The 25 Best Books on Futures Trading


I don’t just teach, I have been trading futures for over two decades. My doctoral dissertation at the University of South Carolina on slippage in the futures markets was sponsored by the Chicago Board of Trade. These are the books I deem best for your development as a competent and profitable futures trader.  But before you look at these books I want you to know that I have integrated all of the core wisdom below into my teaching curriculum.  And the best place for you to start is by reading the actual documented trading accounts of Nicolas Darvas.  

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-Doc Brown

#1. The Professional Commodity Trader by Stanley Kroll.

The best books you can read are those by real traders. In this case Stanley Kroll documented his trades numerically and by chart. Kroll was the real deal trading futures and you should learn from him.

#2. The W. D. Gann Master Commodity Course by W.D. Gann

William Delbert Gann extracted in excess of $50,000,000 from the market from 1906 to 1953. He is a legend with the most insane documented accuracy rate of any trader who has lived. He was the real deal. This is purportedly the full $5,000 course he taught in the 1950s.

#3. Market Wizards by Jack Schwager.

This book chronicles what it really means to be a trader. Many of the traders interviewed have proven to be legends since the first publication of this book in the 1990s. Paul Tudor Jones, Richard Dennis, Ed Seykota and Michael Marcus are of particular interest to futures traders.

#4. Technical Analysis of the Futures Markets by John J. Murphy.

This is the bible of technical analysis. If you know nothing about technical analysis you should read this phone guide sized book from cover to cover.

#5. Van Tharp’s Definitive Guide To Position Sizing by Dr. Van Tharp, Ph.D.

This is the only credible book in the market on money management. Some of the ideas are mathematically complex. When it comes to the size of your trades start with a simple algorithm. This book will give you good ideas.

#6. Get Rich with Options by Lee Lowell.

This is the best book on futures options in the market. It is written by a trader from the NYMEX oil futures pit who is not a well trained writer. Hence it is very rough reading in spots for beginning traders. Nonetheless, if you will take time to understand every word you will be vastly ahead of the game in futures options.

#7. Elliott Wave Principle by A.J. Frost and Robert R. Prechter.

Elliot Wave is another approach to Dow Theory. This is the best book published on the subject.

#8. Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives by John C. Hull.

John Hull is a professor of finance in Canada. Hence this is the most detailed book you can buy on the subject. Fair warning this is the most mathematical book by far on this list. If you do not consider yourself good at math you will finish with a limited understanding if you do not study my advanced Bullet-Proof Futures trading program.

#9. Option Volatility by Sheldon Natenberg.

Natenberg has written the best comprehensive guide to options. This should be on your shelf next to John J. Murphy’s Technical Analysis of the Futures Markets.

#10. Secrets of the COT Report by Larry Williams.

The Commitments of Traders (COT) reports daily positions of large speculators, small speculators, and commercial hedgers. It is prepared by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This book gives you a great understanding of how this tool can be used in your futures trading.

#11. The Complete TurtleTrader by Michael W. Covel.

The movie “Trading Places” with Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy is a loose account of an actual experiment by Richard Dennis and William Eckhardt. Dennis teaches a group of novices how he turned less than $5,000 into more than $100 million. This book chronicles the event.

#12. Hedge Fund Market Wizards by Jack D. Schwager.

I have placed this book here on probation until I read it. The first Market Wizard book is a classic. But the ones that followed are barely worth placing in an outhouse for toilet paper. This new release has very high ratings. I will update my review here once I have read this book. It is on order right now from

#13. ETF Trading Strategies Revealed by David Vomund any Linda Bradford Raschke.

ETFs are a great way to add commodities to any stock portfolio. For that reason it is worth your while to learn how to invest and trade in ETFs.

#14. Pit Bull by Martin Schwartz.

This is an excellent book describing the daily routine of a professional trader. It is a horrible book on trading since Marty gives no guidance as to how he traded.

#15. The Education of a Speculator by Victor Niederhoffer.

Doctor Niederhoffer was an associate professor of finance at the University of California at Berkeley. His insights intertwine a deep understanding of mathematical financial economics with the reality of actual trading.

#16. Practical Speculation by Victor Niederhoffer and Laurel Kenner.

Ditto to what I wrote above. Niederhoffer is the real deal in having the brain power to finish the most difficult Ph.D. in the humanities – financial economics.

#17. Interview with Michael Marcus by Jack Schwager.

This is an interview between Schwager and Marcus. If you own Market Wizards you may find that this doesn’t give any additional insight beyond the book. If you want to hear the voice of a real trader this is one way.

#18. The Tax Guide for Traders by Robert Green.

This is an excellent review of tax laws that are specific to traders. You must always consider tax consequences before trading and investing. Just make sure that you find an accountant who does not throw you under the bus. My impression of anecdotal accounts where Green’s CPAs were unable to garner trader tax status indicates to me that his firm may be lacking in experience dealing with IRS agents in an audit. Read the book for content but be very cautious when selecting an accountant who can implement the vital cost cutting ideas in this book.

#19. The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros.

George Soros is a legendary fund trader. This is a whimsical romp through his head. The book offers little if any insight into trading.

#20. The Shadow Party by David Horowitz and Richard Poe.

This is a fun romp through some of the weird twisted political crap floating around out there. Talks about George Soros as some evil force. Weird.

#21. Hot Commodities by Jim Rogers.

Jim Rogers with George Soros returned 4,200% return over ten years in the 1970s when the S&P advanced just 47%. Nuf’ said.

#22. Investment Biker with Jim Rogers by Jim Rogers.

Rogers is a trading legend. His books don’t give much insight into his trading but do help you see his thinking.

#23. Adventure Capitalist by Jim Rogers.

Jim Rogers has moved to China. His later work gives us his insight into globalization.

#24. Think and Grow Rich Paperback by Napoleon Hill.

This book allowed me to rise from subsistence living to financial security over the course of two decades. It’s all about developing a definite major purpose and mastermind team where everybody ends up further down the road. Andrew Carnegie approved.

#25. The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary R. Renard.

This is the second strangest book I have ever read in my life. It is also the most haunting. The strangest (and most disturbing) book I have ever read is “A Course In Miracles (ACIM).” Until I read Renard’s book ACIM was like reading Chinese. Both books are about how you fill the space between trading and investing. I learned about A Course in Miracles through Van Tharp, Ph.D. who assigns it to his super-traders in lieu of transcendental meditation. If you can slog through the 365 days of hourly, half hourly, and quarter hourly meditations you will never look at gains or losses in the market the same again.



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