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Psychology Education

Archive of Educational Materials

Once in a while, I try to put together important posts dealing with technical education, psychology, reviews, and other things. I do this so new people can find what they are looking for.


1) 4 Stages of learning

2) The Death Spiral

3) The Trader’s Mindset

4) Plan & Rules

5) We Are All Farmers

6) Fear

7) Attitude

8 ) Decision-Making

9) “As If” Principle

10) Concentration

11) Tape Reading I

12) Tape Reading II



1) AIG Trade

2) Common Breakouts

3) Doji Strategies

4) Volume Patterns

5) Intuitive I: Left vs Right Brain

6) Intuitive II: Cognitive & Emotional Biases

7) Intuitive III: Rhythm



1) Common Breakout Patterns

2) The Blank Box

3) Short-selling

4) Sequential Breakout Trading

5) Technical Analysis for Dummies

6) Channel Breakouts

7) Is TA for Idiots?



1) 03/27/10 (ABIO) – http://bit.ly/a109ku

2) 03/19/10 (SOMX) – http://bit.ly/cJRvVc

3) 03/10/10 (AIG) – http://bit.ly/a5RJma

4) 02/26/10 (NUVA) – http://bit.ly/9cbDLg

5) 02/05/10 (COH, APD, USO) – http://bit.ly/9K4eoz

6) 02/04/10 (LXK, APKT, BGP, PEIX, JCI) – http://bit.ly/aTNkUo

7) 01/08/10 (GENZ, CYCC, VVUS) – http://bit.ly/8LfDAr

8 ) 01/06/10 (STEC) – http://bit.ly/7Gjmhg

9) 12/23/09 (ATHX) – http://bit.ly/5Lbxro

10) 12/01/09 (SOMX, TGB) – http://bit.ly/4TL4BI

11) 11/22/09 (KIRK) – http://bit.ly/6o0GEB

12) 11/06/09 (FSYS) – http://bit.ly/15ypBc

13) 06/03/09 (ADLS) – http://bit.ly/aPvFUi


Good luck trading today!

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The Art of Reading the Tape: Part Two

We left off of part one of the series by discussing the ‘edge’. The edge is basically what works for you consistently and profitably. It is your system, and it’s different for everyone. You don’t necessarily need an indicator to see the trend because a chart is usually enough. A system doesn’t have to be cumbersome, incomprehensible, or basically, complicated and otherwise a failure. There is a certain simplicity you arrive at after a series of complications.

This particular style of tape reading involves more with the reading of certain visual formations vs. analyzing numbers. In addition, these visual patterns work the very best with the intraday time frame. Since we want to utilize trending days for each individual stock, neutral range-bound days should be ignored. The probabilities significantly decrease on non-trending days.

The principles of tape reading basically match up price movement to crowd behavior as a ‘rate of volume’. Through this, traders can see when the ‘footprints’ of a stock are made. These traders will be aware of when the majority moves into a stock that is presently dominated by the minority. Why tape reading is a lost art is beyond me. In fact, most trading systems don’t even incorporate it, despite the fact that it stood the test of time for 400 years, give or take.

Trading wisdom states that the majority is usually wrong. Well, that depends. Tape reading is based on a handful of stock operators taking the money from the majority. We make money from the imbalance of buyers and sellers that is created. This is how trend reversals and explosive moves occur. The question is, “Are you the first one on the scene when the imbalance takes place”?

The important thing is to get there before the real breakout occurs, the path of least resistance. Consider this: not many people get in on the first sign of a major move. As more people become aware of the pending move, they accumulate shares. Then more people get in. Aggressive buying hits the stock and everyone wants to get in on the action. Keep in mind that that every buyer now is a potential seller. Finally, distribution takes place and the losers are left holding the bag. We all see it everyday.

How does the accumulation & distribution work with tape reading? The minority (you) watch how the other minority players are acting and then wait for the majority to create the mass movement. Typically, smart money can be identified by price movement when it is a slow, gradual movement with slow and steady volume. The general public’s price movement can be viewed as euphoric with parabolic spikes in both price and volume to the point of exhaustion and instability.

There are six principles,k and I utilize all of them for my various day trading strategies:

1) Capitulation/parabolic exhaustion (long/short)
2) Beginning of a trend (accumulation-aggressive)
3) Confirmation of a trend (accumulation-aggressive)
4) Continuation of a trend (retracement-shallow)
5) Reversal (decreasing volume)
6) Accumulation and distribution (passive, non-aggressive)

1. Capitulation/parabolic exhaustion (long/short)

There is a pure acceleration in price movement with a massive surge in volume. Price usually advances/declines the most in the shortest period of time here. However, this move is usually unsustainable and can produce devastating sell offs or sharp bounces. This applies to both up and down price spikes. These moves usually last for only a few minutes, or even seconds, and they are the hardest to master. The key is identifying the price and volume and the accompanying imbalance in the accumulation/distribution through observing price and volume.

Usually, you see what I call “volume mountains”. Yes, I call them that because they look like mountains. How do you know when to get out entirely or scale out and piecemeal your exit? We’ll get in more detail on these ‘mountains’ in the future perhaps, but we’ve all see them.


2. Beginning of a trend (accumulation-aggressive)

This is a completely different idea than the one above. It is the steady, upward movement of a stock with consistent volume that usually precedes more serious momentum. There is consistent buying going on, with ‘consistent’ being the key word. There is not enough to attract everyone else, thus giving the stock an appearance of ‘floating’. The key here is to scale in on each intraday breakout until you see signs of distribution. More on this on the future.

3. Confirmation of a trend (accumulation-aggressive)

This is a slow advance in the price movement with increasing volume, which makes it another momentum signal to pay attention to. The trend is beginning to draw the attention of the majority but is not yet ready to experience a full-scale momentum move. This precedes a powerful price move. What follows is the euphoric, sometimes idiotic, action of the majority. We’ll discuss how to catch these in a future article with examples.

4. Continuation of a trend (retracement-shallow)

This is marked by a huge price increase, but with low volume. This is a classic pullback or short consolidation. You already know what these are and I don’t have to explain them.

5. Reversal (decreasing volume)

Buying has slowed down and distribution is imminent = GTFO. The buying is drying up and this is your last chance to get out before you turn into a bagholder. Volume is especially important here. I will cover examples and models of how volume acts here in the future. Bottomline, volume indications help us determine our actions since price action is not as relevant or important as volume here.

6. Accumulation and distribution (passive, non-aggressive)

Large volume of buying with no price change typically tells me that there could be a shadow resistance level with a quite a bit of overhead supply. Most of the time though, the resistance is defined by identifiable resistance lines and even better, moving averages. I sure love those moving averages. This principle identifies ‘stand offs’ on both sides and I would be extremely cautious here. Of course, more on this and the others later on in the series.


For expert tape reading, I highly encourage you to refer to Vadym Graifer of RealityTrader.com. I spoke with him personally and he’s an intelligent and great guy.

Here is his bio:

Vadym is the author of Techniques of Tape Reading (McGraw Hill 2003), How to Scalp Any Market (2005) and Master Profit Plan (2005). Vadym is a frequent featured speaker at International Trader’s Expos and Financial Forum Conferences.

He is the founder of RealityTrader.com, a hands-on training company, working with a global community of individuals to achieve high levels of trading success.

Vad is a professional trader and an international private trading mentor responsible for turning around the trading careers of thousands of trader. He has also published articles and interviews in industry magazines, corporate product newsletters and trading forums.

For more background information on Vad, please see excerpts from Vad’s book (Chapter 1, Chapter 2)

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The Art of Reading the Tape: Part One


Trading is not about knowing. Trading is about acting on situations, patterns, and signals that you are familiar with. This all comes from experience, proper training, and something that you and I call intuition. Intuition is required for reading the tape.

Reading the tape is basically studying pure and magnified price action. Long ago, traders used to study the ticker tape to assess price action, the volume, momentum, and other signals long before the internet was born. You must have this skill to refine and perfect your entries and exits. Since most people already know a lot about technical analysis, I wanted to cover the next evolution in your development.

Most of you know that I keep things simple and focus exclusively on price action, volume, moving averages, trends, and other simple signals. If you master price action, then you will be able to tell whether a stock is strong or weak prior to breakouts, one of my most favorite and practiced strategies. You’ll be ahead of the pack of technical traders that don’t know how to read the tape. Instead of going into Level 2 or the bid/ask, I will integrate the tape with charts as I am most proficient in this area.

Learning to trade requires two things. The first was mention in the second sentence of this article. The other is creating the perfect mindset that can handle unusual and uncertain liquid trading environments. This isn’t something that can be taught from a textbook or in a school. It must be practiced over and over again. A teacher must demonstrate what has to be done and I will be that teacher. In addition, I expect you as the student to work on the personal experience that’s necessary. Luckily, that’s developed over time.

I chose “art” for tape reading because that’s what it is. It’s not a science. The physicist Yakov Zeldovich once said, “Science has one answer where art has many.” Tape reading requires an open mind. It is also interpreted differently among traders, therefore I consider it an art. You are the artist and the trade is your artwork. A big side of trading where art plays a big role is when you adapt when the market changes it’s tune. You must adjust or face indefinite loss.

The biggest benefit of tape reading for me is how it defines my entries and exits. Most of you have been following me for months, perhaps even a year and a half when I first started blogging. You already know what I do, and you know my trades already. My job is to read stock price action correctly and then viciously attack each trade. You may have witnessed me attacking the same stock over and over again in a single day. This is possible because of the synergy that technicals, charts, and reading the tape produce.

All of this leads to the “edge”. Do you have it? I can tell you that my personally trained army of traders do and demonstrate it on a daily basis. They are confident in their actions. They are consistent with their results and their emotions. Our plays are easily distinguishable and we have our own style. We know exactly what to do with each setup. There is no hesitation to attack. How do they do it? It’s their edge and reading the tape is a huge component of it. There’s only one way to develop an edge and reading the tape and it’s through experience.

The highest possible level a trader can reach is intuitive trading. As we continue to trade, we reach critical mass that profoundly results in second nature reactions. This is your ultimate goal in developing as a trader.

The next article in this series will explain the tape in detail. We’ll talk about various emotional attributes to the tape such as capitulation or euphoria, as well as accumulation and distribution,trend continuations, select high-probability setups, and many other things in future articles.


If you haven’t done so already, vote for me in the ShortyAwards in Finance. It only takes a minute and I’ll appreciate it greatly. For those that already voted, thank you so much.




For expert tape reading, I highly encourage you to refer to Vadym Graifer of RealityTrader.com. I spoke with him personally and he’s an intelligent and great guy.

Here is his bio:

Vadym is the author of Techniques of Tape Reading (McGraw Hill 2003), How to Scalp Any Market (2005) and Master Profit Plan (2005). Vadym is a frequent featured speaker at International Trader’s Expos and Financial Forum Conferences.

He is the founder of RealityTrader.com, a hands-on training company, working with a global community of individuals to achieve high levels of trading success.

Vad is a professional trader and an international private trading mentor responsible for turning around the trading careers of thousands of trader. He has also published articles and interviews in industry magazines, corporate product newsletters and trading forums.

For more background information on Vad, please see excerpts from Vad’s book (Chapter 1, Chapter 2)

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A Lesson on Concentration

Thomas Edison was asked how he was able to accomplish so much with his time. He said, “It’s simple. You and I both have eighteen hours a day in which to do as we choose. You spend the eighteen hours doing a number of unrelated things. I spend it doing just one thing, and some of my work is bound to amount to something.”

If you want to be successful in any field, there is one rule to observe: concentrate your efforts. Get one thing in your mind. Learn to ignore all the distractions and temptations along the way. Then, put all the power you have into forward motion.

If you’ve read Ralph Waldo Emerson, you’ll know that he wrote two essays that apply to success, one titled “Power” and the other titled “Wealth”. The main theme in each is concentration. Emerson said, “Stop all miscellaneous activities. Do away with distractions, other duties, property cares, chores, errands, diverting talents and flatteries-all are impossible.” And he said elsewhere, “The one prudence in life is concentration. The one evil is dissipation.”

Can you concentrate on one goal when you aren’t quite sure what that goal is? Can you move forward firmly and decisively on one road without constantly looking elsewhere to see what’s going on? People who know how to concentrate put all their effort into their projects, continually improving their ability to succeed.

Dissipation is the opposite. A person who dissipates is like an archer who tries to shoot several arrows at once: the arrows move with dissipated force and rarely ever hit the target (unless you’re Robin Hood, maybe). People who dissipate jump from one thing to another, neither improving their abilities nor moving forward toward success.

How does this apply to trading? This can apply several ways. The most obvious is if you quit your job to trade, then find that trading might not be for you, so then you move onto something else and beyond. Perhaps your efforts in trading were not concentrated. How about continually trying to find the “holy grail”? We heard this term used so often, but surprisingly, many traders are still looking for it! Stop moving from one thing to another and concentrate your efforts in improving your core skills.

Let’s take the case of two brain surgeons with equal prospects of success. One puts all his efforts into his work and all of his money into a relatively safe investment to ensure longer-term financial success. The other doctor tries to play the stock market and practice medicine on the side (or vice versa). Ultimately, the second doctor’s practice suffers when the market goes up and his money when it’s going down (provided that he’s just another retail loser). How would you like to have brain surgery performed on you by a doctor who had just lost $100,000 in the stock market?

The point is, trying to diversify too widely will always detract from your success.”Where you believe the treasure is, there will your heart be also.” That is an immutable law. Can you then be a success if your heart is in three different places – or five or a dozen? No, of course not. I am having this struggle right now as I am juggling so many things at once such as my course work, fund, real estate, internet stuff like iBC and Stocktwits, etc.

Whatever you choose to spend your time on, spend it well. Whatever your goals are, make sure they are unified. Only a person who specializes becomes truly successful these days. Word?

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A Lesson on the “As If” Principle

In the 1880s, the psychologist William James developed and began teaching his “As If” principle of life. This might not make any sense to some of you, but it works. For example, if you want to be courageous, try to act courageously. If you want to be a nice guy, start putting a smile on your face and be friendly. If you want to be a great trader, then think like the great traders before us. You cannot be a great trader without first thinking that you are one. You get it?

A person that constantly thinks that he or she will fail in trading, cannot learn how to trade, or just simply has feelings that he or she will “never make it”, will inevitably fail. Think, act, and be like Jesse Livermore, Bernard Baruch, Nicolas Darvas, Gerald Loeb, Richard Wyckoff, William O’Neil, Jim Roppel, Steve Cohen, and many, many others. They play (played) to win and that’s how you should play: play to win.

Soon, you’ll find that your mental and spiritual faculties are like damn fine bartenders. They always give you exactly what you ask for and never ask questions. If you act as though you expect to be a bad trader, your mind and spirit assumes the demeanor of a nobody with little prospect of success. After all, being a nobody doesn’t require much skill at all. None, in fact.

In As You Like It, Shakespeare wrote, “All the word’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…And one man in his time plays many parts”. William James would tell you to pick out any part in life that you want to play and then play it with all your heart. If you are good at it, that is what you will become. If you pick trading as one of your life’s primary goals, then play it with all your heart. It’s as simple as that, because the “As If” concept works.

Suppose a play has been written for you in which you portray a person who is in the process of making a fortune in trading. The part requires a person of great psychological control, have a burning desire to learn, be able to make quick and informed decisions, possess strong self-discipline, develop and master a winning strategy, be willing to take risks and accept losses, adapt to the ever-changing conditions in the market, have tremendous confidence in his or her’s own abilities.

Could you play that role? You could if you practiced enough, that is, if you worked on your abilities enough. You can do this successfully when you get the focus of your mind to support you and reinforce your efforts.

However, suppose you were assigned a part like this and you chose to play it by dressing up as a bum, slouchy, shiftless, and irresponsible. How about in a lazy, irresolute manner, acting as if you had no ambition, no determination, no confidence, no plan, and no faith in yourself that you could ever accomplish being who you want to be. Combine this with telling yourself, “I can’t do this” or “I’m too afraid” or “I wasn’t cut out to do this“, then you’re really in trouble. This would make a terrible performance and no one would attend!

Consider something: How long would it take a person to become a successful trader if he or she continually depreciated themselves, thinking and talking failure, dressing like failures, and always in an environment that breeds failure? The answer to this question is all too obvious, yet millions of people are trying to achieve a level that never dreamed of ever achieving but still play the part of failures. They do nothing about it, or if they are, they aren’t trying hard enough.

Have you heard of the “poorhouse atmosphere”? Sometimes, you can gauge the quality of a person’s outlook on life by simply looking at them. You can tell how big the streaks of pessimism are in their lives and how much they have been soured by bad experiences. That’s how powerful the effects of their negative thinking have become — it manifests itself in their outwardly appearance. This is truly a powerful force. When people believe the worst about everyone and everything, this is called the “poorhouse atmosphere”. Avoid it at all costs.

The “As If” principle is a tool to get you from where you are right now to where you want to be. So how do you bring about such an extraordinary change? The laws are many, but none are difficult. One of the more important ones is to put yourself apart, letting your energy, determination, eagerness, and faith take you in one direction and one direction only. Focus your efforts through the power of this principle. Whatever you want can be yours. The end result will amaze you.

A great thing about my blog is that traders from all over the world can come here and perform. I view my comments section (and my twitter replies) as a stage. You are the actor/trader. There are many that are giving all that they have and demonstrating that they want to be great traders. I am not blind and I know who all of you are. Your efforts will be greatly rewarded as you all strive to become some of the greatest traders in the world. In fact, that’s one of my goals in life and I have a long ways to go. See you on the other side.

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