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Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude

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Douglas uncovers the underlying reasons for lack of consistency and helps traders overcome the ingrained mental habits that cost them money.  He takes on the myths of the market and exposes them one by one teaching traders to look beyond random outcomes, to understand the true realities of risk, and to be comfortable with the "probabilities" of market movement that governs all market speculation.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2000

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Mark Douglas

80 books141 followers

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5 stars
3,531 (53%)
4 stars
1,878 (28%)
3 stars
795 (12%)
2 stars
248 (3%)
1 star
106 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 473 reviews
Profile Image for Duffy Pratt.
470 reviews133 followers
November 29, 2010
The author repeats himself. The book is full of pop psychology and bad science to illustrate or prove his points. If cut down to the core, the book could probably make a very nice five page magazine article. And yet, for traders, I think this book is invaluable. Most could benefit from reading it again and again.

If you trade, and cannot make yourself consistently successful, then the chances are that you harbor some beliefs that work against your success as a trader. The trick is to find, and neutralize, these beliefs. The goal is to eliminate fear and greed as operative emotions. It seems pretty easy to explain and to understand. It's much harder to put into effect.

So what does a trader need to believe:

1) Anything can happen.
2) You can make money without knowing what will happen next.
3) An edge defines a random distribution of wins or losses for a given set of variables.
4) An edge says nothing more than that, over a large enough sample, one thing will happen more than another.
5) Every moment in the market is unique.

Basically, the trader's goal is to think like the casino. Keep the size of the bets is small enough in relation to overall capital to reduce the chance of a ruinous event. And find an edge and simply trade it. That's all it takes to be successful. And yet, 95% of traders fail, and they fail because they let their emotions (fear and greed) or other beliefs (the ego's need to be right) get in the way.

The lesson is simple to understand, but very hard to learn. That's why it bears repeating over and over again.

Profile Image for Marcelo Bahia.
86 reviews49 followers
April 12, 2015
Put a self-help approach on a trading book and you get this. It’s cheesy psychology all the way, full of superficial and predictable clichés such as "don’t put blame on the markets", "develop a winning attitude", "fear is the source of 95% of trading mistakes so learn to accept risks", among others. Almost halfway into it, when a section about mental framework turned into an explanation about how thoughts and dreams are a form of energy, I noticed I was about to vomit. I stopped reading and returned the book to Amazon. If you want a good read on trading, go for the Market Wizards series. It has much more practical and substantiated advice for both novice and seasoned traders.
Profile Image for Alexander Lee.
1 review7 followers
October 10, 2015
Top practical trading book read-to-date.

The book covers the psychological aspect within one-self that prevents him/her from reaching consistency. The most common logic for new traders is to try to learn every method available to them. If they fall short of success, they attend more webinars, seminaries, and read more books, only to confuse themselves further. They've succeeded at 'step 1' but continue to fall back into trying to find new/more trading methods/tools (indicators, charting systems etc...). How do we get to 'step 2'?

Have you ever hesitated on putting on a trade? Did you get pissed off when a stock did exactly what you thought it would but you just couldn't pull the trigger? This is why we have analysts as talking heads on T.V. today. They have an "edge" in the markets because they're able to perceive the markets from an objective standpoint (from the markets perspective) but as soon as they put their own money on the line, they start to perceive the markets in a threatening way; essentially, the trader's own beliefs, ingrained in their mind, cause them to perceive the market in a threatening way. And that is why most traders fail in this business.

So 'step 2': re-wire our thinking about the markets and learn to think in probabilities.

Trading successfully is a paradox. What makes people successful in today's society, will not make one successful in the trading world. And it all comes down to our beliefs.

I encourage anyone trying to reach the next step in their trading to read this book, its the most practical book you'll ever read.

One truth mentioned in this book: we need to be completely reconciled with the risk put on a trade. If we don't genuinely accept the risk, then we'll cut our winners short, we'll cut a trade flat only to see it work in the direction once you exit, and the list goes on. We start to narrow our focus on the pain that we try to avoid! We put over-emphasis on every down-tick or up-tick... we no longer watch the price action in an neutral state of mind, instead we start to trade our core beliefs that make us unsuccessful. And remember, our core beliefs (things we've learned in our upbringing) DON'T make us successful as traders.

Just read the book if you want to reach the next level. It doesn't matter if you have a wealth of knowledge if you don't have the wisdom to apply that knowledge.

Profile Image for erjan avid reader.
214 reviews36 followers
May 23, 2016
this book totally blown my mind! It must be number 1,2,3,4....20 book in the list, seriously!

Because it unveils the nature of trading to the core! It exploded my mind...

No other book on psychology comes close to this.

I have only read 30 /143 pages and this was enough to get deeply impressed!

the author just opened my own mind and pointed to me the distinction: trading is total freedom without rules, where rules have to be set by me AND followed,abide by me as well!

trading offers complete freedom to analyse market,enter,exit whenver i like,but only very few people are ready to this freedom!
so i m done with this book and i must say this is number one for all newbies, i m glad i read it after "insider buy superstocks".

traders with few years of trading will call the content of this book obvious & self-evident, however I find it extremely useful for newbie traders!

SOLID MUST READ IF you are newbie and have false hopes, illusions about this numbers game..

just so grateful i read it in the beginning...
Profile Image for Zack.
464 reviews5 followers
June 29, 2011
Considering how highly and oft mentioned this book is, I was rather unimpressed. The authors main points are fine and good. But boy does he ramble and bullshit. There is so much bad science and pop psychology in this book. And many times he says things like, "I wont go into depth about this," but then he rambles about that or another subject.

For instance about 3/4th of the way into the book he spends time talking about what a trend is and how to identify it. Seriously? Not only should the reader already have such elementary knowledge before reading this book, he contradicts himself by giving any time to such matters.

The bottom line is that there is nearly too much hot air in this book to make it worth it. You could read it and not be worse off, and you can always skim (and not miss a thing), as I resulted too, but if you're serous about trading and education you'll probably learn the same in a better manner elsewhere.

(Here's another fine review of the book: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1SJWX52...)
Profile Image for Murilo Forte.
165 reviews4 followers
October 13, 2020
1. I objectively identify my edges.
2. I predefine the risk of every trade.
3. I completely accept the risk or I am willing to let go of the trade.
4. I act on my edges without reservation or hesitation.
5. I pay myself as the market makes money available to me.
6. I continually monitor my susceptibility for making errors.
7. I understand the absolute necessity of these principles of consistent success and, therefore, I never violate them.”
Profile Image for Rosa Ramôa.
1,570 reviews66 followers
June 14, 2014
Um livro muito chatinho por causa das merdas da psicologia ahahah...um gajo até adormece!
Não dava estrela nenhuma mas como isso não é possível,então o mínimo.
Um trader (?) de sucesso deve ler!Então,porque as coisas não surgem por acaso...Fica aqui o registo de um empresário de sucesso (o meu mano)*
1 review
December 18, 2015
This book is one of the favourites for traders. I have heard enough stories about how this book has helped traders make the necessary mental shift to become profitable traders. Instead of believing in what others said, I read the book and judged it for myself. I will not say that it had such a fundamental impact to me but I cannot deny the book did helped me figure out certain things in trading. Not everyone can pick up the same amount of useful ideas from the same book. Different people have different background, experience and objectives, and are triggered by different thoughts. Although I may not have gotten a lot from it, it does not mean you would not. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book and being able to get a few perspectives from it still makes it a good book.

More Knowledge Does Not Prevent Losses

I was guilty about a mistake that Mark pointed out in the book – I lose money because I lack market knowledge. To him, it is not true.

“This means that no matter how much you learn about the market’s behavior, no matter how brilliant an analyst you become, you will never learn enough to anticipate every possible way that the market can make you wrong or cause you to lose money.”

He said that losses are not a result of your reading of the market. No one can learn enough to score 100% wins in all his trades. Hence, it is never about being the super analyst who never make any mistake. This person does not exist.

“Why do you think unsuccessful traders are obsessed with market analysis. They crave the sense of certainty that analysis appears to give them. Although few would admit it, the truth is that the typical trader wants to be right on every single trade. He is desperately trying to create certainty where it just doesn’t exist.”

“The consistency you seek is in your mind, not in the markets. It’s attitudes and beliefs about being wrong, losing money, and the tendency to become reckless, when you’re feeling good, that cause most losses – not technique or market knowledge.”

Hence, do not expect your methods or the market to perform consistently. Do not be disappointed when you are wrong, or become overconfident when you are right. It is about implementing your method consistently regardless of wins and losses. Because wins and losses will stir your feelings and cause you to act irrationally, and result in self-sabotage.

“To be consistent, you have to learn to think about trading in such a way that you’re no longer susceptible to conscious or subconscious mental processes that cause you to obscure, block, or pick and choose information on the basis of what will make you happy, give you what you want, or avoid pain.”

I think the above quote is true – we see what we want to see. We filter information every second and we do that in trading too. We will filter out the information that will cause us pain and select information that gives us pleasure. And doing these seldom lead us to profits.

Why People Love Trading?

I love the way Mark explained why people love trading, and I think to some extent I felt it is true for me.

“Trading is an activity that offers the individual unlimited freedom of creative expression, a freedom of expression that has been denied most of us for most of our lives.”

However, he cautioned that many of us do not have the necessary psychological makeup to survive the market when we have no rules to govern our trading in the boundless market.

“The freedom is great. All of us seem to naturally want it, strive for it, even crave it. But that doesn’t mean that we have the appropriate psychological resources to operate effectively in an environment that has few, if any, boundaries and where the potential to do enormous damage to ourselves exists. Almost everyone needs to make some mental adjustments, regardless of their educational background, intelligence or how successful they’ve been in other endeavors.”
Profile Image for Worakan Vongsopanagul.
49 reviews5 followers
March 23, 2021
This book is different from other book about trading that i have read before. Other book may tell you what indicator or stop loss technique that work, but you won’t find any of that from this book.

Despite lack of indicator and technique, this book provide a very great way to understand your mind and fear that i think for ones who trade for years have to confront. The wise that i get from this book is priceless. Especially, when i face a large drawdown and confusion like this moment.

In summary, It’s not about the strategy or trading technique that make a super performance but in that great mind of trader who see the market as a neutral information , no bias, no fear and not emotional.
Profile Image for Yogi Travelling.
88 reviews22 followers
December 30, 2021
Amazing book, well structured. The concepts in this book relate to more than the financial markets - they relate to every decision you make in life. Everything we decide to do offers both risk and reward, it's our job to weigh these these two before entering a decision (or a trade!). This requires great discipline.
Profile Image for Lee Spano.
13 reviews2 followers
May 3, 2016
This is a watershed text on investing and trading psychology. Too often we underestimate the importance of individual mindset, psychology and particularly emotion on the effectiveness of our investing or trading systems. If we can our understand traits, strengths and weaknesses, then we can personalise a system which will improve returns. Douglas articulates the common dangers of trading, such as failing to take responsibility, and then gives us principles and tools to overcome them. Thinking in terms of probabilities and not ‘right and wrong’ is perhaps the most important single understanding. When we shift our thinking in this regard, and then devise objective rules in an effective trading or investing system, then we can be more objective and consistent. This book is a must anyone’s library. More> http://amzn.to/1pLJqyA

Regards, Lee M. Spano, Investor & Creatness International CEO www.creatness.com
Profile Image for Shane White.
4 reviews
December 31, 2014
This book literally changed my trading over night. People think that trading is about set-ups , technical analysis, pattern recognition, ect. These things are obviously part of trading. But in my opinion , far from the most important. Discipline , control, and lack of a better word....zen. These are the things that will make you rich in the markets.
Profile Image for Mark.
3 reviews
January 19, 2008
Wish I had read this book when I first started trading. Would have saved me a lot!
5 reviews
December 16, 2021
The author is inclined to his theory that anyone can win at trading by drawing some absolute lines of attitude, discipline and psychology required, somewhere that suits his theories.

While these are important things to understand and master to gain an edge in anyone's process, the fact remains that people can simply fall to the wrong side of a trade for no fault of their own.

Everyone being on the correct side of a trade is probabilistically impossible. Nobody wins without someone on the other side to lose. Extending this to the more "you win more than you lose" advice, Nobody wins more than someone out there who loses more.

The author not being open to admitting that trading might just not be for every reader who picks up the book, is disappointing.

He leaves it at something like 'if you finally lose in trading, then it is because you didn't learn to be in the zone'. He conveniently steps around hard truths there.
Profile Image for Katie Eddings.
2 reviews1 follower
September 30, 2015
This book is so well written - it goes through in detail the psychological reasoning behind consistency with trading. I got a lot from it- and its changing the way i trade. Stick with it though, there are quite a few "in-depth" chapters but through explaining these with repetition and associating them with an analogy, Mark taps into our learning and gets the info required through to us! You needs to study psychology? I learnt so much and am so grateful that this book was writtten as it address the REAL challenge with trading - our brain!
82 reviews
December 25, 2022
Was finally able to read this completely. Something I shouldve done so 7 years ago during my first stint in trading.

Id say the lessons you will learn here are fundamental and should be given higher premium than understanding technical analysis. The concepts are very useful although I must admit I got tired at some point of the dog analogy and some concepts he was talking about energies, language, etc. Overall, those stuff will build up and the ending of the book feels satisfying and you will have a certain degree of excitement to practice what you have learned.
Profile Image for Ming Wei.
Author 8 books266 followers
January 23, 2019
A good book to read if you are trying to develop you mindset, and remove emotion from your trading. I found this book very beneficial, but it is more useful to newbie traders, rather than experienced traders that have been trading for 3+ years. The problem for most traders is human emotion, and maybe reading this book, will help potential traders reducing their emotion levels. It is one of the better trading related books that I have read. Well written, easy to follow and understand. I enjoyed reading it.
Profile Image for Beverly.
Author 39 books23 followers
December 20, 2009
If you're playing in the stock market, this book is worth a read. It's not about the technicalities of the market, it's about bringing your own consciousness to bear on your trading. I found it refreshing and fun.
And very inspiring. (I'm learning to trade stock options, and it's useful for that too.) In fact, you could apply it to your life. Dealing with beliefs and de-energizing them. Not bad ideas!
45 reviews1 follower
May 15, 2015
Rare book about the stock market that talks about the psychology of trading. A bit rambling but the insights of the author are refreshing and gives perspective to what the stock market really is: an unpredictable and unfeeling mechanism that nevertheless provides opportunities for profit if we have the correct mentality. It is not about knowing what will happen, but working on the fact that we do not know what will happen.
58 reviews6 followers
February 4, 2016
Must read for anyone who is in trading. It won´t teach you how to trade, but It may enlighten you as to what real trading is about (hint: is NOT about KNOWING what the market is going to do).
If you have been trading for some time, it probably won´t be as revealing as if you are new to the discipline... but it still can give you one or two pointers/reminders to keep you on the right track.
Hope this review helps!
August 28, 2021
I didn’t really learn much from this book. I understand that not all technical analysis can be accurate and barely if any, however the author basically says you need to be self-disciplined and go with your own “hunch” or instinct but then contradicts himself by saying you still need variables. Also, he uses way to many examples that don’t really make sense to the point he’s trying to make. I firmly believe this book would not be taken seriously by any analyst.
Profile Image for Leo Bharata.
3 reviews1 follower
August 22, 2014
It is not a technical or fundamental analysis book, but what being written here is a very important concept or mind set. It is not a book for those just began trading as it might be quite hard too understand. The most important pages are on the last chapter. The book will be great if the earlier pages told in a way that is more easy to understand.
Profile Image for Vincent.
160 reviews5 followers
May 15, 2013
This book was nothing like I thought it would be. It was a little too heavy on the psychological mumbo jumbo, and much too thin on content in my opinion. Since this is my review, it's my opinion that counts! Venture at your own risk, only if it's a FREE library book.
Profile Image for Amit Srivastava.
43 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2014
An indispensable book on trading psychology. However, it could have been as effective even if the volume of content was reduced to 50%. Except for the excessive narratives, it is 5 stars!
Profile Image for Arek Piwowarczyk.
3 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2015
Personally this is the bests book I've read on psychology of trading - a must read for any trader!
Profile Image for Enrique.
12 reviews
July 10, 2015
Very good book, good message for all that people who would like to be consistent in trading, however it can be more straight forward.
January 20, 2016
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