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Recommended books: blockchain, cryptocurrency, trading, psychology and much more
With hundreds if not thousands of cryptocurrency trading books published over the years, this is our humble attempt to group the ones really worth reading. This doesn’t mean that these are the only good books out there, but simply that these are the ones that we consider to be the most helpful. Definitely let us know if you come across a book that should belong to this list!
Since a lot of concepts are common to several trading trading segments, a lot of the books listed are not cryptocurrency-specific. However, we tried to keep this list as relevant as possible for the cryptocurrency investor, and therefore we had to leave out some great books just because they were not written for our target (think about penny stocks or investing strategies based on companies fundamentals, for example). Also, these books are not listed in any particular order.
Finally, a brief note about whitepapers. Depending on your style of trading you may care or not about the driving factors of a price move. Whether you are investing on the technology behind a particular cryptocurrency or you are just trading the market trends, we think it’s important to have at least an idea of the product you are investing in. Whitepapers, even though they are not technically books, can be extremely helpful for this kind of research. Don’t know which ones to start from? How about Bitcoin‘s and Ethereum‘s?
Now to our books recommendations!
Blockchain and cryptocurrency
A list of books about cryptocurrency trading wouldn’t be such without a section on the technology itself. Despite our love for books, we have to admit that most up-to-date information about blockchain is largely available online.
Our suggestion is to pick one of two books to get up and running with all the main concepts, and then look for more online when you need to.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
Starting from the birth of cryptocurrencies, this books takes you through the story of how they became so popular and where they might head to in the future. Don’t expect this to be a book about the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market: even though it might not be clear from the title, the main focus is blockchain technology and how it can be used for countless applications.
This is a great starting point if you are eager to learn more about the possible use cases for companies and society as a whole. With the right balance between technical details and possible future scenarios, we would recommend this book to anyone.
The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains
Another interesting and enjoyable reading that gives a comprehensive overview of the blockchain technology without resulting excessively technical, suitable for everyone.
After going through the basics of the markets and the ones of blockchain and cryptocurrency, Antony Lewis also touches on various aspects of encryption from a high level and talks about Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
Bubble or Revolution
Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Future of Bitcoin, Blockchains, and Cryptocurrencies goes into the right amount of detail needed to actually understand how blockchain works and have a solid understanding of the technology, all without resulting impenetrable to the less tech savvy.
A lot of use cases are presented, along with the pros and cons associated to the different applications (it also discusses how some big companies and large countries already found great value in the adoption of blockchain).
We particularly appreciated the amount of research and real-world data presented to support the claims made by the authors.
With less than 300 pages, this is possibly one of the best down-to-earth introductions to blockchain. Every chapter introduces a small addition and builds on top of the previous ones, so that by the end of the book you will have a solid understanding of what is behind cryptocurrency.
Swing traders, momentum traders, day traders, scalpers all have one thing in common: they make their decisions based on chart movements. The price movement and volume profile are arguably your best friend in cryptocurrency trading, since they reflect exactly what is happening on the market. An experienced trader will be able to spot price manipulations just by looking at a few candles.
Unless your investment strategy is buy-and-hold (meaning that you don’t plan on touching your assets for a long time, potentially years), technical analysis is one of the main things you should focus on if you are just starting out.
Technical Analysis Using Multiple Timeframes
While most books teach you how to recognize chart patterns, this one goes one step further and teaches you how to understand and interpret them. Brian Shannon does a great job of explaining the psychology behind technical analysis, and any beginner cryptocurrency trader will likely benefit a lot from this book (experienced traders, on the other hand, might find many of the concepts quite repetitive).
We would recommend being at least somewhat familiar with how candles work before reading this book, since its main focus are patterns. Beside the patterns and technical indicators, however, aspects such as entry and exit strategies are also covered.
A Complete Guide To Volume Price Analysis
While we have to admit that this book by Anna Coulling is somehow overly repetitive, we think it is actually one of the few books who give volume the respect it deserves. No matter if you are an experienced trader or if you are just starting out, read this book and you will find some useful insights for sure.
Not only does it go into extreme detail regarding what happens with each candle or candles pattern, but it also covers the psychology behind them as seen from the “specialists” (the money makers).
Another aspect that we don’t see covered in many books is the importance of looking at other time frames, even if it’s just to get a rough idea of what is going on. This, in our experience, can be a real game changer when it comes to a market as volatile as the one of cryptocurrencies. Overall, this is a solid reading that we would recommend to anyone, especially because it avoids over-complicating things.
Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets
Somewhat more academically oriented, this dense book by John Murphy contains in-depth (but not overly complicated) explanations and goes into great detail especially when it comes to indicators. Close to 600 pages, this is an overview of pretty much every aspect of technical analysis you can think of.
Although it may be tempting to try and implement every indicator and technical tool into your trading as you go, we recommend against doing so and, instead, highly suggest you use this book to gain an idea of what tools are available out there. Start simple, and only add complexity when (and if) you need to.
This is not an easy read, and it will take time to go through the material, but pay close attention and you will appreciate the amount of knowledge this book has to offer.
The Art and Science of Technical Analysis
Adam Grimes is meticulous when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of a strategy, and you can definitely tell from his book. It is rare for a book to explain in detail how to correctly validate a strategy and identifying whether or not it will actually give you an edge on the market. This reading does exactly that, and guides you through the steps needed to be consistently profitable.
Whether you are trying to objectively validate your ideas or to test someone else’s strategies before blindly following some advice, we are sure you will find this resource incredibly useful in the long run.
Charting and Technical Analysis
While you will likely want to integrate this book with with some other reading as soon as you are done with, we think it is great for a complete beginner. Mc Allen starts from the very basics of candlesticks and slowly builds on top of that by adding additional complexity.
By the end of the book, you will know the basics of technical analysis, some basics patterns, and also a little bit of volume analysis. What we liked the most about this book are the long explanations when it comes to the psychology behind each candle or pattern. They might seem repetitive, but we agree that a beginner should master these aspects and always try to infer what other traders are thinking while looking at charts.
Psychology is probably the most important aspect in trading. In fact, some people go as far as to say that psychology is 90% of the game. While it is true that you need to be technically prepared, no good strategy will be consistently profitable if you are not able to control your emotions. Also, losing is part of the game: the sooner you accept this fact, the sooner you will be more focused on your trading strategies.
The following books do a great job of teaching you how to send that buy order when it’s time to, how to avoid selling too soon, how to cut your losses, and much more.
The Disciplined Trader
Before writing Trading in the Zone, Mark Douglas wrote this awesome book that has quickly become one of the classics on trading psychology. Hundred of books focus on the technical aspects of trading, and only a tiny fraction of them has the potential to truly make a tangible difference. This is one of those books, and you may want to read it more than once.
Starting from the description of the psychological aspects of trading, Douglas slowly shows how, since we can’t control the market, the only way we can really make a difference is through working on ourselves.
A substantial part of the book is dedicated to how you can adapt to market environment and take the steps needed to become more disciplined.
Trading in the Zone
Trading in the Zone needs no introduction. Take a look at what people have to say, and you will see why. If you like focusing on the psychological aspects and want to take your cryptocurrency trading to the next level, this book is a must-read. Couple it with a solid technical knowledge and you will have everything it takes to become a successful trader!
Don’t forget to read The Disciplined Trader, too. Although there will be some overlap between the two books, they were written eleven years apart and really complement each other. Plus, some concepts are worth repeating a thousand times.
Trading Psychology 2.0
With nearly 450 pages, Brett Steenbarger’s book certainly covers a lot of good practices that are essential to become a better cryptocurrency trader. Maybe more geared to the professional investor, we still find this book useful to reach the appropriate state of mind needed when trading.
If you get a chance, we also liked Brett’s other book, The Daily Trading Coach, as well as his blog posts.
Often referred to as algo trading, algorithmic trading has been gaining more and more momentum in the past ten years. Born as a tool available to a handful of companies, algorithmic trading is now a possibility for almost everyone.
While being familiar with at least one programming language definitely helps, many platform are simplifying the algorithms implementation to just a few elementary instructions.
The best part? Once you remove the human (emotional) component, you are left with pure algorithms that will only execute when specific conditions are met. Finding an edge in this field is not easy, but it is certainly worth it.
Advances in Financial Machine Learning
If you are looking for machine learning strategies instead of more “mechanical” quantitative strategies, this might be the book for you. Plus, it was written only a few years ago and contains strategies based on recent developments.
This is not an easy read, and we are aware the target audience has some background in machine learning (or math) and coding. Nonetheless, it offers a great overview of how the latest advances in machine learning can be useful in trading any type of asset, including cryptocurrencies. Also, it talks about how to validate techniques and backtest models.
Algorithmic Trading Methods
This is an extremely recent book that not only discusses machine learning and statistics techniques for trading, but also focuses on portfolio optimization, risk management, and how to adapt to a market that is constantly changing.
While there inevitably has to be some (at times complex) math involved in a book on this subject, we think Robert Kissell does a great job of providing qualitative considerations as well.
We would argue this book is particularly useful for large players and portfolio managers, but retail investors have a lot to learn from it nonetheless.
Ernie Chan’s books
We couldn’t just pick one of Ernest’s books, because they all do a great job of introducing even the beginner reader to the field. These three books were published roughly five years apart from each other, introducing more complexity over time.
With that said, don’t expect any of these books (this holds for the rest of the list as well) to be a money-making recipe. What you should aim for is having a proper understanding of the markets and mastering the tools available to you as a cryptocurrency trader. Only this will ensure you can get a real edge on the market.
Unfortunately, the coding examples are written in Matlab which is pricey, but some free alternatives such as Octave exist if you want to replicate the code. Our suggestion, however, is to learn Python if you are not already familiar with it, and stick to that for your cryptocurrency trading projects. This way, it will also be much easier to integrate your code with useful snippets you may find online.
Machine Learning and Data Science Blueprints for Finance
If you like a hands-on approach, look no further. This book’s main goal is not to show you how to do algo trading, but to teach you how machine learning strategies can be used to make decisions when dealing with financial markets. So forget about the strategies typical of a discretionary trader.
The amount of background theory given is just right to be able to start coding right away, and it was written only a few months ago so forget having to deal with outdated code.
In out opinion, this book is a great starting point if you already have some experience in quantitative trading and want to start implementing other strategies to obtain a more robust trading environment.
Python for Finance
This is another hands-on book that teaches you how to implement a complete algorithmic trading system end to end, starting from simple strategies (e.g. moving average crossover) and slowly moving to more advanced techniques.
We would suggest to gain at least a little bit of familiarity with Python before diving into this book.
If we had to point out a downside, it would be the fact that some examples rely on data pulled from an expensive API, which you likely won’t have access to as a retail trader. Nonetheless,you can follow along using free historical data (that won’t be as accurate) and still learn a ton from this book.
The following books cover several concepts that didn’t fit naturally in the categories discussed above. In this section, however, there are gems that you should definitely read sooner or later during your trading journey.
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
A book suggestion from 1923 is not all that common, especially with the amount of books on the subject that are being released every month. This non-technical reading narrates the thoughts and practices of one of the best investors (actually, traders) ever: Jesse Livermore.
If you have ever listened to the Chat With Traders podcast (if you haven’t, make sure you do!), you’ll be familiar with how many trading legends think this is one of the best books a trader could read. And for good reason.
Don’t be fooled its age, this book is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. Whether you are a seasoned trader or just getting started, you should read this book.
What is better than being given solid trading advice from someone who has been trading for a lifetime? Being given advice from multiple people who have been doing the same!
Market Wizards is a collection of several interviews with some of the best traders that have existed. Sometimes the most effective thing to do is to just sit back and listen to what experienced people have to say, before trying to put everything in practice. This can save you a ton of time, and possibly money, in the long run.
As opposed to some “trading gurus” of our times that sell trading books without knowing anything on how to trade, you can be certain that these people know what they are talking about because they have experienced everything firsthand.
Also, Jack Schwager published a number of other books in which he interviews “market wizards”, make sure you check them out and see if there’s anything else you might like.
How to Day Trade for a Living
Day trading is not for everyone, especially considering that most traders still have a normal job to take care of. Plus, depending on where you live in the world, it might be difficult to daily trade certain markets in your timezone. If you are into day trading though, don’t think twice about getting this book.
What we really like is the fact that this book is self-contained, in the sense that it explains everything you need to know to start experimenting with your own day trading strategies. From the trading setup you need to have, to how to choose a scanner and a broker, Aziz has got you covered with this book. He also explains some simple but often effective strategies that you can start implementing right away.
Also, this represents a good resource if you are trying to implement your own algorithmic trading strategies, since it discusses how you can manage risk and size your positions correctly.
How To Swing Trade
Brian Pezim is part of the same trading group Andrew Aziz (see book above) is in, the Bear Bull Traders. You will find a lot of similarities between the two books, and the authors substantially handle risk management, stop losses, and position sizing in the same way.
How To Swing Trade, however, has some sections specifically geared towards people who want to experiment with this style of trading, which is great if you have other daily tasks that don’t allow you to spend the day in front of a computer screen.
Similarly to Day Trading for a Living, this book will introduce everything you need to know to get started, and will also show you how to constantly scan the market for new entries.
The New Trading for a Living
You could make a point that this book belongs to all the categories above, and you’d be right. This book was written with the intent of equipping the reader with all the tools necessary to deal with any aspect of trading: from psychology to risk management, from trading strategies to how to be disciplined, this book condenses everything in 300 pages.
Option Volatility and Pricing
Along with Option Volatility and Pricing Workbook, this is the go-to book if you want to learn about options trading. Definitely not a shortcut to this style of trading, this book goes is considered the bible of options trading by many. And rightly so. Sheldon Natenberg covers all the fundamental aspects related to options trading and how to appropriately manage risk.
Trading options is not nearly as common for cryptocurrencies as it is for equities. Nonetheless, we figured some of our readers may wish to explore this field. Be warned though, options trading (if done correctly and with appropriate risk management) is not straightforward. As a beginner, you should avoid trading options until you are familiar with the market and until you are confident with how options work.