An End to the Bull - 10 free review copies

Ivan88

Junior member
About a third of the way through it. Not an easy read so far - reading it on a laptop does not help. Will leave a review when finished, unfair to comment yet.
 

bobcollett

Junior member
It took me all of two weeks to get the download to work.
Adobes SUPPORT is useless. Wiley Publishers were very helpful and they solved the problem by using an earlier version of ADR.
I have completed the reading, and except for the chapter on Volatility, its easy to follow.I would like to read it again before I comment.
Regards
bobc
 

0007

Senior member
An End to the Bull - My review

This is an outstandingly good book, significantly different, and it made me think hard about my trading. It’s written from a professional trader’s non-amateur perspective but helpfully crafted to benefit the retail trader. Gary Norden's previous book (Technical Analysis and the Active Trader) gives a clue to his philosophy: don't depend exclusively on TA. His conclusions rock the foundations of pure technical traders but anyone with an open and inquisitive mind will almost certainly benefit from studying the author's premise of looking beyond TA. In this treatise a convincing case is made for taking account of what the author calls "robust data" – a concept which goes beyond what is usually recognised as “fundamentals”. I particularly liked the author’s take on the commonly accepted view that “everything is in the price” – I’ve always been uneasy with that idea and this is the first time I’ve come across a well-reasoned counter argument.

There is a lot more to this book than just TA though. It's divided into three parts: the first covers ground usually omitted from the typical "How to Trade My Way" type of books – a genre of which the author emphasises this book is not a member. Included is an excellent exposition of the retail trading scene – appropriately named by the author as "The Financial Junk-Food Industry" and he submits evidence as to why you should plough your own furrow as a trader. A following chapter on trader psychology is one of the best I have read – concise, relevant and almost certainly, some of the situations will have applied to most of us at some stage of our trading careers. Part one concludes with a helpful discussion, amongst other things, of why you would want to be a trader and the implications thereof – again, topics which are seldom covered adequately. This author is not afraid to present the unpalatable: he contends that not everybody is cut out to be a successful trader – the sort of discussion that should make you stop and think about what you want and are capable of getting from the world of trading.

Part Two covers much of the mechanics and day to day business of participating in the markets. This is essential and on the face of it rather boring stuff but ignore it at your peril. It's all well explained and I particularly liked the chapter on "Watch lists". Part three is titled "The next level: incorporating more advanced concepts" and it is precisely that. Having skim-read to this point I definitely had to slow up here in order to properly digest this material which very adequately explains pricing in, volatility and how the Pros trade. There is good argument as to why these difficult topics are important to you as a retail trader and why you should persevere until you have mastered them.

An underlying thought throughout the book is that none of this is easy and a great deal of hard work and persistence is required, and even after that success is not guaranteed. I enjoyed this book because it is thought provoking and challenges some conventional beliefs with reasoned argument. I like the fact that it's available in digital edition and is therefore easily readable on a 7” tablet which slips into the pocket or bag without problem. Its price is loose change in terms of what you probably spend on brokerage and I consider it to be excellent value. My concluding thought on this book is prompted by the philosopher Bertrand Russell who said: "Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do." In my opinion this book can definitely help us to stay alive as thinking traders – think of it as cerebral trading fertiliser.


Gary Norden’s book earns a place on my “Respected Authors” trading bookshelf. Well worth reading & highly recommended.
 

Atilla

Legendary member
"An End to the Bull" is a trading book written from a real trader's perspective with 25 years experience. The author Gary Norden is very forthright starting with myth busting statements about trading in the financial markets. Technical Analysis and the extensive use of charts and indicators are immediately challenged as being fruitless with limited value, rarely used by real traders. The 'trend is your friend' takes a few knocks too. This is not your usual conventional trading book, encouraging or showing the reader how easy trading is. It is a book outlining how real traders work and attempts to guide wannabe new retail and seasoned traders on what the important ingredients are for successful professional traders.

The book is in three parts spread across ten chapters. The reading is laboured and I would not have appreciated or enjoyed the book as much as I did if I was starting out as a new retail trader. It tells the trader what they need to learn and approach to take. Trading comes across as hard work. Talk of short-cuts and rich rewards are quickly dispelled and the question 'Why do you want to trade?' is asked.

It is an excellent book with much rich content to offer for the determined reader who wants to put the effort in to understand the mindset of real traders. Psychology of the trading mind based on studies is well presented. Key characteristics are mentioned, referencing various studies on how heuristic biases play out in traders mind and decision making process. References are highlighted for the reader to follow up on these studies. A second reading of this book after a period of trading would be my recommendation for those traders who blow up a few accounts.

There is also good content on how the industry works on various levels and market sectors, discussing roles by analysts, brokers and traders. Sell and buy side interests, short-side selling and the different market instrument types are succinctly described. The author states markets and analysts as shovelling much 'noise' to put it politely. It doesn't aim to sell the industry in a glorified healthy light as so many retail companies do but is termed by the author as the 'other' junk-food industry. Through out the book various trading points are raised and discussed and good few duely placed in the junk-food category.

The book proceeds to further expand on how to approach the trading business and what is required to be successful. Distinctions are made between real traders working for institutions and retail traders. Differences in shares, currencies and bonds, commodities and derivatives and the specialists knowledge required in each of these markets emphasised along with their dependencies. Pre-trading requirement to research relationships of each with daily awareness is discussed. Watchlists to study as part of daily routine are recommended in keeping abreast with the many sectors of the market. Ability to discern what is real information and what is simply noise is underlined.

The author does well bringing to traders awareness the many important factors and knowledge that needs to be acquired on the road to becoming a successful trader. For this reason the book may be a hard read for the fresh mind who may not appreciate the important content effectively summarised in ten chapters.

There is an outline of key features one should look for prior to choosing a broker and platform to trade on. Computer type, news feeds, charting package and capital required are mentioned. Once again what comes through is not encouragement on how easy it is to start in retail trading but the serious work one should put into being business minded.

Chapter seven explains the mindset of a real trader on his decision making process before pulling the trigger to enter a trade. There are a few but don't expect to see lots of charts, figures and diagrams with lines on them. What follows is an explanation on position sizing, targets and stop loss levels in managing trades. Cutting losses quickly is hammered repeatedly throughout the book.

Final part of the book discusses concepts such as reflexivity, volatility and states the assumption that markets are ahead as incorrect. It tells the reader how to interpret volatility and to take adaptive actions to shorten time frame and reduce sizing. Options are probably too advanced concepts for retail traders but invaluable tool in pricing in volatility and influencing trading decisions. Understanding options would require a dedicated book explaining how they are worked out and used.

Some books are to be skimmed and some to be read. "An End to the Bull" needs to be digested by all new and seasoned retail traders if they want to avoid the pit falls of the financial junk-food industry. I would strongly recommend this book to new and intermediate traders on their path to becoming successful.
 

Charlton

Experienced member
Useful work focussing on trader's mindset

The essence of the book is said to be to succeed as a trader you will need to break free from the herd and be comfortable making your own decisions. In this respect it ties in with the philosophy of this site and my personal philosophy. He aims to present ideas and techniques used by professional traders to the retail trader/reader. In particular e wants to help the reader understand what lies behind the techniques he proposes.

The book is divided into 3 parts, the first of which explores how the “financial junk-food industry” presents myths as a result of the different views and aims of the market participants, brokers and analysts. By understanding what is “noise” and challenging concepts such as “everything is in the price” he begins a useful shift in the reader’s viewpoint.

He then explores trader psychology, more than just the frequently espoused greed and fear. He achieves this, in my view quite concisely, by presenting a number of questions with simple 2-option answers, which provide that “aha” moment revealing the biases to which we are all prone.

The first part of the book ends by a consideration of how we may break free and establish new mindsets – to not follow the herd.

The second part of the book looks at building new foundations and explores some of the key knowledge that should be acquired – a topic particularly useful for the newbie. A particularly useful technique, used by professional traders, he introduces is the concept of watchlists as a means of filtering noise from information. I thought that this chapter was one of the most useful in the work, for both newbie and more experienced traders.

The following chapter on treating trading as a business, I found to be less useful. It covers topics such as broker choice, liquidity, hardware and charting packages. The problem with presenting these in a book is that the reader normally wants more detail than it is possible to give without the information becoming dated.

Gary then explores position sizing and management, which I consider to be one of the most important topics which if often overlooked despite its impact on trading profitability. This section has loads of anecdotes which are interesting, but for me the constant reference back to the “core principles” began to get a little repetitive.

The final part of the book examines advanced concepts such as pricing in and volatility. I think that one of the best characteristics of the work is to start the novice along the correct track of thinking, what Gary refers to as the system B style of trading. Certainly this section slows down the reader and demonstrates how tackling these topics early in one’s trading career can pay dividends later.

Discussing “pricing in” he aims to dispel the myth that the market is ahead. He introduces how we should not just base decisions on analysis of past data/charts. In this respect he discusses a useful technique, which is to look for disconfirmation.

The penultimate chapter explores volatility and, in particular, its relation to position size. Again Gary illustrates well the different aspects of volatility and dispels the lazy use of the term.
Finally the book ends considering how pros trade bringing together all the techniques discussed early. This chapter considers flow trading or scalping, which Gary says that not all retail traders would want to use but to show why professional traders do/

In summary I think that the main thing Gary achieves is to changes one’s mindset in this work and, for that, I believe that it has achieved its aim and is a book that is well-worth reading.
 

Ivan88

Junior member
Forever the contrarian! Unlike the others who have commented so far I did not enjoy reading the book! I found it a hard slog and had I not asked for a free copy on the promise that I would review it I would have given up halfway or so through and just skimmed the remaining chapters to check I wasn’t missing something!

I’ve read a fair few books now on trading – mostly on trader psychology or technical analysis. How I judge a trading book is by identifying if there anything “new” that I did not previously know and most importantly what I will use going forward. I’m afraid Gary’s book has very little that I will choose to use going forward.

Many parts of the book offer good solid advice which I totally support – beware of the “sell side” of the industry, trader psychology, position sizing, small losses, hard work, time commitment and specialisation are just some. However, I am unable to agree with some of the major themes of the book. I feel I’m putting myself up for ridicule by “disagreeing” with someone who is almost certainly a far more successful trader than I will ever be but I feel Gary’s book has been written on the basis of his training and experiences as a professional trader without a deep consideration on how a retailer trader would be able to gather this level experience and knowledge.

Gary suggests a way to trade – a methodology mostly based around market knowledge – and the application of that knowledge to identify trading opportunities. He details the need for accurate data/information – not noise or opinion and how this is essential to decision making. Having been a professional trader, Gary has been formally trained in what data to look for, where to look and importantly accessing it in a timely manner and has the background knowledge and experience on how to apply it. I seriously question whether a retail trader can access this timely information and further really have the understanding of the markets to be able to apply it profitably.

Gary’s book is immediately dismissive of Technical Analysis – I have not read his earlier book which apparently has greater detail on the reasons for his dislike. He is very black and white on this – too much so in my opinion as although it may be true that most professional institutional traders give little value to Technical Analysis there are some successful traders (perhaps mostly retail) who have solely TA based systems. There are many ways to skin a cat – Gary’s approach may be one proven way to be successful but the book does not acknowledge that there may be others!

Perhaps the reason for my own discomfort in Gary’s method is that I have previously failed when I tried to trade in a “similar” manner – trying to fully understand markets, undertaking fundamental analysis (not strictly Gary’s method) and reacting to market news. I have since performed better when I have managed to have no opinion on the direction of a market, just responding to market moves identified by a technical approach. It took me a long time to be able to have this “no opinion” state and I have no desire to return to an unsuccessful method for me!

In summary, I’m sure the author is a successful trader, with his approach and methodology having come from his training and experiences as a professional trader. I question whether a (self taught) retail trader could realistically aspire to trade in a similar (and profitable) manner.
 

f2calv

Experienced member
Well firstly I was overjoyed to find a book which postulated that technical analysis quite frankly isn't all that - a school of thought which I also follow. Gary emphasises that chart patterns simply denote historical data/patterns and will have no discernible bearing on the future market direction, context is everything. To find such a school of thought in black and white, whilst the Internet is seemingly flooded with articles on TA is truely a breath of fresh air.

Part I and II of the book I found reinforcing what I'd already learnt from other sources - albeit made easier being all in one place. Ideas such as treating trading as a business, using watchlists of a variety of key markets to gain better understanding, preservation of capital and managing stop losses and trailing stops, a great quote "Giving up profits is almost as great a sin as not cutting losses."

But by Part III however my interest in the writing style began to wane and I was starting to skim read, there is a lot of re-iterating why you are doing something, but less about how to actually do it. I found also felt that I was kind of being preached to, admittedly with a big dose of common sense.

Quite frankly I can now see why technical analysis is so clung to by its advocates, because actually its "easier" than 'real trading' as denoted by Gary. Learning support/resistance lines, trend lines and some key chart patterns is actually probably going to be more immediately rewarding (and less of a headache) to a retail trader than having to take into account all the multiples of real world variables that Gary indicates a successful professional trader would need to utilise!

In short, this book is not for a beginner trader and is certainly not light reading. I would say you need at least 2 years of full on trading (winning and losing!) to be in a position to take something from this book. However I will definitely re-read Part I & II again in a few months time and cross check it against my trading plan rules as it would be good for that.

Thanks for the opportunity.

NB: None of the tables/diagrams/charts/graphics would display on my tablet ereader for whatever reason so I can't comment on their usefulness.
 

Jason101

Experienced member
Hi Sharky, I will give it a go please.

Hi Sharky,

Sorry I am going to have to pass on this.
My wife is in hospital, and all my time is taken up either in hospital or looking
After our two young children.
I have not down loaded the eBook, so I am sure you can offer it to someone else, if you have not already.

Kind Regards
Jason
 
Author's Thanks and Views

Firstly thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and review the book and I appreciate there are more reviews to come.

To Jason101, I wish your wife well - as always family comes before everything else.

Obviously I am delighted that most of the reviews so far have been so positive and that matches the feedback I have had both in emails to me and on sites such as Amazon.

My intention with this book is to explain why so many retail traders lose money and to explain the knowledge and level of thinking that the professionals have and to which all traders should aspire.

The industry wants you to believe that trading is easy and by learning a few patterns or technical indicators you can build a sustainable trading career - for the majority who try this approach it isn't true.

I'd like to reply to a couple of Ivan88's comments to clarify what the book is aiming to do. Firstly though, Ivan88 is 100% correct in that I have written this book as a professional trader because that is the only job I have had. I want to show how different pros are to retail traders because unless the latter improve their skills and knowledge they are simply fodder for the industry. Please don't take my next comments personally and I do greatly appreciate reviewers taking the time to read and review. I was taken aback by some of the comments because they are almost the opposite of the points I was trying to make or else seem to me to be influenced by the trading junk food industry.

"Gary suggests a way to trade – a methodology mostly based around market knowledge"


I would disagree with this statement - the knowledge and topics that I explain in Parts 2 and 3 of the book are not teaching a 'way to trade' and I specifically state at the start of the book that this is not a "How to...." book. What I do is to explain the knowledge and disciplines that traders will require.

That might seem to be splitting hairs but as I shall explain it is a result of the misinformation of the 'financial junk food industry' in this case telling retail traders that trading books should be of the 'How to..." genre.

" I seriously question whether a retail trader can access this timely information and further really have the understanding of the markets to be able to apply it profitably."

A major point of the book is that retail traders MUST build their knowledge of the markets otherwise most are doomed. The bulk of the book explains what knowledge you need and ways to acquire it.

Again the trading junk food industry tells retail traders that this is all too hard and you should stick to simple technical indicators. I note that f2calv states

"Quite frankly I can now see why technical analysis is so clung to by its advocates, because actually its "easier" than 'real trading' as denoted by Gary.

He is spot on and that is why the junk food merchants make a good living. They realise that time poor retail traders want easy solutions and so give them precisely that. But as with junk food, convenience comes at a price - what you want may be bad for you. That is the theme of Part 1 of the book.

If you make the decision 'this is all too hard, give me something easier' then you are unlikely to build a sustainable trading career. You will lurch from course to course, indicator to indicator never really learning how markets really work or how you can profit from them.

I can understand that my criticism of technical analysis will be disliked by many. There is a ton of research behind this in my first book but for now what I will say is that there is significant research to show that t/a doesn't work for most who use it; secondly some of the underlying assumptions behind t/a are simply untrue. That last statement might be black and white but since I made my views know about this I have been given no contradictory evidence. There are some videos about this on my YouTube page

Of course just because t/a is unreliable doesn't mean that all will fail and as there are tens or hundreds of thousands of t/a traders some will be successful just because of the sample size. Survivorship bias means these are the ones you will see. But as I say, study after study shows that most lose.

I understand that some of the topics that I discuss are quite advanced for new traders but as I explain in the book, you still need to aim to get to grips with those topics. Just because a topic is quite complex doesn't mean it won't hurt your trading. Aim high and realise that it will take time to build the knowledge and skills you will need. Don't be in a rush.

I make it quite clear that trading is difficult and that not all will succeed because in my opinion these are facts. If you decide to take the easy way out then you are less likely to succeed.

I agree with Ivan88's idea of trading without an opinion - the whole essence of what I discuss is to trade the markets not your views of the markets. So again, I would disagree that I am trying to teach people to trade on market news etc that is not what I say in the book. What I explain is how markets work and the knowledge you will need to develop a trading career. You need to understand news, data etc because they undoubtedly affect markets. You have to factor them into your thinking. So they are factors in our analysis rather than being the way we trade - again this might seem like splitting hairs but actually there is a distinct difference.

In fact the technique that I explain in the very last chapter where I bring things together and explain the approach that many pros take, is scalping/flow trading. This is the ultimate in 'no opinion' trading.

I explain why it suits retail traders and the many benefits of scalping/flow trading. In fact even most investment bank traders are flow traders. In essence we are trying to be the bookmaker rather than the punter - but of course the industry needs more punters and so it persuades retail traders to take views and try to guess market direction. Meanwhile the industry acts as a bookmaker.

I completely agree that there is a lot of hard work and knowledge and trying to guess market direction day after day, week after week is extremely difficult. That is why I use and teach scalping - quick trades and no overnight positions. However even scalpers need a good knowledge of their market. We learn exactly who we have edge over (small retail traders) and we try to trade only against them.

So I think in a few respects the reviewer may have got the wrong end of the stick on some of my points. If I get more feedback like that then I will obviously know that I have made some writing errors.

I hope that everyone realises that my goal is to help retail traders. I don't always tell you what you want to hear - I tell you what you need to hear. I understand that this book will challenge many readers' thinking but I hope that all traders like to be challenged. In fact I write that this is an attribute that all good traders I have met have shared. If you don't like to be challenged or if you think that is all too hard then I would strongly suggest you reconsider trading. If that sounds harsh it is because I don't want you to become a victim of the trading junk food industry.

Again thanks for the reviews, apologies for the length of this reply. Please feel free to ask more questions or send me a private email. I answer all emails and will also continue to watch this thread as I love all trading discussions.

Regards
Gary
 

Sharky

Staff
Hi Sharky,

Sorry I am going to have to pass on this.
My wife is in hospital, and all my time is taken up either in hospital or looking
After our two young children.
I have not down loaded the eBook, so I am sure you can offer it to someone else, if you have not already.

Kind Regards
Jason

Sorry to hear that Jason, I very much hope your wife makes a speedy recovery.

Thanks for offering to pass the book to someone else. I believe Lord Flasheart just missed out, so I'll offer it to him instead.
 

bobcollett

Junior member
I dont want to be repetitive and offer another summary of the book. Its well covered by 0007 , Atilla, and Charlton. I trade using data. But it requires a financial background,stock exchange experience,and lots of screen time.. I dont believe a part time trader can trade this way..And Gary warns about using closing prices. Ivan 88 hits it on the head when he questions"whether a retail trader could realistically aspire to trade in a similar manner" So I guess Garys message is part time traders cannot make money.
That said , there are a lot of positives in the book.An excellent chapter on "watch lists"which will help even an experienced trader.And lots of helpful tips.Page 116 is an eye opener. Perhaps Sharky could publish this page for all members to see.Gary says if you have made a decision to buy...then buy. Dont wait for pullbacks and what have you.
You need to own a hard copy that you can underline and open at your bookmarks . Not an EBook.
 

0007

Senior member
You need to own a hard copy that you can underline and open at your bookmarks . Not an EBook.


You can in fact do that with most e-readers as well as print off any hardcopy pages required- My copy of this book is in Adobe Digital editions which as far as I can tell doesn't allow you to underline. However the text of any PDF digital book read with Adobe Reader on a tablet can be underlined, also notes or other marks added. It's quite easy to convert e-books from one format to another – just Google it. The Calibre E-reading software (free) is very useful.

The only slight shortcoming I've found reading technical books on a small (7") tablet is when you want to view two pages at the same time e.g. a chart and some text. It's a bit fiddly to do this sometimes whereas it's quite easy with a hardcopy. I normally tackle this sort of book by opening a copy on my PC and tablet showing the relevant pages– or you could just run two copies if you have a dual screen setup (having at least two screens is one of the best improvements you can make to your computer in my opinion). Digital publishers have not yet perfected the product and some definitely don't seem to realise that you need to look at a diagram and text simultaneously. But then again, in the old days your text came on the scroll and you had unrolling to do!
 
An end to the Bull

Hi

If there are any copies left please consider me as I would love to review a copy of the book.

Thank you.

Kind regards

Peter
 

MajorMagnuM

Legendary member
The essence of the book is said to be to succeed as a trader you will need to break free from the herd and be comfortable making your own decisions. In this respect it ties in with the philosophy of this site and my personal philosophy. He aims to present ideas and techniques used by professional traders to the retail trader/reader. In particular e wants to help the reader understand what lies behind the techniques he proposes.

The book is divided into 3 parts, the first of which explores how the “financial junk-food industry” presents myths as a result of the different views and aims of the market participants, brokers and analysts. By understanding what is “noise” and challenging concepts such as “everything is in the price” he begins a useful shift in the reader’s viewpoint.

He then explores trader psychology, more than just the frequently espoused greed and fear. He achieves this, in my view quite concisely, by presenting a number of questions with simple 2-option answers, which provide that “aha” moment revealing the biases to which we are all prone.

The first part of the book ends by a consideration of how we may break free and establish new mindsets – to not follow the herd.

The second part of the book looks at building new foundations and explores some of the key knowledge that should be acquired – a topic particularly useful for the newbie. A particularly useful technique, used by professional traders, he introduces is the concept of watchlists as a means of filtering noise from information. I thought that this chapter was one of the most useful in the work, for both newbie and more experienced traders.

The following chapter on treating trading as a business, I found to be less useful. It covers topics such as broker choice, liquidity, hardware and charting packages. The problem with presenting these in a book is that the reader normally wants more detail than it is possible to give without the information becoming dated.

Gary then explores position sizing and management, which I consider to be one of the most important topics which if often overlooked despite its impact on trading profitability. This section has loads of anecdotes which are interesting, but for me the constant reference back to the “core principles” began to get a little repetitive.

The final part of the book examines advanced concepts such as pricing in and volatility. I think that one of the best characteristics of the work is to start the novice along the correct track of thinking, what Gary refers to as the system B style of trading. Certainly this section slows down the reader and demonstrates how tackling these topics early in one’s trading career can pay dividends later.

Discussing “pricing in” he aims to dispel the myth that the market is ahead. He introduces how we should not just base decisions on analysis of past data/charts. In this respect he discusses a useful technique, which is to look for disconfirmation.

The penultimate chapter explores volatility and, in particular, its relation to position size. Again Gary illustrates well the different aspects of volatility and dispels the lazy use of the term.
Finally the book ends considering how pros trade bringing together all the techniques discussed early. This chapter considers flow trading or scalping, which Gary says that not all retail traders would want to use but to show why professional traders do/

In summary I think that the main thing Gary achieves is to changes one’s mindset in this work and, for that, I believe that it has achieved its aim and is a book that is well-worth reading.
Hi Charlton, could you expand a little on the bolded part?
 
 
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