My Books

I’ve published four books, three for the options beginner, and each contains more material that the earlier books. Thus, I strongly recommend The Rookie’s Guide to Options, 2nd edition (2013). In my (biased) opinion, the first edition was destined to become a classic primer. Read those reviews at amazon.com. They are genuine.

Although written for the beginner, there is enough advanced material to make this book useful for years to come.

2nd edition cover

2nd edition cover

When writing The Rookie’s Guide, I provided extra detail, just as I do in my blog posts. Why? To anticipate questions and perhaps answer them – before you ask.

I explain why calls and puts are interchangeable when you buy or sell stock with the options, and that some positions are equivalent to others. This type of information is not available in most books targeted to rookies.

One chapter contains a thorough discussion, with proof, of why these different-looking positions are truly equivalent and deliver essentially equal profits or losses. [The returns are only 'essentially equivalent' and not identical because bid/ask spreads and minor inefficiencies make it next to impossible to trade the different positions at the exact price that makes the trades equivalent.]

Understanding this single chapter places you years ahead of most novice option traders.

There’s much more to say, but the reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.

The paperback version sells for $27 retail, and amazon is offering a discount.

I offer a FREE sampler version that contains a very short excerpt from each chapter of the first edition. This book has been downloaded more than 12,000 times and offers a good idea of the contents of the full book.

The .pdf (e-book) version OF THE FIRST EDITION is available for $10. Click here.

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I published my first book in 2002 and it is available as a Kindle eBook ($3.99)

or paperback: The Short Book on Options: A Conservative Strategy for the Buy and Hold Investor

The Short Book on Options explains the basic concepts of how options work along with a good description of how to write covered calls. If you are lookingFrontcover for an inexpensive way to get started, this book is still useful. If you plan to achieve more than just ‘getting started,’ then the Rookie’s Guide is for you.


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Between these two books came Create Your Own Hedge CreateCover Fund (2005). By examining the strategies of covered call writing and selling cash-secured puts when using a mix of ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), I show the individual investor how he/she can own a hedged and diversified portfolio. And that’s exactly how some of the less sophisticated hedge funds operate. You truly can create and mange your own mini-hedge fund.

More recently (2010), I completed an e-book, available in Kindle format ($12). Titled: Lessons of a Lifetime, it’s my 20,000 word attempt to offer some of the most valuable lessons learned over the course of my 33 years as an options trader. It’s available as a Kindle version ($10)

Lessons_Cover_final

 

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Two e-books are available free. One is a sampler version of The Rookie’s Guide to Options and the other is An Introduction to Options: The Basics. To receive either (or both) follow the link. It takes you to a shopping cart, but don’t let that be a concern. The cost is zero.

I’ve begun publishing a new series of eBooks, each devoted to a single option strategy. The first is about naked put writing.

19 Responses to My Books

  1. Tom Patane 02/11/2011 at 5:25 AM #

    Are any of your books available in audio or video format?
    With so much to learn – what is really needed is personal consulting.
    Wont you direct me to such a resource?

    • Mark D Wolfinger 02/11/2011 at 7:59 AM #

      Tom,

      The Short Book on Options is available as an e-book ($3.50). It’s a beginner’s book and covers the basics of how options work – in detail. It covers only one trading strategy because it is a rookie’s book. That’s my only e-book as far as options education is concerned. Making books available an e-books is strictly the publisher’s decision.

      If you seek training or coaching, that’s very different from needing education or lessons or discussions on aspects of trading. I can help if you are looking for a ‘teacher.’ If you truly need a coach (someone who sees what you do, finds and corrects errors in technique, timing, entry/exit decisions – I don’t do that). Send e-mail to me at blog (at) mdwoptions (dot) com for additional information.

      I wish you well

      • Vinod 02/28/2013 at 3:52 AM #

        Hi Mark!

        is The Rookie’s Guide to Options good for beginners like me who haven’t taken a single trade & are not from US or Europe?

        Also don’t you accept credit cards, I don’t have a paypal account.

        Thank you

        • Mark D Wolfinger 02/28/2013 at 8:20 AM #

          Vinod,

          Hello,

          The book is designed for people who know nothing about options.
          It takes you through the most elementary ideas of what an option is and how it works.
          It describes 6 different strategies in detail. The ideas is for you to find one that you understand and like to use.

          The book discourages people from BUYING options.
          The book is not for gamblers, but for people who want to trade with less risk.

          Via e-mail, I’ll talk about the credit card.

          • Vinod 03/01/2013 at 12:38 AM #

            Thanks for the reply Mr.Wolfinger, one last query, I’m interested in trading currency options, is your book & strategy useful in other option markets like currency & commodities?

            The book is 100% about equity (stock and index) options.

            The principles are the same for commodity and currency options.
            The same strategies can be used.

            However, I have zero experience with currency trading, and I do not know if there are subtle, but important differences in currency options.

            Bottom line: The Rookies Guide is an excellent education for option traders. However, if I were in your situation I would want to find (if it exists) a book that is about currency options. Then you could see if that book is good enough, or whether you also need a more general book on options.

  2. Pete Caleca 02/12/2011 at 6:20 AM #

    I am finishing Michael Sincere’s 2 books and he recommended that I contact the options guru for further instruction. I asked if he knew of any educational books on how to do technical and fundamental analysis for beginners. He mentioned another book of his and your blog so I thought I would see what direction you would recommend.

    • Mark D Wolfinger 02/12/2011 at 8:34 AM #

      Hello Pete,

      I come to trading/investing from a different direction, and use options for shorter term trading ( a few weeks to a few months). For that reason I do not care about fundamental analysis. I would never wand to discourage anyone from doing that, but it is truly for longer term investors. The fundamentals seldom affect the price of any stock quickly. It takes time for the fundamentals of a good company to become recognized by the market place. In other words, stock prices do not change overnight.

      I’ve never learned anything about technical analysis. Some believe that no one can trade without it – and for anyone who generates profits by using technical clues, i say great for them. I know these people exist an find TA to be powerful. I’ve never learned, never trusted the results, and so I don’t use that either.

      There are many books on this subject, but I have not read the and cannot make recommendations. I recommend that you read some blogs written by people who do such analysis and I’m sure you will find a few that resonate well with you – and some that will not.

      Here, I’m busy enough responding to options and options ideas and strategies. If you are skilled in either FA or TA, certainly add those skills to option-trading skills to time your entries and exits. I encourage that. However, I can offer no guidance on how to do that.

      If you have options questions or want to learn to understand how options work (allowing you to determine whether options trading is for you), then I do recommend a book that I wrote: The Rookie’s Guide to Options. If you would rather save a few dollars, you can see what your local library has in stock or check out your broker and learn what educational material they offer.

      I wish you well. Trading options is exciting and takes a bit of effort to get going. However, the purpose of this blog is to help you get started on the right foot, so feel free to ask questions as your education progresses.

      Regards,

  3. Peter Girr 02/25/2011 at 5:46 PM #

    I want to purchase “Lessons of a Lifetime” pdf version. I only see kindle version at Amazon. How can I buy a pdf version or paper version? I have been reading your blog for a long time and I appreciate your words of wisdom.

  4. Paolo Filippi 03/02/2011 at 3:07 AM #

    Thanks for your blog.
    Can you make your personal rank for the following books?

    i)Option Volatility & Pricing – Natenberg
    ii)Options: The Hidden Reality – Cottle
    iii)Options Volatility Trading – Warner
    iv)Trading Options in Turbulent Market
    v)Trading Options Greeks – Passarelli
    vi)Trading Options as Professional – Bittman

    In this list where you insert your “Lessons of a Lifetime” ?

    Thanks for your work and your blog

    Paolo

    • Mark D Wolfinger 03/02/2011 at 7:28 AM #

      Paolo,

      Lessons of a Lifetime ranks last. It is not a trading book. It contains some personal recollections, but is primarily a discussion of things I’ve learned and some philosophy of trading.

      1) Natenberg tops the list. But it is NOT a beginner’s book.

      2) I have not read most of the books on the list

      3) Cottle is well accepted in the industry, but I find he writes about only one topic and approaches it from different points of view: He loves equivalent positions and I find his books limiting in scope

      4) Warner, Bittman, Passarelli each wrote a good book, but as the titles tell you, they look at different areas. Thus, rating and ranking them is near impossible. If volatility is of no interest to you, then Warner’s book will not satisfy. If you want to learn more about trading volatility then it will.

      Bittman’s books are well done. If you want to know more than the typical student learns, he delves further into idea that suit the full-time trader. I don’t know Dan P’s book, but the title tells me it’s worth reading.

      5) Shover’s (turbulent markets) is not for the beginner and is too limiting. I’d put that book is position vi.

      Sorry I cannot do a better review of these books

  5. Paolo Filippi 03/03/2011 at 8:16 AM #

    Hi Mark.
    Thanks for your reply.
    I’ m studing in depth the so called deltaneutral “Monthly Income Strategies”, in particular
    the setup of the Portfolio (IronCondor vs Double Calendar vs Ratio Diagonal Spread) and the Adjustment
    around the BreakEven points using the balancing of the Greeks (through the same figures).
    Can you suggest some books/links/materials on the subject?

    Thanks again

    Paolo

    • Mark D Wolfinger 03/03/2011 at 8:34 AM #

      Paolo: Next time, please comment on a page that others will see. A recent blog post, for example.

      There have been some recent books on the iron condor, for example. I am not familiar with them. I suggest starting with your local library. They may be willing to buy a book that you suggest. Otherwise, the best I can do is to suggest a Google search. Then you can search for reviews of any books that you discover.

      Sorry. I just don’t have the time to keep up with books in my field. Although it would probably be a good idea.

      Readers: any suggestions?

      Regards

  6. Stewart 04/01/2011 at 10:41 AM #

    I would like to purchase Lesson of a Lifetime and just send in a check for the amount. I don’t want to put my credit card info. into the web site. Where can I send the ck. to. Thanks, J. Stewart festusguy@cox.net

    • Mark D Wolfinger 04/01/2011 at 8:09 PM #

      Thanks. Information sent via e-mail.

  7. Lindsey 09/17/2012 at 6:17 AM #

    How can I obtain a copy of your book “Rookie’s Guide to Options” at the listed $34.95? The Amazon price is usually over $300 (been tracking for a month now) and the publisher is not selling them.

    • Mark D Wolfinger 09/17/2012 at 8:02 AM #

      Lindsey,

      To get the Rookie’s Guide to Options as an e-book (.pdf), send an e-mail to me at rookies (at) mdwoptions (dot) com.

      The paperback edition is unavailable because the publisher is in receivership (bankruptcy). When someone buys the business, the books should become available once again.

      Thanks

  8. Vinod 03/06/2013 at 2:18 AM #

    Hello Mr. Wolfinger,

    what is the difference between forecast volatility & implied volatility? is it that the term implied volatility is associated only with “Options” but the meaning is same as forecast volatility (type of volatility associated with stocks)?

    Thank you.

    In the options world, the two terms different.

    In the stock-trading world, I do not believe that either term is used. They sue the term beta to describe the relative volatility of a stock. i.e., they compare the PAST (not forecast, not future) volatility of one stock with that of a group of stocks (often S&P 500 Index).

    In the options world, forecast volatility is the consensus prediction for just how volatile the stock will be from RIGHT NOW until some time in the future. Normally that future date is a specific date on which options expire. The forecast volatility is for the underlying STOCK.

    Implied volatility is a term used for options, and NOT the underlying stock. The price of each option depends on many factors: stock price, dividend, time to expiration, strike price etc. Volatility is one of those factors. we take the factors – all of which are known (except that future volatility cannot be known, it can only be estimated) – and plug them into an options pricing model (Black-Scholes, for example). The price of the option is calculated.

    In the real world, the calculated price seldom equals the real market price. The implied volatility is simply this: If we use the implied volatility in the options-pricing model, then the market place of the option is the same as the calculated price. In other words, IV is the volatility estimate that makes the price of the option equal the real price, and not just a theoretical price. The period of time for which this estimate covers is: right now thru options expiration.

    To phrase it differently, the IV is the volatility that is ‘implied’ by the option price. The real market tells us that the volatility estimate for the stock ‘should be’ that IV in order for the forecast volatility of the stock to be accurate.

    • Vinod 03/06/2013 at 10:34 AM #

      Thanks for the explanation.

      on pg.218 of your book Rookies Guide to Options you’ve written “Options trade above fair value when the implied volatility of the options is higher than the forecast volatility for the stock” is there an easier way to calculate the forecast volatility? the GARCH & other methods I checked are too complicated, I’m completely new to all this, can I be helped? No websites provide this volatility for stocks trading in exchanges in my country.

      I have to clarify the quote from the book: When I meant to say is this:

      ‘Options trade above fair value when the implied volatility of the options TURNS OUT TO BE HIGHER than the forecast volatility for the stock.”

      In other words, the forecast volatility was too high and the stock was not as volatile as predicted. In turn that means that the implied volatility (which is based on the forecast volatility – market makers value the options based on supply and demand, but also on their expectations for how volatile the stock will be from now through expiration) was too high. In turn, that means that AFTER THE FACT, we can look back and state that the option prices were too high. However, we can never know that information soon enough to use it.

      My view is this: Because index options have been slightly over-priced for many years, the trader has a better chance of success by selling, rather than buying options. However, do not use that as a blanket statement. Selling options entails risk that some traders will not accept. That is the reason for (almost) never selling naked options. We always have to own options for protection and to limit losses.

      There is NO WAY to calculate forecast volatility.

      It is a prediction for the future.

      What most traders do is look at recent (few months) historical volatility for the stock, and unless there is some good reason for believing there was an aberration, they use that recent volatility as a reasonable guess for future volatility. Obviously when news is expected (earnings announcement), it is expected that the stock will be more volatile, and that makes sense. Predicting is a difficult game, best left to the experts.

      What I want readers to know is that it is not easy to know whether options are priced fairly or not. The best strategy is to assume they are reasonably priced most of the time (but not always). One reason for trading spreads is that the play is far less dependent on implied volatility being correct than when buying or selling a single option. The spread trade makes it less important to be concerned whether the options Are too expensive or relatively inexpensive. It still matters, but when we cannot make a good prediction about future volatility, it is better to trade a spread and be less exposed to being ‘wrong’ when we buy or sell options.

Please share your thoughts.