Best swing trading books (Updated 2021)

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In this article I’ll review what I think are the best swing trading books.

The books included in this list are ideal for traders interested in developing their swing trading game. This list includes books that provide really insightful and unique perspectives on swing trading. I’ve also included several books that are the essential resources for understanding charting analysis techniques that forms the basis for swing trading technical analysis.

The books listed include those suited best for beginner traders. I’ve also included books better suited to traders with more trading knowledge.

A great way to enjoy the books listed in this post is signing up for a free audible trial.

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Intro to swing trading | What is Swing Trading?

Swing Trading is a trading strategy with a short to medium term timeframe that aims to capture the big market moves. Typically, swing traders lean heavily on technical analysis. But also utilize news events, company earning reports and other company financial reports (fundamental analysis) to drive trading decisions. 

Best Swing Trading Books 

The following is a quick reference list for the books I will be covering in this post:

How to Swing Trade (2018)

How to swing trade – Best Swing Trading Books

Overview

How to Swing Trade is a beginner friendly guide that paves the way to understanding the concepts, principles and rules of swing trading. It is an ideal starting point for novice traders as well as experienced traders in learning about the different aspects can improve a traders opportunity for success in swing trading. 

Brian Pezim does an excellent job in sharing a helpful, practical, and actionable set of guidelines that can be easily incorporated in your trading system. Pezim does a wonderful job in formatting the book into a practical and actionable guide. New concepts are immediately followed by clear explanations on how to incorporate each into practice.

Key Points 

Scanning Resources 

One of the actionable advices shared by the author is the use of scanning/screening resources like Chartmill and Finviz to find potential trade opportunities.

The author even shares his personal settings to give you a head start and point you in the right direction. 

Money and Risk Management, Swing Trading Strategies

The author shares the ins and outs of swing trading. Such as swing trading tools, entry and exit optimization. Down to the nitty-gritty of money and risk management and how this plays a crucial role in success as a swing trader. 

Upon completion of the book, any trader, especially starting ones, will be equipped with the tools, psyche, skills routine and knowledge necessary to successfully run a trading business. 

About the Author 

Brian Pezim has been an active trader since the late 1960s and an active mentor at the Bear Bull Traders community.  His book, How to Swing Trade: A Beginner’s Guide to Trading Tools, Money Management, Rules, Routines, and Strategies of a Swing Trader, is a highly rated resource on the subject of swing trading. Many regard Pezim’s book as one of their top recommendation for anyone wanting to start their swing trading journey. 

Trading for a Living: Psychology, Trading Tactics, Money Management (1993)

Trading for a Living – Best Swing Trading Books

Overview

Trading for a Living is a classic masterpiece in the Swing Trading space. This book touches on 3 pillars that make up trading success: psychology, trading tactics, and money management. The author, Dr. Alexander Elder wrote this classic in the 1990s and updated in 2014 to accommodate novice traders. 

Key Points 

The Three Pillars

Dr. Elder discussed in detail the 3 pillars he finds to be the most important in achieving sustainable success in the world of trading: 

Psychology 

  • Like all mentors, Dr. Elder exerts emphasis on the big role of emotions management so much so that he argues that analyzing oneself is equally important as analyzing the markets. This is why the author recommends investing time in analyzing ourselves – our nuances, strengths, weaknesses, and biases – just like how we analyze the markets. 
  • Here are some emotion management tips from the book:
    • Keep a journal: include screenshot of charts as well as thoughts and emotions for that trade
    • Know your rules and exits before entering a trade 

Market Analysis and Trading Systems

The author does an excellent job in explaining his recommended tools and trading systems. One of the key takeaways in this section is the discussion on technical indicators (trend following versus oscillators).

Dr. Elder emphasizes the advantage of having a handful of technical indicators at your disposal rather than relying on a single indicator. 

The author not only imparts his favorite indicators and provides solid rationale as to support his preference. Dr. Elder utilizes trend following indicators (MACD and DMI) and Stochastics (RSI) in his system where the former is to identify and enter with the trend positions while the latter identifies turning points. 

Moreover, in the topic of moving averages, Dr. Elder also shares his preference of exponential moving averages over normal moving averages. 

Money Management 

The final pillar is sound money management. To achieve this, Dr. Elder talks about the importance of aligning your priorities at the beginning of your trading journey. The progression should go as follows: survival -> steady returns -> high returns.

Dr. Elder also sheds light on risk management in relation to money management. He suggests to never risk more than 2% of your equity. This includes slippage and broker commissions.

Triple Screen Trading System 

One of the most valuable takeaways from the book is this system developed by Dr. Elder himself. 

The Triple Screen Trading System aims to complement the nuances of using a combination of trend following indicators and oscillators by running a single trade into a triple screening tests. This solves the problem of getting opposite signals from different indicators. 

The triple screen are as follows: Market Tide, Market Waves, and Intraday breakout. 

About the Author 

Dr. Alexander Elder is a professional trader and has experiences in the medical arts and psychiatry.

Dr. Elder is the author of 18 books including international bestseller Trading for a Living) and Come Into My Trading Room

Mastering the Trade (2012)

Mastering the Trade – Best Swing Trading Books

Overview

Mastering the Trade is an in-depth look in to the world of swing and day trading. The author goes beyond the usual sharing of concepts. The book is structured into 3 general parts. An overarching view of market dynamics, specific trade setups and ends with real world applications. 

Mastering the Trade generally operates under the notion that trading should be treated as a business. The preparation and management required is immense and should not be taken lightly to achieve sustained profitability. Mastering the Trade is a book best appreciated by traders with some level of experience. It may be overwhelming to the beginning trader. 

Key Points

This section will be divided into the 3 main parts mentioned above. 

Part 1: Bootcamp

The first part begins with a top down approach where market dynamics will be the central theme. Later chapters take a more specific route.  Carter does an excellent approach by first answering the fundamental question: “what really causes the markets to move?”

This gives readers the foundation needed before tackling the more complex chapters of the book. 

Other chapters in Bootcamp include Trader Psychology.  The author talks about the right trader mindset and outlook. Interestingly, Carter also talks about 4 psychological phases that traders face. 

Bootcamp concludes with a discussion on basic mechanics of Futures, Options, and Stocks individually. This is a useful guide for any trader who would like to deepen knowledge of the instrument he/she is trading. 

Part 2: Intraday and Swing Trading Setups 

The first few chapters of part 2 talks about the different setups that Carter likes to trade: Gap, Scalping, Pivot Points, Tick Fades, and Mean.  He provides an in-depth discussion on each.

The later chapters talk about different tools, indicators as well as plays Carter recommends.

Part 2 is content heavy with 16 chapters. Carter does an intensely committed job in discussing and dissecting these plays, indicators, and setups. He also discusses the best for specific instruments. 

Part 3: Real World of Trading 

Carter ties together all the learnings from the previous sections by taking the reader out of the conceptual world and into the real day to day life of a trader.

Part 3 kicks off with a premarket checklist where Carter talks about not only the importance of crafting a game plan for the next trading day but also the how-to’s in preparing effectively. This includes different chart analysis and volume analysis. 

The checklist is then followed by introducing the need to treat trading as a business. Carter outlines the crucial aspects of running a trading business. 

Finally, Carter concludes his book with a series of tips and tricks that are quite handy. 

About the Author

John F. Carter has been a full-time trader since 1996 and a Commodity Trading Advisor. Carter manages a futures and forex fund with Razor Trading. His book, Mastering the Trade, is a bestselling classic that comes in three editions. The latest edition was published in 2018. 

 Editorial Reviews

“John Carter’s new book focuses quickly on the critical area of trader psychology, a realm that will often separate the trader from his wallet if it is not mastered first. The in-depth trading strategies clearly show how to respond to market moves based on real-world examples.” 

—Price Headley, founder of BigTrends.com and author of Big Trends in Trading

Come into My Trading Room (2002)

Come into My Trading Room – Best Swing Trading Books

Overview

After the notable success of Trading for a Living, Dr. Alexander Elder wrote Come into My Trading Room, which extends on the wisdom he shared in his first book. This book centers on the importance of the management of money, time, and strategy. It gives readers a taste of the importance of trading essentials that will serve as a strong foundation in the highly volatile world of trading. 

Come Into my Trading Room is a well-written and engaging book that every trader, whether novice or professional, should consider adding to their must-read book list.

The main thrust of the book is Dr. Elder’s well-rounded discussion on the 3M’s: Mind, Method, and Money. This is an expanded version of the three pillars from his previous book Trading for a Living. 

Key Points

Mind 

The first M is the study of the Mind or the trader’s psyche. Dr. Elder writes about the two main challenges in building a strong psychological foundation: the emotions of fear and greed. 

As a Psychiatrist, Dr. Elder’s gives actionable advice in the realm of discipline as a means of managing our Mind.

Dr. Elder, like many renowned experts in the medical field and in trading, encourages the use of a trading diary as a self-analysis tool. 

Method 

The second M is Method. This section of the book generates an excellent value add for traders who are still in the nascent stages of building their own trading system. Dr. Elder hashes out his recommended set of indicators and tools and shows how to effectively combine them to develop an adoptable trading system. 

Dr. Elder does an excellent job in detailing every piece – entry and exit optimization, technicals, trade identification, among others – that makes a profitable trading system. 

Money 

Finally, Money makes up the final and crucial piece. Sound money management is the key to trading survival. Dr. Elder’s advice in this section is akin to the money management advice in his previous book – Trading for a Living. The distinction lies on the specificity of rules and mathematical formulas that the readers can easily adopt in managing their capital. 

This section is vital in making a profitable business from trading. Capital preservation/survival is the goal while sound money management is the pathway towards that goal. 

The Organized Trader

Apart from the 3 M’s, Dr. Elder also takes his readers to uncharted waters: organizing time and effort. Not a lot of trading books have explored these ideas.

About the Author

Dr. Alexander Elder is a professional trader and has experiences in the medical arts and psychiatry.

Dr. Elder has authored 18 books including international bestseller Trading for a Living

Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques (1991)

Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques – Best Swing Trading Books

Overview

Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques is a contemporary, easy-to-understand guide of the popular chart element: the Japanese candlestick. A product of experience, analysis, and research, Steve Nison writes a comprehensive guide covering the very basic techniques and core fundamentals of candlestick charting techniques.  

Key Points 

Candlestick Pattern Application 

The book provides in depth analysis of candlestick charting, covering all the necessary components to create a solid foundation of understanding and interpreting candlestick patterns. 

The author utilizes hundreds of examples to ensure that the concept is understood to such a level that readers will be able to apply it confidently either as a stand-alone or in synergy with other techniques. Nison encourages the latter as he believes that Japanese candlesticks can create a powerful synergy with other technical analysis tools.

Role of Psychology 

Many technicians and traders have theoretical knowledge about candlestick patterns. Particularly the forecasting ability of a single pattern. However, not many have enriched that knowledge by studying beyond theories. 

Nison does not only talk about candlestick as chart patterns. The author also covers the role of psychology in forming such patterns.

About the Author 

Steve Nison is deemed by many as the pioneer of contemporary candlestick chart analysis. He is the owner of Nison Research International, an advisory firm providing research and technical advisory. 

Nison pioneered his educational website: candlecharts.com where he provides free materials for anyone who is interested in discovering what they called the Nison Advantage. 

Nison is a Chartered Market Technician, a designation he received from the Market Technicians Associations (MTA). 

Editorial Reviews 

An exciting and valuable addition to the literature of technical analysis this ancient Japanese technique is available to American traders in a comprehensive, well-written, and understandable format.

— John Murphy, President JJM Technical Advisors, Inc. and author of Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets

Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets (1986)

Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets – Best Swing Trading Books

Overview

Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets is a classic trading book that has helped countless traders in trading financial markets. John J. Murphy’s bestseller educates readers with his comprehensive view of technical analysis – from candlestick charting to indicators to economic forecasting – this is a very thorough guide that all traders should read to up their game in the markets.

Murphy complements his studies of concepts with countless examples and figures. This book focuses on two of the largest financial markets – Stocks and Futures. 

This book aims to be the all-in-one guide of learning everything about technical analysis. 

Key Points

Technical Analysis: everything you need to know

One of the things that Murphy does so beautifully in this book is how he breaks down the complex concepts onto an easily digestible format. Every technical concept is dissected in detail – definition, mathematical basis, application – which is then supported by relevant examples. 

Topics this book includes: 

  • Philosophy of Technical Analysis: Premises that Murphy discusses: Market action discounts everything, price moves in trends, and history repeats itself. 
  • Basic concepts of Trends: A discussion on trendlines and support and resistances. 
  • Price Patterns: a study of price patterns including reversal patterns (triple/double tops, head and shoulders) and continuation patterns (triangles, wedge, etc.)
  • Volume Analysis: Interpretation of volume and its importance in your analysis
  • Indicators: In depth chapters dedicated to moving averages and oscillators
  • Popular theories:  Application of the most popular market theories like the  Elliott Wave and Dow Theory
  • Cycles: Stock market, presidential cycles
  • Money Management: an entire chapter dedicated to proper money management. Includes lessons on asset allocation, risk reward ratios, among others. 
  • Intermarket analysis: answers critical questions about the correlation of the stock and futures market.  

Murphy touches on a lot of theories, tools and techniques that provide a lot of value for swing traders no matter the readers level of experience. Technical concepts are explained in a way that is understandable to the novice trader with added information that will expand on an experienced trader’s existing knowledge.

About the Author 

John J. Murphy has well-rounded experience in the business of investing and trading. Murphy is a former technical analyst in CNBC. He also played the role of a trading advisor in a senior managed account as well as acted as a director of Technical Analysis in Merrill Lynch. Murphy has written several other books including: The Visual Investor and Intermarket Technical Analysis.

Editorial Reviews 

“If one could read only one book on technical analysis, this should be the one.”

– Knight Ridder Financial

Market Wizards (1989)

Market Wizards – Best Swing Trading Books

Overview 

Market Wizards is a book and book series born out of the author’s numerous interviews with some of the worlds most successful traders. From their mishaps to successes, Jack Schwager reveals a wealth of valuable insights to their own personal experiences. he reveals their unique styles, systems, and personality. The traders also share several common experiences and thoughts about trading. 

In these books Schwager has compiled a handful of amazing stories that bear lessons for all readers. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from what Schwager refers to as the Market Wizards. These are individuals who have already experienced the pains, disappointments and eventually success in trading. 

Key Points 

Lessons from the Wizards: Capital Preservation

Many of the wizards spoke about the importance of capital preservation. In other words, survival through sound money management.  Although it is a topic that many trading literatures has already discussed, it is refreshing to read it in context of actual experiences.

Not surprisingly, many of the wizards experienced difficulty in preserving their trading capital. Interestingly, these traders share similar reasons for why they lost vast amounts of capital. Schwager notes that losing capital is commonly a function of failure to admit the wrong trading call.

Nonetheless, despite their many losses, another emphasized the point that losing is part of the game. 

Lesson from the Wizards: Find what works for you

Another common denominator shared by the wizards is how a part of their success is attributable to finding a system or methodology that worked. Then developing an intense amount of discipline to follow that system.

About the Author

Jack D. Schwager is a renowned industry expert in futures and hedge funds. In his career, Schwager served as a partner in the Fortune Group, a hedge fund advisory firm based in London, from 2001-2010. Schwager also acted as Director of Futures research for several firms including Prudential Securities.

Editorial Reviews

“Market Wizards is one of the most fascinating books ever written about Wall Street. A few of the “Wizards” are my friends—and Jack Schwager has nailed their modus operandi on the head.”

 —Martin W. Zweig, Ph.D., Editor The Zweig Forecast

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