I have been anticipating the release of The Inner Voice of Trading for months now. In full disclosure Michael Martin is a friend of mine and I endorsed this project on the back cover. Also, Steve Spencer and I were interviewed for the book. With that out of the way my anticipation stirred mostly because this was a book from which I was hoping to learn. The result? The Inner Voice of Trading is an honest and important account from a well-read, experienced, and transparent professional trader sharing how traders must learn to develop and rely upon their inner voice.
What is the inner voice? It’s that indicator that helps you stay in that promising position right at the trend line. It’s that inner alert that screams buy more when most feel uncomfortable adding to a winning position. It’s that P&L saver who internally demands you smack that position whose price tells you to sell. You have your inner voice and it’s not some $10-a-month alert service nor that pro trader in the great new blogosphere from whom you are piggybacking trades (@traderalaska1 🙂 ). It certainly is not anyone in our space who claims to be a trading guru (please run fast and far from those). It’s that self-indicator that you have developed from screen time, mistakes, and lessons from Mother Market.
The timing of this book’s release could not be more perfect for my desk. Recently I had a scream-at session for a few guys who I thought were not showing themselves their best. They were not prepared to trade the open. Steve had discussed some market plays that might develop. And they did in fact develop just as Steve had discussed during our morning meeting. Too many of these guys sat flatfooted. Why? It’s not because they’re not bright. It’s not because Steve didn’t prepare them. And it’s not because they didn’t understand the setups. It’s because after our morning meeting they didn’t go back to their trading stations and internalize those trading opportunities. They didn’t make Steve’s market plays their own. They didn’t sit quietly and mentally rehearse starting these positions and the subsets of these opportunities. Or as Michael would say, they had no inner voice.
Knowledge of a play isn’t enough. Saying you want to be a great trader isn’t enough. Sitting next to a great trader isn’t enough. Your trading career is about you finding the plays that make the most sense to you. We’re all different, with different abilities to process certain information and different interests, which is to say that my trade may not be good for you. Go ahead and send me an email asking for my advice about a swing trade and wait for my boomerang response. Certainly a profitable set up will not breed profits if you don’t take the time to internalize that play for you. Michael highlights this so well page after page in his book: You must find the product that makes the most sense to you. You must find the time frame that makes the most sense to you.
Trading is not a game you master in a few months. Using the work of Malcolm Gladwell Michael calmly does the math for the new trader. What’s your rush? It’s gonna take you eight years to be really good, so enjoy the learning ride. If you want more than Michael’s pro experience as proof then there is a memorable conversation from the legendary Linda Raschke further backing this position. Thank you, Michael Martin.
Are you running money? Inside is some advice for you. Fire the clients whose emotions you have to manage. Your system was not built to manage the emotions of that client who needs to discuss trading tweaks for every draw down. Bill Dunn would.
I am not a yogi (yoga lover). It doesn’t work for me. But I have sat quietly and thought for thousands of hours in my life. Think law school, hours after the market closed running through my trading and developing our training programs over weekends in lonely trading offices. But Michael implores the developing trader to find something (yoga is frequently suggested) that will help them develop the skills to focus, quiet your mind, and think clearly under pressure. You can’t will yourself to do this while trading live. This is a skill that takes mental practice. And one Michael clarifies if you lack will make all those technical trading patterns you can intellectually process impotent during live trading.
My favorite Martin trading lesson reminds me of something my mom, since passed, taught me. This was her most generous gift to me. Michael translated this gift to trading. You get out of trading what you want. If you are prepared to fail you will. But no matter where you were born, what school you attended, whose son you are, trading does not care. The only limits for your trading are the ones that you will self-build. With daily intention, an important tenant of this book, you can carve a trading career, more importantly a life, directed and produced by you.
So if you think trading is all about learning Dojis and Rounding Bottoms the markets will smack that foolish thought out of your new trader head. A cool 50k may even be extracted from your trading account learning this lesson. Maybe a better idea is to pick up the great new gift to the trading community from Michael Martin and start learning what’s really important about this full-contact game called trading and then one day you can answer with confidence to that most asked question: I am a professional trader.