Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter (View On-Line)

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ArticleVan Tharp

An Update on the Van Tharp Institute

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I don’t have any particular topic that I’m interested writing about at this time.   Instead, I have a lot of miscellaneous ideas about the Van Tharp Institute that I’d like to discuss. I will have the monthly update and the SQN report for December ready next week.

Super Trader Program

We currently have over 50 people in the Super Trader program.   While that doesn’t overly stress me and my time, it does stress our workshop room capacity.   For example, if all 50 Super Traders had attended our Summit last month, our workshop room could not have fit them all.   This year about 35 Super Traders came to the Summit but if more than 40 had wanted to attend, we would have had to rent a hotel room which means it would have been difficult to record the presentations.  We like to record those to document progress.    In addition, our psychological workshops (Peak 101, Peak 202, and Peak 203 occurring this month) have been selling out as Super Traders take most of the slots.

I believe the program filled up last year for two good reasons.   First, we went from a two-year Super Trader program at $25k/year to a six-year program at $10k/year.    In addition, Trading Beyond the Matrix came out and enabled potential candidates to know what to expect.   The net result - I accepted 14 new people in the program in July and closed it to new applicants until February 2014.   This full program has led to two key changes:

Change 1 – Probation:   The first change is that you can now test out the program.   For $7,500, you get all of our core products and the opportunity to test if the Super Trader program is right for you.   This means that you do lessons 1a and 1b and send me weekly reports on your progress.   When you complete the lessons to my satisfaction, you then join the program or go on a waiting list if it’s at capacity. 

We used to accept two new people per month, but until we solve the space problem I only plan to accept one new person per month.   Two people have already passed their probation periods, and more are currently in the probationary phase.   Once they finish, they will be added to the waiting list for the full program.  We already have several people who have expressed interest in joining the program in 2014 so my guess is that anyone applying now would have to wait until at least the second half of the year to be accepted into the full program.

I intend to purchase the building unit next door to our current offices so we can double to size of our workshop room.   At that point, I could go back to accepting 2 people per month. But until that happens, there will be a wait to get into the program. At the moment, the building next door is not on the market. We have let them know we are interested in purchasing it but it’s not yet for sale.

Change 2 - Price Increase:  We also raised the price of the program to $15k/year, but compared with the original two year cost, it is still inexpensive.  In addition, the price of the new probationary period is 100% deductible from the overall cost of the program.   For more detail about the program go to

Our goal in the Super Trader program (especially ST1) is massive transformation.   We really want to raise the level of consciousness of our Super Traders and we believe that the best way to do that is by monitoring and working on raising their level of happiness.  David Hawkins believes there is a one to one correlation between level of happiness and level of consciousness.   If he is right, as the graph below shows, we are doing a great job.    The happiness test scores go from minus 55 (really depressed) to plus 85.   When people are constantly showing scores above 75, I consider them to be “awake” or close to it.  

Super Trader 1 Average Happiness Scores Over Time   


We currently have 14 Super traders who have been officially declared awake by Oneness University (and have accompanied me there to take the 108 courses).   In addition, everyone who has completed Super Trader 1 has happiness scores that are consistently above 70 and are people that I’d consider “probably” awake.   This really increases the energy and the impact of our psychological workshops.

Last month, we completed our annual 8-day celebration for the Super Traders consisting of Super Trader presentations at the Summit, a two day talk by Stuart Mooney on Awakening, and a 3 day turbo oneness course to really boost levels of consciousness.   For everyone who could attend the entire set of events, the 8 days were really amazing. 

New Research Assistant

We plan to add one more staff member in 2014 through our research assistant program. I already have two research assistants who are computer programmers and they have both been great additions.  We believe it will pay us (and them) great dividends over time. 

I want to emphasize a lot of new product development in 2014.   This means that our two staff members involved in this area, RJ and Jessie, have their plates full for the year and we are looking to add a new research assistant to help them.    That person will become a full time VTI employee and get a salary of $25,000 per year plus the Super Trader program for free.  I opened the opportunity to the at the Summit last month and it is possible that such a person might exist within the Super Trader program right now.  

While we are somewhat open to the skillset the new research assistant might have, that person must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Be a US citizen who is willing to move to Cary, NC to work/live.    We have no capabilities to handle the complex visa issues presented by our federal government for foreigners who wish to work in the US.  Please don’t apply if you are not a US citizen.
  • Pass the Super Trader program probationary period. Once finished with the probationary period, our future research assistant would go immediately into the program and not have to wait for an opening.
  • Be thoroughly familiar with all of our products, but that’s required in the first place to pass the probationary program of the Super Trader program.
  • Have some skills that we find useful.   Chances are we are not looking for another computer programmer, but we are open to whatever happens.
  • Interview with our current staff members and be acceptable to all of them.

If you think this person might be you, then send me a resume at [email protected].   We welcome and encourage resumes from people who have already applied to do the probationary period, as the ideal person is committed to do the Super Trader program regardless of this opportunity rather than someone who would only consider the program if they were granted this opportunity.

E-courses and New Workshops

Our goal is to develop a larger collection of e-courses in 2014.    We plan to develop two more position sizing e-courses, and a backtesting e-course.  These plans may (or may not) all happen in 2014.  We do plan to offer Ken Long’s Core Trading Workshop as an online course in the next month or two.   

Many of you have asked for more online learning opportunities so that you don’t have to fly to Cary, NC for workshops.   We are open to that, but what people ask for and what they are committed to do are often quite different.  For example, when we transformed Tharp Think from a $495 introductory course into an online course, most people suddenly said “we can get that information in Van’s books.”   It was successful as a workshop, but it hasn’t been very successful as an e-course.   Thus, we’ll be implementing a testing phase in 2014 with a set of new products to determine whether or not people really want e-learning courses.

We also plan to allow our Super Trader graduates and research team to develop new technical workshops.   We are resurrecting the Bear Market Workshop in 2014 which will be taught by our most recent Super Trader Graduate, Mark McDowell. Our goal here is to prepare attendees to be ready to face the next crash (probably much worse than 2008) that will probably happen soon when our debt levels implode.

We will also be starting a series of simulation workshops in which you’ll be taught one system and then get the opportunity to 1) make about 100 trades in a three day workshop (these might take you months to make in real time); and 2) purchase the simulator and more example trades so you can continue to practice when you return home.   Again, this is an opportunity to give you what you have been asking for, but whether we continue in this direction or not will depend upon the success of these programs in the future.

Trading Beyond the Matrix Contest

In my opinion, Trading Beyond the Matrix is the most important book I have written.  I have made reading it a requirement for getting into the Super Trader program because it gives everyone a firm idea of what the Van Tharp Institute is all about.   I actually wrote the book with the intention that someone could just read it and have everything necessary to transform themselves into a Super Trader without going through the full program.   The coaching and energy everyone gets in the program, however, is usually a critical part of being a successful Super Trader.

Right now the Matrix book is not as popular as Super Trader or Trade Your Way — both of which rank far higher in sales on Amazon.   It didn’t help that we developed a launch campaign to get the book on the best seller list (which our publisher said would require 13,000 sales in the first week) but the publisher only printed 4,000 copies of the book as an initial printing.  That small printing sold out quickly and because no more books were available, we were prevented from reaching the best seller list goal.   Regardless, the book had a huge effect on our business and we probably could not have handled the impact of quickly selling 100,000 books, our initial goal for 2013.

As I have already said, Trading Beyond the Matrix is a core statement about what we at the Van Tharp Institute are all about — Transformation.    The book has helped fill our psychological workshops and the Super Trader program since it was published.  Many people attending our workshops recently have said the book is a masterpiece.

Because the book is so important and because I keep getting such positive feedback on it from readers, we have set as one of our goals for 2014 to have everyone who reads this newsletter read that book.   Consequently, we are running a contest.   If you have read the book and it has impacted your life, then write to us and tell us how the book has impacted you.   Each article that we accept for submission in Tharp’s Thoughts will win a $20 product credit good throughout 2014.    In addition, once we have published 25 submissions, the author of the best one (as voted upon by our staff) will get to attend one of our  foundation workshops for free (Peak 101, Blueprint or Systems).  Our goal is to run one new contest entry per month.

In addition, if you like the book, please review it our one of the book seller web sites.  Right now people either strongly agree with me that it is the most significant book I’ve written, or they hate it.    We’d like to get the average rating for the book up to at least a four stars on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel so we’d appreciate your help if you have read it and liked it.   

A Prediction for the Next Five Years

I don’t usually like to make predictions because they have little to do with successful trading.   However, I have said for some years that we have been in a secular bear market since 2000.   This generally means that while stock prices can go up and even set new highs, PE ratios will generally go down.   And new highs are not likely to be true new highs when you take inflation into account — especially real inflation.   For example, I tend to doubt the market is truly higher today than it was in 2000 when you take the current rate of inflation into account, much less the decline in the value of the dollar over the past 14 years.

The government claims that the economy is growing when the GDP is greater than inflation.  They decide that inflation is only 1-2% so they can show the economy is growing.    But when you calculate the CPI the way it was calculated in 1980, then inflation is more like 10%. calculates the real rate of inflation based upon the old method and contrasts that with the current government rate “lie” (i.e., so they can make the economy look better and not have to make huge payments to government programs indexed to inflation).   Using the old calculation for CPI, shows the economy has been in a RECESSION since 2000 with just one quarter of 2003 yielding positive growth.

Our debt grows by a trillion dollars each year and our government is not willing to take the measures (ever!) to get us out of the situation.   Consequently, the US dollar is in big trouble.   Soon, it will no longer be the world’s reserve currency.   Further, it wouldn’t surprise me if in the next 2-10 years, the US dollar totally collapses, along with the Yen and the Euro which are not in any better shape.   Such events would totally alter the money game that we discuss in depth at the Peak Performance 202 workshop.

People who change their level of consciousness, however, will be able to find great opportunities and thrive during this upcoming massive change.   People who do not change their level of consciousness will likely be consumed by fear and panic.   Hopefully, most of our newsletter readers and clients will be those who see massive opportunities in the change. That’s one of our major goals at the Van Tharp Institute — to help you transform by becoming happier, raising your level of consciousness (at least out of fear and greed) and becoming more successful as a result.

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2014.


About the Author: Trading coach and author Van K. Tharp, Ph.D. is widely recognized for his best-selling books and outstanding Peak Performance Home Study Program—a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors. You can learn more about Van Tharp at His newest book, Trading Beyond The Matrix, is available now at

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Trading Education

All Three Peak Performance Workshops Back-to-Back in January!

The Peak Performance 101 workshop is a prerequisite for the Super Trader Program and for the more advanced Peak Performance 202 and 203 workshops. These workshops have been selling out, so if you'd like to come, register now to ensure you have a seat! Also, the $700 early enrollment discounts on all three workshops will be expiring on January 8th.


Early enrollment discounts on these workshops expire on January 8th

January 16-18

Peak Performance 101

with Van Tharp, RJ Hixson and Janie Guill

January 20-23

Peak Performance 202

with Van Tharp, Libby Adams, RJ and Janie

January 25-27

Peak Performance 203

with Van Tharp RJ Hixson and Janie Guill

February 7-9

Day Trading Systems

with Ken Long

February 10-11

Live Day Trading

with Ken Long

March: Sydney, Australia
March 7-9

Peak Performance 101

with Van Tharp and RJ Hixson

March 11-13

Blueprint for Trading Success

with Van Tharp and RJ Hixson

March 15-17

How to Develop a Winning Trading System That Fits You

with RJ Hixson and Van Tharp

March: Cary, North Carolina
March 28-30

Forex Trading

with Gabriel Grammatidis

March 31-April 1

New! Live Forex Trading

with Gabriel Grammatidis

April 24-26

Blueprint for Trading Success

with Van Tharp and RJ Hixson

April 28-30

How to Develop a Winning Trading System That Fits You

with RJ Hixson and Van Tharp

May 2-4

Trading in a Bear Market

with Mark McDowell

May 16-18

Swing Trading Systems

with Ken Long

If you live in South Africa and expressed interest in Van presenting during a 2014 visit, we thank you for the feedback. Van's plans have changed however and it will be 2015 before he visits your beautiful country.

Click here to see the full workshop schedule or to register.

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Trading TipKen

Ken Long on Beliefs

For many years, Van has written extensively on the value of understanding the beliefs you have about yourself, the markets, and trading.  The first lesson the Super Traders have to finish relates to identifying several hundred personal beliefs and evaluating each one of them. 

Recently, someone asked Dr. Ken Long about his beliefs and the question prompted an interesting response.  You can read the slightly edited exchange below. 

Hi Ken:

          I have been working on my mission statements and business trading plan. I would like to model you for  day trading (if you have no objections).

What are your beliefs that I could/should find useful?



I am on a journey of eliminating beliefs, trying to show why ANY belief is necessary as opposed to accumulating beliefs.

I believe that answering a couple of essential questions about beliefs is helpful.  Maybe these are attitudes more than beliefs, but in any case, I like to ask:

What's the evidence for this belief? Why is it necessary to have a belief on this subject?
What is a proper degree of confidence to hold on the basis of the evidence available?
What are the limits of the belief?  Or - How robust is this belief?

There are several perspectives to consider beliefs as well.

From a constructivist perspective:
What is the utility of this belief-structure?
What are the characteristics of the scaffolding?
What does it allow me to do?

If you look at my daily and weekend report, I would say that each indicator/report-chunk is there because I have a belief that they have some level of valuable information content.

Each system I have published has statements of core beliefs, assumptions, models, rules that stand together as a whole.

You might also be rewarded by researching several other sources –
The e-book on RFA has a ton of things,
The video on "Edges" recorded not too long ago at a Van Tharp Institute workshop also has a useful collection of beliefs.

I am more interested in "intentional" action than I am in trying to find some kind of grand theory of everything for daytrading; that's in line with Feynman's belief that he was not trying to find ultimate truth, but rather simply trying to find out more about how the world works. I think that's a healthy belief

I have a belief in the trade frames I make when I am preparing to act — that they represent reasonable reward: risk ratio opportunities.  I believe that the habit of framing trades consistently builds proficiency, an effective action/mental muscle memory, and that it provides an effective way to internalize adaptive judgment over time.

With respect to human nature and behavior, I have very strong beliefs in the sayings of Mark Twain.  I also like the sayings found in the complete book of Murphy's Law.  One in particular relates to mankind trying to exert mastery over Nature and is paraphrased "Measure with a micrometer, mark with a crayon, cut with an axe"

That’s probably not the specific answer you were looking for, but it's a start.


About the Author: Ken Long retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and now teaches at the U.S. Army Staff College. He recently earned a D.M. in Organizational Behavior. He is a proud father of three, a husband, teacher, student, martial artist and active trader. Ken also instructs dynamic trading workshops for the Van Tharp Institute. Watch this video to hear two testimonials from students of Ken Long.

definitive guideNew, Second Edition, The Definitive Guide To Position Sizing Strategies is Now Available!

The name Van Tharp is often synonymous with the term Position Sizing. In fact, Van invented and coined the term. It's one of the most important concepts that a trader can understand, yet so often, traders  misjudge how critical a role it plays in your results. To help traders, Van set out to create the definitive compilation of this weighty subject some years back.  Based on the feedback from the book’s first edition readers, he was quite successful and now he is releasing the second edition.

If you think your systems are more important than your position sizing strategies in meeting your objectives, we strongly encourage you to study this book.  Understanding position sizing topics will have more impact on your trading results than any other single “technical” subject.  After reading it, you'll understand why many traders keep the book close by as desk reference.

It's a substantial book, well worth its $249 price tag, however, during our sale you can get the NEW edition for $199! But hurry, the sale will be ending on January 8th.

Learn More | Order Now

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January 3, 2014 #662


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