A Trading Mindset: Books To Give You A Mental Edge

Professional trading and training can be like a marathon that never seems to end. Simply trading each and every of the +225 trading days a year isn’t actually healthy for the learning process and skill development.

There are times when we have to spend more time reviewing and less time trading. There are also times when we need to do more study and training than trading.

Traders often tend to be a passionate bunch and love to digest good reading material.

As someone who consistently reads 1-2+ books per week, I’ve built up a decent library, particularly around trading and the trading mindset.

In today’s article, I’m going to share half a dozen trading books, centered around the trading mindset and building a successful traders mindset. I’ll give a brief description of each one, plus a link to the book on Amazon so you can order whichever you feel most drawn to.

It should be noted, most trading lists like these will typically share some of the staples, such as Market Wizards or Trading in the Zone. Since these have been done and done time and time again, I’ll be sharing some alternative books which share a unique perspective on trading, mindset, success and training.


#1 The Playbook by Mike Bellafiore
I’ve talked personally with Mike before. He’s one of the good guys in the industry doing some unique work for traders, training traders and the industry. He runs SMB which is part prop desk, part training program. With decades of experience in trading and running a trading desk, Mike has a unique perspective on trading, training traders and what it takes to become successful.

If I was ever to work/trade for a team, I’d probably work with them.

the playbook mike bellafiore

This is probably the longest book review of them all since I have personal experience with Mike, but his unique approach to trading also applies to the mindset. In The Playbook, he shares a lot about working with his trading team, getting them through the same obstacles we all experience.

He shares his insights into working with traders who aren’t cutting it vs. the ones who show potential, guiding them towards success.

He puts a tremendous focus and effort on mindset. Two quotes that stick out from the book are;
1) “You do not become a great trader by being shown cookie cutter technical setups and then soon become successful. That is a myth from what I call Trader Disneyland. It would be wonderful if Trader Disneyland existed, but it is marketed and spun that it does, yet it doesn’t.” (That means you Nial Fuller & Jonathan Fox)


2) “Many novice pedestrian traders focus on the next position. Consistently successful traders focus on the process and care little about the outcome of the next trade. The distinction is enormous.”

There are many gems in this book, including the actual ‘Playbook‘ idea he shares, but definitely a top read in my library for a traders mindset.

#2 The Way of the Fight by Georges St. Pierre
The Way of the Fight? What does this have to do with trading?

Yah good question. Georges St. Pierre is a Mixed Martial Artist. He is a former 2x World Welterweight Champion in the UFC and holds several records that still stand to this day.

Not only being one of the good guys of the world of mixed martial arts, Georges is a trailblazer in terms of training, preparation, mindset, and integrating many styles seamlessly.

In his book The Way of The Fight, he shares his experiences, challenges, training methods, and how he personally and mentally approaches mixed martial arts at the highest level.

georges st pierre

Two gems that stand out from this book are;

1) “Almost anybody can be greatly successful. However most are not willing to go through the process and just want the result. It’s having to go through the process that stops people, not their limited potential.”


2) “If your enthusiasm is continually diminished by defeat, you will not have enough mental fuel to survive the learning curve.”

Definitely worth a read. Inspiring, challenging and clarifying.

#3 The Hour Between Dog & Wolf
Former trader turned Neuroscientist, John Coates spent almost a year studying an entire trading floor of institutional traders. With his training as a Neuroscientist, he shares some amazing information about how the brain and body works through the typical days of trading for professional traders at the highest level throughout an entire year.

In The Hour Between Dog & Wolf, you’ll learn more about your brain and body than any book I’ve seen out to date.

Ever had that ‘gut feeling’? You’ll learn about that. Want to know what stress hormones do to the brain, body and performance? You’ll find out in here.

A must read for traders wanting to learn about their brain, body and how trading affects them both.

#4 Cultures of Expertise in the Global Currency Markets by Leon Wansleben
This is a book I covered in an article before (click here to read the full article and review), but had to mention it again.

Leon Wansleben is a sociologist by trade who also gets to spend time watching an entire FX trading desk. You’ll learn about how the traders work with the analysts, how they trade on all time frames, including intra-day lower time frames (Sorry Nial Fuller & Johnathan Fox for being flat out wrong again), what the bulk of their trading day is like, and more.

He covers how the top traders manage risk with exceptional skill while building emotional courage and stamina to survive the learning curve. He also goes in depth how they are trading price action and order flow, often in combination with fundamental analysis.

Another must read for getting a unique perspective on the trading mindset.

#5 Earn the Right to Win
After losing a coaching job, Tom Coughlin was found sitting at the NFL combine, which is where the potential new college grads will show off their skills and physical traits, hoping to get noticed by coaches and scouts for standing out.

While taking detailed notes on every player there, Tom was greeted by a friend in the industry who said this to him:

“Tom, what are you doing here? You don’t have a coaching job.”

Tom’s response says it all, “Not now I don’t.”

Tom has won two Super Bowls with the NY Giants. He is the oldest coach to ever win one, and has done an impressive job, often times taking the teams with the lowest winning records into the playoffs, and coming out champions.

When you finish this book, you’ll see the value of preparation, how managing one’s time and maintaining discipline leads to success. A great book from a great guy in the NFL.

#6 How to Be Like Mike by Pat Williams
Anyone who has been a follower of this blog and forex training site would already know I’m a big Michael Jordan fan. In this book Pat Williams goes through the many phases of Michael Jordan’s career, from his early failures in High School, to coming back stronger, to his winning the NCAA championship at UNC, to his early struggles at the bulls, and onto his 6 NBA titles.

You’ll learn more about MJ, and all the amazing little things he did in this book than any documentary I’ve seen yet. Sharing perspectives from players and coaches around him or against him, along with other greats in sports, you’ll see why MJ is and continues to be an inspiration, sharing a unique mindset on success.


Three quotes of the hundreds I’d like to share are below:

1) “Success isn’t something you chase. It is something you have to put forth the effort for constantly; then maybe it’ll come when you least expect it. Most people don’t understand that.”

2) “I was sitting on the bench and MJ came dribbling past us at full speed. Then he shifted into another gear and went to the hoop. I’ll never forget that fire in his eyes, that look of determination. It scared me to see that look. I’ve never seen it before. I’ve never seen it since.”

3) “You can’t turn it on and off like a faucet. I couldn’t dog it during practice and then, when I needed that extra push late in the game, expect it to be there. But that’s how a lot of people approach things. And that’s why a lot of people fail. They sound like they’re committed to being the best they can be. But when it comes right down to it, they’re looking for reasons instead of answers.”

A treasure trove of a book, and something I continually go back to.

In Closing
Whether these books were from traders directly, or from high performers in other fields, you’ll notice several patterns in their thinking and mindset.

Most focus on training, preparation and process more than result. Most struggling traders have this equation reversed.

Most have a highly evolved training routine, and work at their chosen skill every single day. There are no lazy traders or examples of success from being lazy (sorry again Nial).

And most consistently, they realize having skills is one thing, but having a stronger mindset is far more powerful.

Food for thought, but I hope this gives you some enjoyable reads.

Buddhist, Trader and Philanthropist

I'm Chris Capre, Founder of 2ndSkiesForex. I help traders of all levels change the way they think, trade and perform. As a professional trader, I specialize in trading price action. As a teacher, my passion lies in showing you how to re-wire your brain for successful trading. Want to improve your edge right now? Visit my Price Action Course page.

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  • Raja

    Thanks Chris for sharing

    • Chris Capre

      Hello Raja,

      Glad you liked it and hopefully you found some good books to read.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Joao Filipe

    Great list Chris. I need to read these books!
    I meditate regularly beyond increasing that. Do you have any recommendation for increasing my focus. I tend to get side tracked too much.

    • Chris Capre

      Hello Joao,

      Good question. First perhaps you can help me, but what meditation practice are you doing? Also any details on how many mins per day, what times of the day, and how many days per week would be helpful.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Cherie

    Thanks for sharing Chris. The Hour Between Dog & Wolf is an excellent read, will have to add these others to my library too. Hopefully we’ll see your book soon too? Thanks much :)

    • Chris Capre

      Hello Cherie,

      Yah that was a great book. Got so much information about it.

      Hopefully mine coming out this year too (health and work permitting).

      Great to hear from you and hope all is well.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

    • Chris Capre


      That was one of my favorite books – unique insight and information.

      As to my book…to be continued 😉

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Joao Filipe

    I do at least 30m a day. I do guided meditation. Mantra meditation. Body sensing meditation. Focusing on your breath. Walking meditation. Usually upon waking or before sleeping and some times both. Sometimes I can do during the day. Suggestions / Improvements.

    • Chris Capre


      Email me directly and I’ll be happy to make some suggestions.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Sascha

    Awesome article and book tips. Really good choice to filter out the classic books many traders alteady have on their shelf including me.

    I’ll definitely get each and one of the books you recommended as well. One of them has already been on my must-read-list for a while now. :)

    • Chris Capre


      Ha – why am I not surprised you’d get all the books?

      Always appreciate your gusto.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Raildo

    I would like to thank you for the excellent article that comes to support and strengthen the education of all committed traders with success in the journey!

    • Chris Capre


      Thank you for the positive comments. Hopefully I can make a positive impact on the trading community.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Eric

    That’s a great list Chris. Thank you for sharing.

    • Chris Capre


      Am glad you liked this list. These books gave me 1000x their value.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Putkata

    Hey Chris!

    Great and very informational post! Thanks a million. As per the two price action ‘pundits’ that you mentioned – Fox and Fuller, they are nothing else but primitive bloggers who never trade live, only explain what thay did yesterday and make 10K. Such a joke.

    • Chris Capre

      Hello Putkata,

      Glad you found the post informational and useful.

      And yes, those ‘pundits’ are bloggers, not traders, which any trader can see, so glad you noticed and weren’t drinking the kool-aid.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Mike Schwartz

    Great suggestions Chirs. I would like to add one to the mix if you don’t mind. It is called Mind Gym by Gary Mack and David Casstevens. While it is written about athletes and what they do to reach their goals, you would never know it as you could easily replace athlete with trader. It is a excellent read I highly recommend.

  • Gerry

    I am grateful for you professor sharing such a piece on trading.
    You are the #1 Forex Education & Training site on the web!
    Thank you again Mr. Capre

  • shami

    As usual , when i am looking to learn more not only about market but about life i had to come back to Chris’s article … thanks for sharing such great one.

  • Raj

    Nice list Chris. But you left out all of Van Tharp’s books. Van Tharp has done extensive work in trading psychology field. All of his books are great but “Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom” is excellent to gain mental edge for trader of any level.

    • Chris Capre

      Hello Raj,

      Glad you liked the list. It wasn’t meant to be exhaustive, so would have added a few more for sure.

      Never read any of Van Tharp’s books, but I think neuroscience + cognitive science + meditation are more than enough to gain a mental edge for trading (at any level) these days.

      I think trading psychology is undergoing a massive change now with the fields above (new and old) really showing us more about our brains in the last 10 years than the last 50.

      So some exciting times ahead.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • César

    Pretty good list, including some gems I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else. IMHO, you are still paying too much personalized attention to those other two chaps; by following you for a short while now, I believe you are better than that. Regards.

    • Chris Capre

      Hello Cesar,

      Glad you liked the book list and hope you find those readings useful.