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Recommend a few good sports psychology books
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Recommend a few good sports psychology books

  #11 (permalink)
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Now, I'm struggling, not necessarily there yet. But I'll share my view after looking at a lot of books and methods.

Trading is a bit like sports but not really enough. Unless you can find a sport where you sit for a long time waiting for a chance to fire (starts to sound like hunting) but once you fire you have to carefully and delicately manage your prey until you win or it gore's you (sounds more like spearfishing for sharks and not being allowed to kill them for 10 minutes). There are no books on this.

Then, in the trading psych books there are one trick ponies and a bunch of people who grab stuff like NLP that's regarded as discredited by real psychologists and those who test things to see if they work. And there's a tendency to use terms like Neuroplasticity as though there is a new solution (really all it means is that we can learn new patterns, the brain will adopt new habits if repeated and strengthened) although the guy mentioned above has done excellent work on OCD but the Amazon reviews are right about his science.

So, after reading huge amounts and trying a lot of things what works?

Well, cognitive behavioural work does get the scientific tick, and recently so has work using mindfulness to reduce the damaging effect of thought/feeling/emotion clusters in people under stress and allow them to do what's important rather than what their impulses and fears are driving. So my recommendation would be:

- watch Dr Gary Dayton's fear video on the site as its a good introduction to ACT, a combination of mindfulness and cognitive work
- read and work hard on "The Happiness Trap" by Russ Harris which gives ACT a lot more depth and will give you some exercises to build your skills for trading. These really help when you're thoughts are pulling you to exit early or stay too long in a trade, or you're anxious and don't quite want to pull the trigger.
- read and work hard on "The Mental Game of Poker" by Jared Tendler. Poker is the sport closest to trading and Jared has an enviable reputation for helping Poker players step up a level or three using Cognitive techniques. His stuff maps well to trading and combines well with ACT.
- Steenbarger's stuff is good to read but I personally found it hard to turn into fixes for my trading problems.

Both of the recommended books are cheap for your kindle (or free kindle software) and the webinar will cost you $50 for the "elite" membership. I didn't have the webinar when I started though, its just interesting to see that Dr Gary had read the ACT book and was using it before me. I'm hoping that means it's as effective as it seems to be so far.

I've been beavering away at this stuff for a long while so I've seen some snake oil and some pretensions of superior psych. But I've been working on these two since February and seem to be nailing some of my old problems. It remains to be seen if I can truly turn the corner but I'd bet on this recommendation against most of the other things you can try. Check out my journal over the next few months if you want to find out if it does work.

Is this a joke?

No one has mentioned NLP, which I think is pretty dubious. Dr. Scwhartz (Jeffrey M. Schwartz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) combines mindfulness with exposure and response prevention therapy (Exposure and response prevention - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), and it seems to work decently:The Next Wave--UCLA Magazine.

I just don't see how you can easily dismiss a renowned neuroscientist at UCLA , but then recommend online salesmen like Russ Harris (The Happiness Trap | Stop Struggling Start Living by Dr Russ Harris)? ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) seems to be the quack version of CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). I think it would be better to read old Buddhist texts instead. No need to buy online courses for that inferior products.

The criticism against Dr Schwartz relates to the last third of his book, where he dicusses the Quantum Mind. That is a bit to spiritual for most scientist, and veers more towards Buddhism than science. It's funny that you first dismiss his science, only to propose something even more controversial: ACT.

I didn't want to get into a discussion about consciousness, I simply thought the book might be good for a kid. I am much more pessimistic on the concept of free will than Dr. Schwartz is, but I still found his book enjoyable. I like to expand my thinking as much as possible, even though I might not agree with the original premise. My point was just that for someone growing up, believing in having the power to change one's on brain can only be a strength. No point in being unhappy, just model your brain to be blissful. No need to have ADD, just model your brain to be able to concentrate. I think that is a better approach than admitting defeat without even trying, regardless of the validity of the concept.

Lastly, while neuroplasticity is not a new concept, the implications of it is. Dr. Norman Doidge made a decent documentary about, and wrote a book (which I haven't read), problems due to physical impairment. The brain used to be considered an immutable machine, but now it's accepted that neuroplasticity can actually repair stroke damages, e.g. This is a drastic departure from the old way of thinking.

P.S. If one can't see how treating OCD relates to relieving trading related problems, then I don't know what does. Remedying the latter is a lot easier than treating the former.

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  #12 (permalink)
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Not a joke. You do seem offended though and have rushed in and seem to misinterpreted both what I meant and what I can or can't see.

I think Scwhartz's work on OCD is superb but his extensions may be a stretch. I have read his book from end to end and thus agree with the criticisms at Amazon. And I can see relationships between elements of OCD and elements of psychological trading issues. The question I was trying to answer was about what could be applied to trading effectively. If you read both Schwartz's book and Russ's book you might see why I suggest the second.

I didn't suggest that anyone buy online courses. And if anyone reads your Wikipedia link on ACT they will question your suggestion that it is a quack version of CBT. You might read the book and give your opinion after that. I have read quite a few Buddhist texts and think that most will find them harder to relate to trading than "The Happiness Trap" or Dr Gary Dayton's work.

I didn't see this thread as about you and I hadn't seen my reply as about you or insulting to you. Sorry if I triggered something for you and you felt aggrieved.




Last edited by cusp; April 6th, 2012 at 08:36 PM. Reason: added the 3rd paragraph for clarification
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  #13 (permalink)
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cusp View Post
Not a joke. You do seem offended though and have rushed in and seem to misinterpreted both what I meant and what I can or can't see.

I think Scwhartz's work on OCD is superb but his extensions may be a stretch. I have read his book from end to end and thus agree with the criticisms at Amazon. And I can see relationships between elements of OCD and elements of psychological trading issues. The question I was trying to answer was about what could be applied to trading effectively. If you read both Schwartz's book and Russ's book you might see why I suggest the second.

I didn't suggest that anyone buy online courses. And if anyone reads your Wikipedia link on ACT they will question your suggestion that it is a quack version of CBT. You might read the book and give your opinion after that. I have read quite a few Buddhist texts and think that most will find them harder to relate to trading than "The Happiness Trap" or Dr Gary Dayton's work.

I didn't see this thread as about you and I hadn't seen my reply as about you or insulting to you. Sorry if I triggered something for you and you felt aggrieved.



I was not offended at all; just being the satirical polemicist I've always been. I just wanted to get in one good fight before I left...

It seemed like you equated Schwartz' work to NLP and suggested mindfulness as an alternative, and I found that very strange considering mindfulness is a t the core of his work. I disagree with a lot of what he's writing, but, due to my affinity for esoteric ideas, I quite enjoyed his book.

I can't really comment on ACT, but, from what I read, I can't understand why wouldn't want to consult the original Buddhist texts instead. There are some excellent anecdotes in that material.

Personally, I find most of psychology to be pseudo-science, but, thanks to neuroscience, it seems to be veering in the right direction. I've always preferred philosophy for existential problems, and neuroscience for application of self-therapy.

I really don't like trader psychologists, probably because I see this things as a broader "whole". If you can control you emotions while trading, you can control them while playing sports or breaking up with your girlfriend. It's all the same. People tend to make things more complicated than they are.

Buddha said: "My words are to be accepted after examining them, not out of respect for me,". I think those are wise words to live by. Even Nietzsche with his "Got ist tot" had a sweet spot for Buddhism. Meditation is a powerful concept. I'm incapable of following directions, but I am a visual thinker and I guess I've developed my own meditation techniques. It's really all about acknowledging what one is really feeling.

Oh, don't forget to exercise. Neuroplasticity is worthless without neurogenesis!

Happy Easter!

FORA.tv - Michael Merzenich: Rewiring the Brain

http://brainimaging.waisman.wisc.edu/publications/2008/DavidsonBuddhaIEEE.pdf

http://www.pnas.org/content/101/46/16369.full

http://jp.physoc.org/content/587/13/3221

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The Fearless Mind, 5 Essential Steps to Higher Performance
by Craig Manning, PhD.

Amazon.com: The Fearless Mind (9781599553962): Craig Manning: Books

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Here's a good one that deals with instinct vs. over-thinking:

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Lornz View Post
If you can control you emotions while trading, you can control them while playing sports or breaking up with your girlfriend. It's all the same. People tend to make things more complicated than they are.

In theory this seems logical, but from what I've seen (both for myself and others) being able to execute it in trading is a different matter. I've tried, done, excelled at, and succeeded doing all sorts of stuff. I approached trading with the same type of effort/commitment/focus/etc. that had previously brought me success. Trading kicked my ass pretty hard for quite a while. It has taken a completely different approach than anything else I've ever attempted. And I'm not talking trading methodology or strategy or whatever. No, the same thing that had contributed to my lifelong successes was stunting my growth as a trader: me.

Also, while it may seem like a matter of semantics, there is a difference between trying to control emotions and developing an active understanding of them. In the latter, I will seek out situations that complement my emotional framework and less likely to pit me against my emotions in some sort of internal pissing contest. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said, "I can resist everything except temptation." I like the idea of willpower as much as the next guy, but the bottom line is avoiding negatively tempting situations has a higher chance of success than trying to tackle it head on. It has taken me too many years of accumulating cinder block indentations on my forehead to erode the tendency to bulldog my way through stuff.

I'm not trying to deflect or detract from your ideas, not at all. I'm just saying that as simple as trading is on a purely functional level, there are reasons retail brokerages see so many retail traders blow out account after account. And a lot of those who blow out are smart, capable people who have also had their own history of success.

Also, to the original poster, I hope this side dialogue isn't too off-topic. I think it's related, but I can relate almost anything to anything. And I have been known to on occasion.

Anyway, I'm tired now and feel I've stumbled into ramble-y, so I'm gonna tap out for now

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~ Seneca
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About The Inner Game of Golf | The Inner Game

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You try with this one


Investor Psychology and Asset Pricing

A very good book on investor psychology.

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Finding Your Zone: Ten Core Lessons for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life

by Michael Lardon

Good book from a sports psychologist. Many examples from golf as the author worked extensively in this field, but you get a good idea of the core principles of peak performance in general, no matter in what field. It's also a short book and easy to read.

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Ok.

I got 4 books on the way.

I picked these because they looked/sounded a easy readings.

Executive Toughness, 10-Minute Toughness, both by Jason Selk.

The Fearless Mind by Manning.

Finding Your Zone by Lardon.

It's going to take a while but I'll try to report back of my take.

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