Van K. Tharp
Ph.D. Professional Coach for Traders and Investors
Over a period of about thirty years, Dr. Tharp helped people overcome problems in areas of trading psychology and success-related issues such as self-sabotage. In 1992, he founded the Van Tharp Institute (VTI), a training organization offering high-quality educational products and services for traders and investors around the globe. His techniques for producing great traders were some of the most effective in the field.
While Dr. Tharp’s expertise was in the area of finance, his mission was to touch people in a way that changed them for the better. In his books, courses, and workshops, he used transformation through a trading metaphor to do so.
Dr. Tharp passed away in February 2022.
Education and Training
Dr. Tharp used a combination of skills and education to fine-tune his strategies to coach, consult and teach traders and investors. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. He was a certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a certified Modeler of NLP, and an Assistant Trainer of NLP. He used his expertise in NLP to create the successful models of trading and investing.
Author, Publisher, and Educator
Dr. Tharp is the author of many acclaimed books.
His first four books were published by McGraw Hill:
Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom,
Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom, a New York Times Bestseller,
Financial Freedom Through Electronic Day Trading.
In addition, Wiley and Sons published:
Trading Beyond the Matrix: The Red Pill For Traders,
Eight Edges You Must Have: Your Written Trading Plan.
Dr. Tharp self-published his last book through Amazon:
Moti-Maps: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Dream Life.
Dr. Tharp’s landmark publication, however, is the Definitive Guide to Position Sizing™. This is a textbook for traders who want to limit risk while maximizing profits using unique concepts which Tharp developed and which are used around the world now. Dr. Tharp coined the term Position Sizing to encapsulate his ideas about the topic and to distinguish it from more generic terms like money management.
Dr. Tharp was the only trading coach featured in Jack Schwager’s best-selling book, Market Wizard’s: Interviews with Great Traders. He has been featured in Forbes, Barron’s Market Week, Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities, Investor’s Business Daily, Futures and Options World, and Trader’s Journal.
Dr. Tharp collected over 5,000 successful trading profiles by studying and researching individual traders and investors, including many of the top traders and investors in the world. From these studies, he developed a model for successful trading and investing that other people can adopt and learn. He wrote the five-volume Peak Performance Home Study Course, which shares the results of this ten-year study and guides students through a self development program to improve their trading. Many students reported a valuable side benefit of the course in that their overall quality of life improved by working through the course. This home study is a must-have for any level trader.
Dr. Tharp's Peak Performance Home Study, Definitive Guide to Position Sizing, and other books are available on Amazon.
Speaker and Presenter
For over thirty years, the Van Tharp Institute offered workshops to help traders improve performance. In addition, Dr. Tharp custom designed special seminars for traders at banks and institutions. He presented these in Paris, Italy, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Venice, London, Vienna, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Hungary, as well as throughout the United States. He toured Asia as a speaker for Dow Jones and was the keynote speaker in 2011 at the largest investment conference in Poland.
He conducted workshops for floor traders at the CBOT, the CBOE, and the CME. He was a regular speaker to portfolio and hedge fund managers worldwide. He was a member of the distinguished Investment Advisory Panel of the prestigious Oxford Club - a rare honor only a half dozen or so individuals have received. Dr. Tharp was also a highly rated guest speaker at expositions and conferences throughout the world.
Dr. Tharp was an Insider
Through Dr. Tharp’s modeling work of many of the top traders in the world, he learned inside secrets of which many professionals are unaware themselves. They truly are secrets because many of these professionals couldn’t express them in words – they were non-conscious processes. Some examples include:
- How to use position sizing strategies to meet your objectives,
- How to understand risk from many perspectives,
- How to understand the impact of mistakes,
- How market types are critical for your trading systems,
- How to do mistake coaching to manufacture R,
- How to be a systems thinker in order to adapt your trading to the ever-changing market,
- And countless other helpful ideas that no one else teaches – because no one else has uncovered them.
Dr. Tharp was an Awakener
An awakener is someone who helps others raise their level of consciousness and awareness to the point where they become happy for no reason. Here are some testimonials from our students:
"One day during my meditation, I saw the image of the Avalokiteśvara (Bodhisattva of Compassion) instead of my usual Buddha image. During meditation, she said to me “I will open your Third Eye…” Avalokiteśvara was the Bodhisattva whom I once met in my dream during a Buddhist retreat almost 10 years ago – I was literally “transported” in a giant bubble up in the sky and heard her talking to me briefly about my mission/purpose (I could only describe her voice as from the edge of the universe). I tried to ask her questions but was told that I must return immediately, then I was transported back down in the bubble again. After I woke up, I shivered as if I had a fever for about 20 minutes. My mission sounded too big for me (my ego) so I probably tried to run away from it since then. But you brought me back to it through ST (Super Trader) and I’m ready to take it on now. Thank you!"
- Rui Luo, Super Trader 1 Completion, Co-Founder, Stensal, Inc, and former Citigroup Analyst.
"Van's Great workshop. I think the System Thinking Workshop is the most important one for me since it pulls together the Beyond the Matrix thought system and worldview. It is like the capstone course in an MBA program that pulls it all together. Thanks Van! … I really enjoyed the lessons and workshops and they created many useful maps! … It was like I did a supercharged refresher of my undergraduate studies from a completely different perspective that changed my life!! Looking forward to ST2 (Super Trader 2)."
- Bruce Walicek, Venture Capitalist, and former Wall Street investment bank analyst.
"My journey through ST (Super Trader) has been transformational. Intellectually I found the Systems Thinking and Beyond the Matrix Thinking the most exciting workshops. I have been shocked at the depth and richness of Korzybski’s work, at its age, and at how little it is known. Although I have done some meditation previously, awakening my spiritual side has been the most profound transformation for me personally. Whilst this will continue to be an ongoing process for the rest of my life, I have lifted the veil of spirituality and have some insights as to the subtle power of these practices, how they can change your life and perceptions, and allow you to strive for the life you wish to follow. This has been complemented by the Oneness blessings and the cohort of open, warm, enthusiastic students from many different backgrounds. I always thought there was a better, more effective way to think, and Van has introduced it to me. If more people were aware, the world would progress in a more effective way. As an aside, the whole process has also had an impact on my trading."