Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter

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Below we are reprinting Van's recent favorite book list as well as D.R. Barton's recent list.

ArticleVan Tharp

My Favorite Non-Fiction, Non-Trading Books

My staff asked me to put together a list of my favorite non-fiction, non-trading books.   I have a library at my house with several thousand such books, so picking just a few favorites from them is not very easy.   In fact, you could take just a single topic, like NLP or Spiritual Growth, and I could probably come up with 10-15 books for each and every category.   I decided to pick my favorite 15 overall — and actually, some of these are book sets.  Also, many of these are recommended - if not required reading for the Super Trader Program.

So I’ll list my 15 favorite, not in order of preference but by category.   Titles in bold are those books most likely to help you really transform.

Spiritual Books That Will Help You Move Toward Awakening

1) A Course in Miracles  Channeled by Jesus through the scribe Helen Schucman (who was a Jewish Psychology Professor, lol). This book is actually made up of three works and the only one I really recommend you read is the workbook with 365 lessons.  You do one lesson each day for 365 days, however, I must admit that I have done the course at least three times and I have never managed to complete it in a year.   By lesson 75 you will begin to notice a major change in your life.

2)  The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Reynard.  I took four years to work through the lessons in A Course in Miracles.  When someone presented me with this book much later, I read it and said, “A Course in Miracles said that?”   And then Gary Reynard actually showed up in my area to give a one day workshop which I attended.  That happened right after I had read his book and I have seen no sign that he has been back here since that time.   All of this is interesting synchronicity.   In any case, I had completely missed some major points in ACIM according to Gary’s book and thus I soon did the 365 lessons again.   Thus, I recommend that you read The Disappearance of the Universe before you do the workbook lessons in A Course in Miracles.

3)  A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie.    When you read this book, you’ll understand how an awakened person thinks and that is a rare gift.   In this book, Katie’s husband, Steven Mitchell, translates selections from the Tao Te Ching and then Katie elaborates on what those points mean to her.   I had no trouble reading this book but I’d had many years of experience doing A Course in Miracles prior to that.   If you find this reading this book to be difficult, then first do the 365 lessons in the workbook of A Course in Miracles.

4) A Course In Love  Channeled by Jesus through Mari Perron.    This book came many years after Helen Schucman had died and it came through a different source.   And this one you have to read.   ACIM is about changing your thinking, this one is about changing your heart.   Because you must read this text, I recommend that you do this one only after you are awake or have completed the 365 lessons from ACIM.

More Spiritual Books (But Different From The First Class of Books)

5)  The Secret of Quantum Living by Frank Kinslow.   I was sitting in one of Ken Long’s technical workshops when someone approached me and said he had just read a book that was the secret to everything.   I said okay and he told me about this book.   Since this man tended to read a book a day, he asked me the next day how I liked it and of course, I hadn’t even started reading it.   When I did read it, however, I thought he might be right about it being the secret to everything.     In this case, I’m going to recommend listening to this book on Audible rather than buying the text version.  Why?   Because the audio book provides a whole set of exercises that are not in the book — and those exercises are the key to Kinslow’s material.

6) Power versus Force by David Hawkins.   I don’t like all of Hawkins books, but I love this one.  And while I don’t know how true his model of human consciousness is, I find it very useful and thus I recommend this book.    The first five books listed above have the power to really transform you.   This one is good, but it only contains useful concepts on how to think about consciousness.

7)  The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.   So let’s go back to books that will really transform you.   This is one.  It focuses on the topic of gratitude and contains a 28 day program that will change your life.   I require people to complete this book in the follow up program after our Peak Performance 203 workshop.

Psychology/NLP Books

8)  The Five Levels of Attachment by Don Miquel Ruiz Jr.    If you read this book, it will totally change how you think about beliefs.   I don’t know that there are enough exercises in it to change your life but this book is very, very interesting. When you understand how attached we can become to our beliefs and the impact of that attachment, you’ll understand why people can kill others because of their beliefs.

9) Why We Believe What We Believe by Dr. Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman.   This is not a book about transformation but it is one of the most comprehensive texts on the topic of beliefs that I have every read.   And it really illustrates how your reality is made up of your beliefs.

10)  Strategies of Genius — Volumes I, II, and III by Robert Dilts.  In this three-volume set, Robert Dilts modeled the genius of some of the great legends of the past.  These include (in Volume 1) Aristotle, the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes, Walt Disney, and Wolfgang Mozart.     Volume 2 is devoted to entirely to Einstein.   And Volume 3 covers Sigmund Freud, Leonardo da Vinci, and Nikola Tesla.   I personally believe this work shows the genius behind NLP modeling.

11) NLP Going Meta: Advanced Modeling using Meta Levels by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.    This book isn’t for everyone and without a lot of background in NLP, it will be pretty hard to understand.    In addition, Dr. Hall’s writing style leaves a lot to be desired, however, it is my favorite book on NLP Modeling.  In my opinion, modeling is what NLP is all about.

12) The Big Book of NLP Expanded by Shlomo Vaknin.   Again, this isn’t easy reading but the author presents more than 350+ NLP techniques and methodologies.   So if you want a sourcebook for NLP, this is probably it.

Other Favorite Books

13) You'll See It When You Believe It by Dr. Wayne Dyer.    Wayne Dyer has written many books and this is definitely my favorite.    This is an easy read with the potential to transform you.

14) Resurfacing by Harry Palmer.   The basic Avatar course is nine days long and this book contains the first three days of the course.   It has many transformational exercises that I highly recommend.   While there are some aspects of Avatar that I do not like (I’ve taken the basic course twice, the master course once, and the wizard course twice), you can’t go wrong by spending some time with this particular book.    Palmer’s other basic book, Living Deliberately is also a favorite of mine.

15) Conversations with God — Books 1, 2, and 3 by Neale Donald Walsch.   I found these books useful not for the information they contained but for their statement that anyone can have a conversation with God.    At first I didn’t believe it, but now I have regular written conversations with my Inner Guidance and that’s something anyone can do.   I like these three books as evidence for that.

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 new book, Trading Beyond The Matrix, is available now at


Are You Ready to Take Your Trading to the Next Level?

In January, we will be presenting two of our Foundation Workshops at our offices in Cary, NC. Van calls these "Foundation" workshops because they provide certain core material that you must master to become a great trader.

The Blueprint for Trading Success workshop is a complete structured program that will launch you to a more advanced skill level in your trading. You’ll learn seventeen focused, strategic steps to will help you create the kind of trading results you want.  We regularly hear from students that they know planning is important but they’re not sure where to start and in some cases, they don’t even know what a trading business plan should look like.  Hint – it should not look like a “typical“ business plan.  You’ll leave this workshop with a template in hand to guide your trading business’s development and your personal growth as a trader.

In the How to Develop a Winning Trading System workshop, we'll teach you one of the real secrets of long term trading success — how to design or modify trading systems so they fit your beliefs, personality, and resources.  Learn all of the building blocks and the process for putting them together into robust systems that can trade stocks, futures, currencies, or options and that can make 50 trades per year or 50 trades per day.  This workshop thoroughly prepares you to develop systems when you need to adjust to changes in the markets or to changes in your circumstances. 

To register or to see our full workshop schedule, click here.



We only hold these two workshops once each year in the US. Be sure to catch them in January!

Jan 23-25

Blueprint for Trading Success

with RJ Hixson and Dr. Van K. Tharp

Jan 27-29

How to Develop a Winning Trading System That Fits You

with RJ Hixson and Dr. Van K. Tharp

March: Sydney Australia
Mar 6-8

Peak Performance 101

with Dr. Van K. Tharp and co-instructor Janie Guill

Mar 10-12

New! Mental Strategies (Peak 204)

with Dr. Van K. Tharp and co-instructor Janie Guill

Click the link above, information is now available!

Mar 14-16

Blueprint for Trading Success

with Dr. Van K. Tharp and co-instructor Janie Guill

March: USA
Mar 20-22

Day Trading Systems

with Ken Long

Mar 23-24

Live Day Trading

with Ken Long

Apr 10-12

Peak Performance 101

with Dr. Van K. Tharp and co-instructors Janie Guill and RJ Hixson

Apr 14-17

Peak Performance 202

with Dr. Van K. Tharp and Libby Adams

and co-instructors Janie Guill and RJ Hixson

Apr 19-21

Peak Performance 203

with Dr. Van K. Tharp and co-instructors Janie Guill and RJ Hixson

May 1-3

Forex Trading Systems

with Gabriel Grammatidis

May 4-5

Live Forex Trading

with Gabriel Grammatidis

May 7-9

Trading in A Bear Market

with Mark McDowell

Combo Discounts available for all back-to-back workshops!

See our workshop page for details.

Trading TipDR

My Favorite Books to Give: For the Trader Who Has Everything

Traders can be a tough lot to please in the gift-giving department.  Here are a few book ideas for the trader on your list — or for your list if a loved one asks you what you might like. 

(Please note — discretion dictates that I do not include any of Van’s books in the list — including the three he and I have collaborated on — since I assume you’ve generously bought copies for everyone you know already…)

Of course you will probably have read or at least heard of most of these, but there may be a gem hidden here and there. Since everyone’s time is valuable, I’ve given you a synopsis of why I think the book would be worth your while.  For today’s article, I’m not trying to build a comprehensive list but instead trying to give a few titles that might be just a little outside the mainstream (except for the first two entries).

Obligatory Inclusions / Classics

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre

It’s hard to keep this off of any list.  What?  You say you still haven’t read it?  Get the Kindle version for a buck ninety-nine!  At that price, download it onto your smart phone and start reading it the next time you’re stuck in the doctor’s office (it sure beats a tattered four month old People magazine). In addition to describing the allure of trading, Lefèvre’s book also captures the frenzy of market extremes so well that it could be recounting the Ebola low from just several weeks back.

Market Wizard and New Market Wizards by Jack Schwager

For a trader mindset and a don’t-give-up attitude, these first two Market Wizard books are hard to beat (check out how many of these folks had blown up or at least had serious trials by fire before finding their footing and becoming a “wizard”).  The strategies and market structure references for the traders profiled might not be so fresh anymore, but I still hear the voices of these traders echoing in my head.

A Nuts and Bolts Book that Is Off of Most People’s Radar  

Trading Systems and Methods by Perry J. Kaufman

Van recommended that I read Kaufman’s Smarter Trading (a good book in its own right) which then led me to his behemoth.  Encyclopedic in scope, it shows off Kaufman’s proclivity for depth in every subject covered.  It gives some sound thinking on system logic as he breaks down many “famous” and standard strategies (turtles, two & three MA crossovers, etc.).  This is not a front-to-back type of book to read, but one you’ll pull off the shelf time and again.  See how strongly buyers and sellers of this book value it by checking out the used book prices.

Two Books that Give Very Different High Level Views of Markets

Behavioral Finance by James Montier

This one is a bit pedantic, but has some very useful insights.  Chapter five covers covariance, correlation, return distributions and price action’s relation to Gaussian (normal) distributions and it fundamentally changed the way I look at markets.

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

Easily one of my favorite reads.  If you or someone you know likes the history of concepts (risk and uncertainty, in this case) then this book is a genuine treat.  Rather than a slog through a technical mire, this book is so well-written and has so many fascinating historical stories that it’s truly a joy to read.

This Year’s Hot Read

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

Although this book had a much bigger buzz in the spring when it was released, it will certainly be a Christmas gift favorite this year — much like the Buffet biography The Snowball was back in 2009.  I would guess, however, that few readers will make it through all 696 pages.  If it turns out that understanding the intricacies of income inequality isn’t your thing, then this book might make an impressive (re)gift for someone else in 2015.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite trading books, either in the well-known realm or lesser known finds.  Send your thoughts and suggestions to drbarton “at”

Great trading and God bless you,
D. R.

About the Author: A passion for the systematic approach to the markets and lifelong love of teaching and learning have propelled D.R. Barton, Jr. to the top of the investment and trading arena. He is a regularly featured guest on both Report on Business TV, and WTOP News Radio in Washington, D.C., and has been a guest on Bloomberg Radio. His articles have appeared on and Financial Advisor magazine. You may contact D.R. at "drbarton" at "".

MatrixEnter the Matrix Contest 
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For more information about the contest, click here.

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December 23, 2014 #713


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Van's Top-Twelve Favorite Trading Books






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