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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: How I Trade for a Living (Wiley Online Trading for a Living)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Gary Smith
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Masterful Trading Gem

I was intrigued by this book's title. I am not a day trader, and have no plans to become one; however, I still gained some insights into Gary Smith's success by reading this volume:
1) Self-knowledge. Mr. Smith did not enter day trading for the glamour. He treats it strictly like a business. He comes across as a person with a solid inner core, perhaps gained by many years of contemplation during his early, lean years. His reading list appears to have something to do with this; he remarks [p. 231] "Looking at my massive collection of trading books, my friend commented about all the money and time I had wasted accumulating this stash of books since, obviously, they had done me no good. Fast forward 21 years, and my friend is still searching for his opportunity to get rich, while my trading account is closing in on $700,000...I believe reading as much as you can about trading and the stock market is part of the process of becoming a successful trader yourself."
2) Persistence. Mr. Smith endured many years of treading water before he began to consistently make money - the first 19 years of his 36-year career so far. This of course was initially fueled by passion, following his reading of Nicolas Darvas's "How I Made Two Million Dollars in the Stock Market" at age 14. Smith's initial passion had many years of follow up, such as [p. 197] "[During the 1960s], while most of my fellow students spent their free time partying or debating and protesting the Vietnam War...I could be found at the local stock brokerage office. There, sitting next to veteran traders in their seventies and eighties, I watched excitedly as the stock quotations rolled across the large ticker tape..."Smith even persisted during heartbreaking periods in the 70s when his first marriage apparently broke up (details obscure) and he spent time "working at menial and low-paying jobs, such as being a security guard".
3) Prudence. Despite many years of not being a whopping success, Smith was careful enough not to wipe out totally for a number of years, unlike Matthew Katzman of "A Sucker's Diary". Risk control takes many forms so I advise you to read the book to understand the full spectrum of what he was doing. However, I think the most important underlying risk control he undertook was not overspending in his personal life. Even in his later, flush years he describes himself as "frugal", having "perfected the art of living below my means." Leaving the West coast and moving to "cave-and-cow country of south central Kentucky" probably helped this.
4) Learning A Trade. After initial false starts Smith hit upon a second career as an insurance investigator. Up until quite recently his living expenses were completely paid by his investigative work, leaving his trading capital untouched.
5) Rigor. Smith's methods are too complex to describe here in any detail. After many years of losses, he forced himself to look at all of his prior trades and discover the reason for each loss, and formulate ways not to lose money the next time. Smith also read Rick Pitino's "Success is a Choice" and became very disciplined about how he spends his time, cutting out self-sabotaging behavior like "never roll[ing] out of bed for the early morning West Coast openings." He systematically developed trading methods that are so robust that they (surprise!) do not require the use of a computer or internet access. His methods also appear to be adaptable, judging by the nuanced language he uses for many of his "rules" and when to break them.
I have no idea how Gary Smith has been doing since he completed this book around August 1999 (I am curious), but I was so impressed by his overall attitude towards his profession that I wouldn't be shocked if he was doing just fine.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great material

I recommend this book as your first read but make sure you research some other sources to suppliment this one. I did great on the core exam but just scraped by on the Dos/Windows portion. I would suggest taking a class like I did and taking some practice exams online in addtion to reading this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Lessons Learned in Software Testing
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Cem Kaner, James Bach, Bret Pettichord
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Poor Comments in a Good Book

This book contains a lot of good information especially for those further removed from the testing process. I'll let other reviews speak to these issues.
Unfortunately, the authors have polluted their work with politically correct opinions lightly sprinkled throughout the book. The most egregious example is in lesson number 235 on test team diversity.
After correctly pointing out the need for technical diversity and rewarding people based on results, the authors do a 180. Just after stating the dangers of racism, sexism and ageism, they authors engage in racist and sexist discrimination by bashing white males. They state that "...groups...dominated by white males...are particularly counter-productive in testing." Since testers (are supposed to) analyze things, and I'm a tester, let's analyze this statement.
If you're hiring white males just because they are white males and not for their technical ability, then you should expect problems. Ditto for any other race, gender (I'm waiting for this to encompass sexual orientation any day now) or age. In other words, this statement adds no value so why single out and bash white males, except to gain politically correct brownie points. You need to hire on diversity of skill, knowledge and experience, not race, gender or age.
Secondly, the authors imply that all white males think alike. I'm not sure how and where the authors were raised, but from my experience very few white males think alike. So this is defective thinking.
At least 2 of the 3 authors run their own companies. I wonder what their diversity distribution looks like? My guess: They probably have no employees, which may be viewed as "Do as I say, not as I do."
And for the height of hypocrisy, they should look in the mirror. All three authors are - you guessed it - white males. So while gender and racial diversity is good for your testing group, it's not necessary for writing a book on testing groups. The authors do not practice what they preach, another defect.
Don't let these ideological slips prevent you from buying and reading this book. It contains a lot of good information that is sure to surprise those not intimately familiar with software testing.
Notes: For those interested in fighting gender discrimination, see mensactivism.orgIf you think that men (of any race) are given societal advantages, read "The Myth of Male Power" by Warren Farrell, Ph.D. You will quickly see that women are routinely given special privileges that men could only dream of having.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Teach Yourself VISUALLY Macromedia Flash MX 2004
Publisher: Visual
Authors: Sherry Willard Kinkoph, maranGraphics
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
excellent book for beginners

This book taught me Flash MX 2004 very efficiently and quickly. Unlike other books it does not give tedious explanations that tend to tire and confuse the reader. It shows you precisely where and what to do. The illustrations are beautiful and direct, which is absolutely helpful for Flash graphics. This is also a well structured book so you can easily find the topics you want when you need a quick reference. If you want to learn Flash quickly and enjoy it while learning, buy this book.