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Way of the Turtle: The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders Reviews

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Way of the Turtle: The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders

“We're going to raise traders just like they raise turtles in Singapore.” So trading guru Richard Dennis reportedly said to his long-time friend William Eckhardt nearly 25 years ago. What started as a bet about whether great traders were born or made became a legendary trading experiment that, until now, has never been told in its entirety. Way of the Turtle reveals, for the first time, the reasons for the success of the secretive trading system used by the group known as the “Turtles.

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2 Responses to Way of the Turtle: The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders Reviews

  • M. Dooner says:
    173 of 202 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    One of the Five Worst Trading Books Ever Written, August 5, 2007
    By 
    M. Dooner (Ottawa, ON Canada) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Way of the Turtle: The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders (Hardcover)

    Here are some of the key reasons why this book is simply a poorly written/edited and ineffective trading book:

    1. Chapters do not build on one another. The story goes back and forth, between hazy descriptions of technical trading tools, bizarre charts poorly explained, then back to the Turtles story, including amazement about how not every turtle could follow the rules except the author. Back and forth. Back and forth.

    2. Anecdotal wisdom. Stuff you see in every book, from every investor/trader. Don’t follow the herd. Know yourself. Forget about the past. You can’t predict the future. Don’t let past losses upset you. Is the author getting paid by the cliche?

    3. Author references his own websites and company, and also heavily references the author with the ‘big’ blurb on the front cover. That would be Van K. Tharp who calls this “One of the five best trading books ever written”. There is no corelation between this quote and the author citing Van Tharp throughout the entire book. I would like to see a chart on those probabilities in this book.

    4. Misleading and contradictory title. Throughout the book, the author presses on the point that there is no secret method, that people want to believe a secret method exists because then they wouldn’t have to admit to themselves that they psychologically do not have the capacity to trade effectively. Then the book is titled “The Secret Methods…” I guess that kind of title sells better.

    Also on contraditions – there are no methods in this book. Just general descriptions of basic technical trading tools that one can find by googling the subject. The worst part is that the descriptions aren’t even fully developed. The examples are weak, and the ‘gestalt’ of using multiple technical trading techniques collaboratively, as a system, is not covered adequately.

    5. Book is not practical. The examples and the methods used by the author to trade do not fit 99.99% of all investor profiles. In fact, they only fit the profile of someone who can afford to lose a rich person’s money as part of a social experiment.

    In conclusion, I would say that the main problem with this book is its focus. If the book was biographical in nature, and covered the interactions and emotions on the floor with the other Turtles, and covered specifically the psychological aspects and nothing else, it could be a somewhat interesting read. As an investment book, it does not work, and is aggravating.

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  • Brett Steenbarger says:
    252 of 276 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Lessons From An Original Turtle, March 31, 2007
    By 
    Brett Steenbarger (Naperville, IL USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Way of the Turtle: The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders (Hardcover)

    Curtis Faith’s Way of the Turtle is a significant contribution to the trading literature. As other reviewers have noted, it works on several levels: It is an engagingly written first-person narrative of one of the most interesting experiments in trading, but it is also a thoughtful presentation of the various ingredients of trading success.

    Faith spells out the Turtle trading method in detail, providing a template for a more general approach known as trend following. Most helpful is the way he breaks down the method into components: entry criteria, criteria for adding to positions, position sizing, stops, and exits. A particularly interesting chapter draws upon his Trading Blox software to update trend following research and illustrate the results of several systems in recent markets.

    If I had to identify a single theme for the book, it might be this: Relatively simple trading systems can provide a tradable edge, but it is psychologically difficult for traders to follow these systems and exploit that edge. Faith illustrates this with the variability in the results among the Turtle trainees (despite the fact that all of them were given the same system rules). He also provides a detailed accounting of the psychological biases that make it difficult to follow systems that ride relatively few big winning trades for an overall positive expectancy.

    Among the gems provided by Way of the Trader is a discussion of stop loss criteria and surprising research about what works and doesn’t; a concluding chapter that lays out the Turtle rules in manual form, along with execution tactics; and an insightful presentation of the reasons most traders do not succeed in trading. Faith questions both discretionary trading–trading without systematically testing one’s trading ideas–and the notion that trading systems eliminate emotions from trading. He makes it very clear that traders need an objective edge in the marketplace *and* the psychological fortitude to ride out inevitable drawdowns on route to exploiting that edge.

    I don’t think it’s necessary that one be a dedicated trend follower to greatly benefit from this book. Besides being a fun and interesting read, it is an excellent introduction to the various components of trading methods and how they impact outcomes. It is also a first-rate integration of the psychology and techniques of trading. Perhaps most important of all, Way of the Turtle is an illuminating presentation of risk management and consistency, two major contributors to market success.

    There are no glaring weaknesses to the book that I can detect. Personally, I would have enjoyed a discussion of the pros and cons of trend following at shorter time frames. I also would have liked a discussion of the capital required to properly implement the Turtle approach, given that success derives from holding a diversified portfolio. Those, however, are small quibbles when compared to the book’s strengths. The author’s chapter elaborating the Turtle method as a life philosophy is, by itself, worth the price of the text.

    In short, Curtis Faith has written the definitive book on the Turtle experience and way of trading. It’s hard to imagine anyone reading this book and not coming away from the experience impressed with the blend of research and psychological strength that goes into trading success.

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