Jeff Watson by any chance?

  • ah man, education of speculator was great!

    • Boy, I just hated it. Maybe I need to re-read it.

  • Great list of books. Anyone needing another old school read should check out the books by Justin Mamis. His “The Nature of Risk” teaches the Investor Sentiment Cycle which is a must for all investors to understand.

    • Cool, thanks for the heads up Pete.

  • Mika

    “The small stock trader” by Mika is also a small unique book that covers almost all the major stock market topics such as the traits of a successful small stock trader, how to choose a few simple focus stocks, market sentiment and industry, fundamental analysis, technical analysis, short selling, your edge and competition, catalysts that move the stock prices, stock trading plan, discipline, risk management and psychology. It is a simple book of about 100 small-sized pages (more like a collection of tips, perhaps 4-5 hours read), but it will answer many of your questions, so, it is a great book to start (no need to mention that about 90% of your lessons you are going to learn from your own experience/mistakes). It is also a fun-to-read book, as it is accompanied by a few jokes and observations from poker, intelligence world, relationships, happiness, Zen, and psychology.

  • Anthony Irby

    That is a good useful list and thanks for the freebie Pit Bull link I am reading it now. Two other good ones for technical analysis are the classic Technical Analysis of Stock Trends (Edward and Magee) and Technical Analysis Using Multiple Time Frames (Brian Shannon.

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  • Thetradingwife

    Very useful list. Thank you for putting it together. I also really like Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets by John Murphy. It has been my trading bible for a few years. Also for options, I like Option Volatility & Pricing by Sheldon Natenberg. The absolute Must reads (imo) though are the Mark Douglas books which you mention above….especially Trading in the Zone.

    • Brian Lund

      Yes, Murphy is good, could have been on the list too.

  • John B. Egan

    Probably should have included Brian Shannon’s “Technical Analysis Using Multiple Time Frames” ..Not only does he tweet under @alphatrends , but maintains a webpage and blog. His videos and explanation of VWAP and Level II (on his webpage) are IMO the best around. His webpage displaying his book as “In the top 10” is at http://www.alphatrends.net/ .. After buying several dozen books covering the same old moving averages etc, his actually explained very succinctly how to trade. It is now one of only 3 books that I still own. I re-read it periodically to bone up again.

    And although I haven’t bought yet, I’m seriously looking at buying Bulkowski’s 2 books. One on candles and one on chart patterns. There is nothing like the scientific approach to percentage win/loss etc that he brings to these two concerns. His webpage is : http://thepatternsite.com/

    • Brian Lund

      I put your suggestion in the follow up post “Readers Suggestions.” Thanks!

      • tyduffycheatedonhisgirlfriend

        great post.. could you put up a list of good blogs and twitter accounts for trading?

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  • Ben

    Moneyball-Michael Lewis

    This book chronicles the meaning of having courage in your convictions. It exemplifies defining what works and relentlessly sticking to and executing a plan. Especially good if you like baseball.

    • Brian Lund

      I did like the movie, but I would have ended up working with the Red Sox 🙂

  • Shuaib Arshad

    I found Corey Rosenbloom’s “The Complete Trading Course” highly insightful and practical.


  • David

    I have to endorse Weinstein and Darvas especially. Weinstein’s book helped me turn my trading around and laid the foundation for my eventual move to full time trading. Although my systems have evolved a great deal since then, his book lays out a wonderful framework for long term trend following.

    There are so many nuggets of wisdom in Darvas’ book that I would recommend it to any new trader as the first book they should own. On the other hand, Lefevre is problematic. Some good insights mixed with a whole bunch of foolishness that could confuse a newbie (eg. trading on hunches, over trading, poor risk control and excessive leverage, violating his own (successful) trading rules, etc). Livermore’s eventual suicide is perhaps the best lesson we can learn from his career.

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  • Berkek

    A very detailed and a good list. I have read most of it, but I would recommend another must read; I think it was one of the best books I have ever came across called “Master the Markets – Taking a Professional Approach to Trading & Investing by Using Volume Spread Analysis” by Tom Williams.

    It is best if you want to find out how volume affects trading and where you should be at that moment.

  • Excellent list. I love the “old school” titles especially. Of course, I’m a little biased towards the Darvas title.

  • Interesting, to say the least; authentic and useful.

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  • I think you should add books from Brett N. Steenbarger they are top books on trading psychology.
    And Trading in the zone from Mark Douglas as well


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Brian C. Lund

Brian C. Lund

Great father. Good friend. Decent trader/writer. Lacking husband. Solid drummer. Sometimes funny. Often A-hole. Terrible poker player. Too smart. Punk rock. Work in an ice cream shop.

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