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Behavioral Trading

Book Review of: Behavioral Trading

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Review of Behavioral Trading, by Woody Dorsey.

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, Mensa member, principal of, and author of over 4500 articles.

This book gives you an inside view of one company's philosophy on using market psychology to make money in the market. Dorsey examines various approaches people use toward this end, before describing his own.

He begins by showing us how the market is not rational. Never has been, never will be. I personally experienced this during the dotcom stock bubble. I had shares of stocks that, per rational theory, should have done remarkably well. I did not own shares of Yahoo--which, per rational theory, was a total dog. My stocks stayed flat, while Yahoo soared. So much for rational theory. If you get nothing else from this book, the explanation of that lesson alone makes it worth reading.

Next, Dorsey delves into the three general concepts of psychological trading. All of these seem good on the surface, but results are inconsistent. Maritimers long ago learned how to navigate by triangulation. Dorsey navigates the stock market the same way, with his "triunity" approach. He shows how looking at the intersections of the three general concepts produces consistent results.

You may have read books espousing some "can't miss" philosophy or another. Don't worry--Dorsey lets the reader know his triunity approach still requires judgment. For example, if the indicators are in a certain area, that would be an indication that the market is about to hit a peak.

Dorsey explains that his method might miss the peak. And, it might miss a trough. But if you are not greedy, his method would appear to be a useful tool for profitable investing. Remember, pigs eat well but hogs get slaughtered.



About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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