A Book Review – “Jack Schwager’s Complete Guide To Mastering The Markets”

Jack Schwager was one of the first investment authors to write a pretty comprehensive guide to trading in various markets, a guide fully dedicated to the so well developed nowadays field of technical analysis. The guide contains a pretty classic structure, also used quite often by the other authors in their books. (Which, in my opinion, represents a sort of a tacit recognition of the fact that Schwager was one of the first authors to formalize its method.)

When the packaged book has arrived to me, I was thinking: “Wow, this expensive book should better be something, otherwise I might get disappointed.” And truth to be told, it met my expectations.

The guide is pretty comprehensive. It starts from lying out the main principles to succeeding with the trading systems, it lays out the functioning mechanisms behind, it shows you how to create such a system from the scratch. Until here nothing unusual you might say, even if the book dates back from 2006.

But then, if you look at the structure of the book, comprehensive springs back to the reader’s mind. The book has 24 chapters, covering many topics which you might never thought about. For example, there is a disclaimer chapter called “Systems are good but they’re not guaranteed”. In this chapter Schwager actually lays out the fact that there is no such a perfect system and that any trading method needs human intervention for optimization. And then it goes on to tell you how much intervention should be factored in the trading system. And so on… Actually, the book can be looked as to a drill-through guide to all the various trading systems, from the simplest issues to the more complicated ones.

What I also liked was that the book came accompanied by a full set of DVD/electronic lessons. These are quite interesting, since they tend to distill the experience of the author himself in easy to chew bits. Jack Schwager’s presence on the electronic lessons can be quite daunting at the first sight. After all, he is a technical trader and tends to explain everything in specialized terms and using specialized methods. But after the first 2-3 lessons, your life becomes much easier, especially after you acquaint yourself with the language of the course and with the approaches.

Another nice addition was made of the bits of programming added by Schwager to illustrate his systems. The practical chapters have lots of such programming code, which automates most of the tedious work one tends to put in place when creating automated trading systems. Some of the code looks a little bit old, but if you are familiar with any programming language then it becomes easy to translate this code into your programming environment. And in my opinion the use of the function “If” can really add up value to any trader by marking inflexion points in the various systems by saving a lot of working time.

This is not all – I mentioned that this is a comprehensive guide, right? The book contains references to specific trading systems, such as the ones for futures or the ones for currencies. The specific considerations come from the author’s experience and they are invaluable as shortcuts for the less experienced trader. In other words, if you want to save time, you should better use the advices from such books – or try them by yourself and spent the energy to do so. It might be more useful to try some of the methods by yourself and redesign them, especially in the current market conditions. But again, doing this extensively can almost guarantee a much delayed trading, which in turn might cut a substantial portion of your trading.

What is a not-so-nice point of the book is the difficulty in finding sometimes high-level data. Let’s say that you are relatively experienced as a trader and that you have read several (good) books on the field of the trading systems. “Jack Schwager’s Complete Guide to Mastering the Markets” tends to be a little bit repetitive and going to the really specific points you need could become daunting, especially since the data is scattered through the book. But this is a relatively small inconvenient compared to the wealth of information included in, so all in all it was a rewarding reading experience.

As you can see, I tried to do this review impartially (not as a commercial). Should you like to read the book, please try this Amazon link – you will pay the same price whilst a small referral fee will help sustain this investment blog. Thank you for your choice!:

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