Momo Traders: Tips, Tricks, & Strategies from Ten Top Traders. - Interview with Author Brady Dahl.


'Momo Traders: Tips, Tricks, & Strategies from Ten Top Traders', is an exceptional new book from Writer and Trader Brady Dahl. It is to the private, internet based traders of today, what the 'Market Wizards' books were to he traders of the late 80s and 90s. In the following article, Momo Traders writer, Brady Dahl, has agreed himself to be interviewed about the book, and the insights he learned about himself as a trader, from writing the book. 

Book Review : Momo Traders
Most traders have read at least one of the Market Wizards books. Momo Traders follows in the path set by Market Wizards, however whereas Market Wizards largely features traders who made their fortune in the environment of the 80s and 90s, Momo traders is far more relevant to the modern day trader, working from home using the Internet. ‘Momo Traders’ is a book that most of the private traders working from home, or from one of the many private trading rooms which have sprung up, can relate to, irrespective of what markets they trade. .

‘Momo Traders’ is written by Brady Dahl in collaboration with Nathan Michaud of Investors Underground. Dahl, is a writer who trades, he has previously worked as a screenwriter on the hit US crime tv drama, ‘Sons of Anarchy’. As a writer, Dahl is able to keep the reader interested and captivated, and it is clear that his interviews have an engaging conversational style, which comes out throughout the book. Dahl is able to make the traders feel at ease through the interviews, thus facilitating thought provoking, insightful and at times compelling interviews. 
The unique aspect of this book is that most the traders featured have achieved great success from very humble beginnings. These guys are not the ‘masters of the universe’ of the 80s and 90s. Rather they are regular guys, who made mistakes, blew up, lost heavily, and yet persisted. These traders often had periods where they rode their luck too, but eventually they found a way, a method, an approach and a niche, which worked for them, and which eventually became the route for their own particular successes.

Like the traders it interviews, this book has the potential to be a future trading classic. Perhaps I feel there may have been one or two minor aspects which could have added some extra dimensions: Perhaps the inclusion of one or two traders of other markets; maybe FX, commodities, or energy. Saying that the theory behind trading is the same, whether you trade APPL, USDCAD, or West Texas Intermediate, it is the human aspect that matters to success, and this is what the book captures excellently. Perhaps, these extra elements could be included in a sequel. 

The Interview by Steven Goldstein

Brady Dahl, the writer of Momo Traders, has very kindly agreed to have the tables turned on him today by being interviewed himself. I hope readers of 'The Being of Trading' blog, enjoy his insightful and revealing interview:

SG: Brady. My first question: I am based in London, the word ‘Momo’ is not a word or term I am familiar with here in the UK. My assumption is that this refers to ‘momentum traders’. However, could you clarify for me and other non-US readers, exactly what the term means, and why this was used as the title for the book?

BD: You got it right. "Momo" is short for momentum. We used it in the title because the traders interviewed in the book constantly seek out momentum in the market—stocks about to have momentum, stocks currently with momentum, or stocks where the momentum has recently died. They know how to profit from "momo" in a myriad of ways.
SG: What motivated and inspired you to write Momo Traders?

BD: I always wished I could sit next to great traders while they worked and ask them dozens of questions. I wanted to know more about guys who traded like me, day traders working for themselves at home and earning a living. I wanted to know what made them tick, what they actually did all day, what tools they used, what action they were looking for, what strategies they found most profitable—basically any insight I could get.

SG: What was the aim or goal of writing Momo Traders?

BD: Well, co-creator Nathan Michaud and I had both read plenty of books on trading, but they all seemed to feature famous traders or hedge fund managers—guys who were trading millions and even billions of dollars, often using other people's money. It wasn't relatable to me and the guys I knew who started trading with a few thousand dollars of our own money and tried to eek out a living day after day. So the goal of the book was to showcase successful day traders and show the readers 10 varied yet completely attainable paths to profits. It's not easy, and the journey is different for everyone, but it is possible.

SG: As a writer of one of the most successful crime dramas of recent years, writing Momo Traders seems like a big departure for you. What challenges did you face in writing about traders?

BD: Well in this case, I couldn't simply make it up! Writing for film or television is an exercise in creativity, whereas writing Momo Traders was an exercise in editing. Believe it or not some of these interviews started out as over 50 pages of transcribed conversation. Without months of whittling and choosing what was most important, the book would have been 500 pages long.

SG: In terms of the interviews, attitudes and perspectives expressed in this book, what stands out for you in terms of recurring themes?

BD: Independence and freedom. These traders loathe the thought of working for somebody else and have spent the better part of their lives avoiding that. Of course they love what they do—trading—but they love the freedom it brings them even more. They have no boss, so whether they want to take the afternoon off or the next three months, they can—and do. It's not the money that brings them happiness but rather the time and independence.

SG: Whilst I loved all the interviews in the book, both ‘The Scanner’ and ‘The Rock’ stand out for me. Do you have a favourite interview or sections of interviews which really stood out for you?

BD: As a writer, 'The Storyteller' stood out most for me, because of the way Gregg Sciabica and I discussed taking into account all the variables surrounding a stock and creating the 'story' of the trade. But as a trader, I gained insight from each and every trader, even the ones with whom I didn't think I had as much in common. Some of the most eye-opening moments for me came from traders who have strategies completely different than mine.

SG: Was there anything that surprised you during the interviews?

BD: The most surprising element was just how open, honest, and forthcoming these traders were. They didn't shy away from answering any questions and never hesitated to discuss specific trading setups or techniques. When I asked them to walk through actual trades or most profitable setups, they did. And whenever I pushed for further explanation, they gave it.

SG: Can you tell the readers something about yourself as a trader?

BD: I've been trading since '08 with both good years and bad. Although I came to the market as an 'investor,' I soon saw people posting daily gains online of 50%, 100%, and even more trading penny stocks. I was drawn to the quick buck. Over the years I grew out of penny stocks and began trading any stock with a ticker. Currently I would say I primarily short sell momentum stocks that get over-hyped and overbought, but I—just like our readers—am working on all aspects of my game. I don't think the process of learning every stops, especially in trading

SG: As a coach, a big part of my work is to get people to self-reflect; to become more conscious of their inner-selves and how this impacts their trading and their engagement with risk and uncertainty. I am sure this project provided plenty of opportunity for you to embark on self-reflection, what did you find out about yourself as a person and a trader?

BD: Great question. Two of the biggest things that stood out to me while working on this book were my stubbornness and tendency to gamble. Both have actually served me quite well in other aspects of my life but are a detriment to my trading. I gambled when I moved to Hollywood with no connections and little money to try to become a screenwriter. And my stubbornness and determination not to fail helped me succeed in that endeavour. But great traders aren't stubborn. They don't need to be proven right in a trade. Instead, they cut losers quickly and move on to the next setup. Great traders also don't gamble. They deal in probabilities and let the math work. You have to work hard not to get in the way of your own success.

SG: You’ve just used a wonderful phrase, which I think every trader should heed: ‘You have to work hard not to get in the way of your own success.’ What new aspects of trading do you believe you have learned from the interviews which will help you achieve this?

BD: Reacting versus predicting. Most people, myself included, think successful traders are predicting price action. We think these geniuses must somehow have a gut feeling or intuition for where a stock's price is headed. Surely he knew XYZ was going to go up two dollars so he longed it right before it did. But what I've learned is that's not how it works at all. Most of these great traders—even if they don't know it themselves—are not predicting future action but rather reacting to current action. They see certain variables setting up—whether that's a news release, stock promotion, price action, volume, or any other stimuli—and then they simply react! They buy or sell based on similar setups they've seen in the past. Then, taking it a step further, if the stock doesn't do what they expected it to do, they react to current action again, by either decreasing size or stopping the trade altogether. That realization may sound simple to some, but it signifies to me that trading can be learned and that you don't have to be a prophetic genius.

SG: So what, if anything, will you do differently in your trading compared to what you were doing before?

BD: Have patience. I think it was Gregg who said we're not paid to sit at the computer and push buttons all day. We're paid to wait for great setups to come along and then capitalize on them to the fullest. Personally I forget that sometimes and begin to overtrade, but overtrading leads to taking losses on less than ideal setups.

SG: One of the things that jumps out to me from these interviews is that the interviewees seem to have no hesitation sharing their inner most thoughts and feelings. As least that is how it seems, would that be a fair assessment?

BD: Yeah, like I said, their honesty surprised me. But when I thought about it after, it made sense because these people are confident traders. They're confident in their current strategies and confident in their ability to continually learn and evolve with the market. None of them are worried about someone learning their 'secrets,’ so they’re willing to share.

SG: Where I feel Momo Traders really differs from similar books of this genre, is the focus on ordinary guys starting with virtually nothing, sitting behind computer screens and getting their information via twitter, social media and internet based services. What was it about these guys that attracted you to interview them and cover their work?

BD: Exactly that. The fact that they started with very little money, work mainly alone, all day, at home, and for themselves, just like me. They all grew into wildly successful traders doing things that are most likely within my realm of ability, so I set out to absorb as much of their knowledge as they would allow.

SG: I have spent 30 years in and around bank trading rooms. Yet this business never fails to surprise me. What has reallysurprised me is the extraordinary results achieved from such minimal initial resources. What qualities do you feel were a major aspect of the success of these particular traders?

BD: Mainly their determination. Most of these traders blew up at least one, if not several, accounts in the beginning of their careers. And that's when 90% of the other traders quit and never came back to the market. There's a saying in Hollywood that talented writers and actors move home every day, basically meaning the people who "make it" in the business are simply the ones that stick around long enough to outlast the others. And I believe it works similarly for trading. The guys who get back up every time they're knocked down, who don't let losses take over their emotions, who stick with it day after grueling day, are the ones who make it.

SG: My coaching work with traders, typically inside banks and hedge funds, has enabled me to identify many of the same themes and traits which seem present in the traders featured in Momo Traders. What would you describe are the major personal traits which were common amongst these traders which were key factors behind their success?

BD: Besides the determination we already discussed, I'd say all these traders are very disciplined. Even the ones that seem a bit wilder are still disciplined in their own way, otherwise they wouldn't have lasted in the trading business this long. Their discipline allows them to do two very important things, without hesitation—1) Enter the trades that present themselves, and 2) Stop the trades when they're not working. Sounds easy enough, right? But most traders fail because they don't do one or both of those things well enough.

SG. That’s a fascinating response. Nearly all traders tell me they’d like to be more disciplined, however what disciplined means for one guy, means something totally different for the next.

SG: In my many years as trader I could not imagine working from home on my own. It did try it for a short time, but the loneliness nearly killed me. It must take acertain type to be able to work from home on your own?

BD: Absolutely. Just ask my wife. She'll tell you it takes a deranged lunatic to work from home all by yourself every day. And sometimes I agree with her! But in all seriousness, I do think it takes a certain type or person. I love the freedom it allows me, but again, it comes back to discipline. I answer to nobody but myself, which is a great luxury, but if you're the type of person who would rather sleep in a little later or watch Youtube videos all day instead of work, it may not be the best thing for you—you may need a boss to push you. But for me—It's Sunday at 11pm right now and I've been in my office working for the last 7 hours. Sometimes I wish the Boss-Me would give the Work-Me a break.

SG: What is it about your book which you think will most attract readers to purchase Momo Traders?

BD: The honesty from ten great traders. Where else can you learn from successful traders who speak freely and openly about their finances, how much money they keep in accounts, and how much money they put to work and in what increments in specific trades? Also, many traders have reached out after reading the book and thanked us for putting it together, saying all kinds of nice things and talking about how it has helped their trading, which has been very rewarding for us to hear.

SG Aside from telling aspiring traders to buy your book, what one piece of advice would you give to traders setting about on embarking on a career in trading?

BD: It's one thing, but I'll say it three times: Cut your losses, cut your losses, cut your losses. Don't ever let a loss run thinking that it will 'come back eventually,' because it usually doesn't. And even if it does, how long did it take, why did you need to go for that ride, and what toll did it take on your mental health? You can always re-buy or re-sell if the trade sets up again. There is absolutely no good reason to hang onto a loser, yet it's probably the number one killer of beginning traders. Learn to love the loss. Cut it quick, keep it small, and move on. That one small discipline will allow you to maintain your account value for as long as possible while you try your hand at trading. Oh, and cut your losses. Did I say that already?

Brady thank you for the interview.

I highly recommend investing in a copy of 'Momo Traders'. It could be one of the best investments you ever make. In addition, it is worth noting that some of the profits from the book will be going to good causes through the charity ‘Traders4ACause’. To buy directly and/or to purchase the e-book, go to https://www.momotraders.com/ or alternatively the book can be purchased on Amazon and other online book retailers.  

Steven Goldstein is a leading Performance Coach working with Traders, Banks and Hedge funds at AlphaRCubed Ltd: To know more about Alpha R Cubed, visit their website www.alpharcubed.com or email Steven at steven.goldstein@alpharcubed.com

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