Searching for some day trading books that will help you boost your trading performance and knowledge?
GOOD NEWS… You’re about to discover the 8 books that have had the largest impact on my 15+ year trading career… A few that made the list will surely surprise you!
The majority of the best day trading books to make my list weren’t written by actual traders. The fact is that most traders don’t write books and share their trading strategies. The majority of the books you will find written by traders focus more on psychology than their actual trading strategy.
You may ask, “Why would I read any of these books then?”.
It’s quite simple really…becoming a successful trader is 80% psychological and 20% mechanics (system). Once you understand this you will be light years ahead of the competition.
I’ve read A LOT of day trading books throughout my trading career including intraday day trading books, swing trading books, to just some outright whacky books, you name it…
When considering what books to put on this list, I thought about what books that still have an impact on my trading today. In doing so, I came up with a balanced list of classics and I share some of my favorite takeaways from each book.
Our list has something for everyone no matter your level of trading experience you have. Some of the books focus purely on the mindset of professional traders whereas others cover the lifestyle of some of the trading cowboys.
If you’re brand new to trading, scroll down to my number one book and purchase it today. You won’t be disappointed.
Best Day Trading Books
8. Trading for a Living: Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management
Soviet-born author and practicing psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Elder discusses what he learned over the years as a professional trader. He highlights his three main focuses in what he calls the three M’s (Mind, Method, and Money). He explores several factors in the markets that most new traders and even experts may overlook at times.
My Favorite Take Away: Price is a psychological event, a momentary balance of opinion between bulls and bears, its pattern reflects the mass psychology of the market.
7. Think and Grow Rich
Written in 1937, Think and Grow Rich is one of the best selling books of all time. It dives into the science of personal achievement — the philosophy of success. While the book checks almost all the self improvement categories, it really shines when it comes to self-discipline.
To achieve anything in life, you must first conceive what you want. Next you MUST have a positive mental attitude. Cynicism is for losers. You must truly believe you are going to achieve your definite purpose and build your world around it.
My Favorite Take Away: “You are the master of your fate and captain of your soul.”
6. Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude
Mark Douglas was actually in the trenches as a trader for years. I would put this book much higher on the list but I feel to truly understand the value of this classic you need to have some trading experience under your belt.
Mark worked with countless traders throughout his career helping them to improve their game. He helps traders to uncover the underlying reasons for their lack of consistency and helps them to understand how to conquer the mental habits that cost them money.
My Favorite Took Away: Learn to understand what risk really is and how to become comfortable with the outcomes or probabilities of your trades.
5. Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions
Ugly Americans is purely an enjoyment read. The book is about John Malcolm who was a wild trader in the Eastern Markets. He and his friends were the cowboys of trading whose lives were fueled by adrenaline, sex, and drugs…all while running billion dollar trading portfolios.
My Favorite Take Away: Purely enjoyment.
4. The Power of Habit
How does a book that on the surface has nothing to do with trading made this list? It’s quite simple really. Trading requires extreme discipline.
People who look at discipline as something that requires willpower will most likely never become truly disciplined in the areas they’re attempting to. White knuckling your way through life or trying to achieve discipline will ultimately fail at some point. Becoming truly disciplined at anything requires a new way of thinking and a new set of habits.
Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. When you think about it, discipline in anything is simply a collection of habits. Learning how to change those habits can help you achieve your ultimate goal.
My Favorite Take Away: Learn how habits are formed and how to get rid of the bad ones and keep the good.
3. Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street’s Champion Day Trader
Martin “Buzzy” Schwartz may be one of the greatest day traders of all time. In his book you learn all about his trading career and why he eventually was given the nickname “Pit Bull”. This book is a classic because of the insights it offers into the mindset of arguably one of the best traders ever.
My Favorite Take Away: At the end of the book you will find “The Pit Bull’s Guide to Successful Trading” giving you some incredible insight into why Martin Schwartz was so successful at trading.
2. Market Wizards, Interviews With Top Traders
Schwager interviews several of the world’s best traders. Every interview gives you a unique and different insight of the best traders. Learn not only about their successes, but their failures as well and what it took to overcome them.
Interviews include superstar money-makers Bruce Kovner, Richard Dennis, Paul Tudor Jones, Michel Steinhardt, Ed Seykota, Marty Schwartz, Tom Baldwin, and more.
My Favorite Take Away: “Don’t focus on making money; focus on protecting what you have.” ~ Paul Tudor
1. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
Hands down the best book I have ever read. I still find new pieces of information when I read this book today.
Generations of readers have found that this book teaches them more about the markets and people in general than years of trading experience. This timeless tale will not only enrich your trading but your life as well.
It’s the story of Jesse Livermore’s progression from day trading in the Bucket Shops and finally to Wall Street where he made and lost fortunes several times over.
My Favorite Take Away: “One of the most helpful things that anybody can learn is to give up trying to catch the last eighth-or the first. These two are the most expensive eighths in the world.”
How to get the most from these day trading books?
While education is always important, there’s a right way and a wrong way to feed your mind.
At some point, most traders will get caught in what I like to call the Education Loop. New traders tend to place their failures on a lack of education or a faulty trading system. In reality, it’s not the lack of education, it’s their mindset and the psychological side of trading.
I suggest reading one book every month or every other month. Take notes and don’t be scared to reread the book.
Challenge yourself to implement one key takeaway from the book in your daily life over the next 30 to 60 days. Take what you’ve learned and work on implementing it into your life allowing yourself to create new positive habits that will help improve not only your trading but your life overall. Don’t just simply leave the knowledge in your memory bank.
All of the books on this list have improved my day trading in one way or another over the years. Remember, learning isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. Work on implementing the key takeaways from books in your daily life.
Even if you implement a small percentage of the key concepts in these trading books, you will be light years in front of the competition.
That wraps up our list of the best day trading books money can buy!
Have any books you love that missed our list? Let us know in the comments.
Adam is the founder of Jumpstart Trading. He began his trading career in 2003 as a proprietary equity trader for GPC, which at the time was the second largest prop firm in the United States. While with the firm he achieved top 10 performances and became one of the youngest trainers for the firm. In 2008 he moved on to trade his own capital while developing multiple trading strategies and algorithms. He has quickly become recognized as one of the elite order flow traders in the industry. Today Adam primarily focuses on U.S. Index futures.