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Chronicles of a Million Dollar Trader: My Road, Valleys, and Peaks to Final Trading Victory


Praise for Chronicles of a Million Dollar Trader

"Focus, tenacity, self-analysis, and intensity. Don Miller conveys the essence of trading in such a compelling and down-to-earth manner—the reader literally eats, sleeps, and breathes Don's moments of triumph and exhaustion. Don clearly nails the most pertinent points in this business: add to your position when you have a strong hand, fight to dig yourself out of the inevitable abyss, and don't trade when you are tired. This book is what professional trading is TRULY about!"
—Linda Raschke, President, LBRGroup, Inc.

"My career as a broker with some of the largest futures brokerages in the world has put me in a unique position to evaluate traders. I've been able to observe many of the best futures traders in the industry over the past twenty years. And what I can state with certainty is that Don Miller is one of, if not the, best futures traders I've seen. Great traders are able to recognize and adapt to changing market environments. They take their mistakes and use them to become better traders. Great traders possess the unique discipline to manage a losing trade as well as a winning one. These are the qualities I have witnessed Don Miller master. The fact that Don has agreed to share his experiences and insights makes this book an invaluable doctrine to all traders and investors alike."
—Patrick Lafferty, President, Capital Trading Group

"I've had the good fortune of watching Don Miller trade profitably in front a live group of full-time traders over a two-day period of time. The methods Don teaches are solid, and more importantly, as you will see here in his book, they've been consistently successful. This book goes further than most trading books because you get to live with Don day by day, seeing both his actual trading along with his mind frame. If you want to learn from someone who has mastered day trading, and has successfully done so for years, then this book is must reading. Highly recommended!"
—Larry Connors, founder,; author of How Markets Really Work

"I have personally seen Don trade for several years, and he is candidly one of the best. His book is enlightening and helpful in understanding the mindset of a successful trader."
—Steve Demarest, President, MB Trading

"A true story of sacrifice, hardship, and success. Don Miller shares his story to make $1 million in one year in real time, real trading records, and real life."
—James L. Koutoulas, Esq., CEO, Typhon

Don Miller is an independent fund trader, educator, and industry advocate. Between 2004 and 2010, the total return of his privately traded fund exceeded 800 percent. In 2009, he created the popular "Jellie" trader training program through which he educates traders and raises money for various charities. He has spoken at numerous industry forums and has been widely published online and in print. Learn more at or

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

The “Race” 1

A Motivational Carrot 2

How This Book Is Organized 3

Out of Hiding 4

Intention and Use of the Trading Journal Entries 5

Journaling and Performance 7

Balancing Credibility and Humility 8

Bamboo Trees and Windows 9

A Book about Trading? 10

Part I Beginnings 13

Early Tunnels of Life 14

A Late Bloomer 15

Early Vocations 16

Don’t Quit Your Day Job 17

Out of the Abyss 17

Evolving Perspectives 19

A Sporting Chance 22

Part II Journaling the Million Dollar Race 25

The Cornerstone 25

Why Has It Worked? 27

Poker Impacts 28

Wouldn’t You Know It 30

The Intraday Journal Begins 32

Planning and Trading a Premarket Bias 34

Go with Your Strengths 36

Textbook Morning-After Prior-Day Trend 37

Market Bias 39

Morning Sequences 42

Fouling Off Pitches 44

Work Remains 45

August 2008 Journal Excerpts 50

The Story of Grace 50

FOMC Day 52

Post-FOMC 54

Blinds, Antes, and Patience 56

Fool Me Once . . . 58

Changing Rhythms 60

Tale of Two Markets 62

Trend Day 65

Any Green Is Good 67

Volatility Returns 70

Range, Range, Break 73

Hold the Phone 75

Silver or Gold? 77

Breathing Room 78

Digging to the Surface 82

September 2008 Journal Excerpts 84

In the Zone 84

Less-Than-Peak Performance 86

Dreadful Start 89

Solid Performance 92

AM Offense; PM Defense 95

All Good Things . . . 98

A Market Blessing 100

A Forgettable Week 102

Raising the Bar for the Final Lap 103

Closing the “Trade” 105

Now It Gets Harder 107

October 2008 Journal Excerpts 108

Monday Mess 109

Autopsy of a Mess 110

Back to Work 111

86 Percent Recovered 113

Dodging the Carnage 115

Day Off 117

I Left in the 7th Inning! 118

Suck It Up, Don 120

Hitting a Wall 121

Role Reversal 122

Eye of the Tiger 123

A Defensive Win 124

Dodging Landmines 126

A Step Slow 128

Welcome to My Final Table 129

Morning Strength 131

October Wrap 133

November 2008 Journal Excerpts 136

A New Game? 136

Fighting It 138

Starting a Cold Engine 139

Jack Be Nimble 140

The Power of Momentum 142

Managing with My “B” Game 144

No Style Points 146

Brutal Pace 148

A TICK Tutorial 149

Warning Signs 153

Finish-Line Adjustments 155

December 2008 Journal Excerpts 157

Steady as She Goes 157

That “One Thing” 158

Pointing the Finger 159

Order Restored 161

The Week That Was 164

Empty Tank 165

Two Strokes Remaining 167

It Is Time 168

Year of the $1.00 Goal 170

2008 Year-End Grades 171

A Night to Dance 173

Part III Beyond the Race: Best of the 2009

Journal Excerpts 179

Roller-Coaster Day 181

The Jazz Trader 182

Wastebasket Day 184

The Sun Came Up 185

Five Stinkin’ Minutes 186

Upon Further Review 187

Life After 40 188

Where It All Began 190

The Missing Inches 191

Why We Floss 192

How I’ll Spend My Summer Vacation 193

Part IV Birth of the Jellyfish 197

The Genesis 197

Selecting the Team 199

The Jellies Speak 200

No Country for Old Men 200

Teamwork and Simplicity 202

Keys to the Castle 203

Journal Excerpts 207

Poker, Trading, and Focus 207

Workplace Safety 209

Focusing on Life’s Comma 211

You’re Fired 212

The Flash Crash Autopsy 213

Money Never Sleeps 217

Part VI The MF Global Bankruptcy 221

Frozen on the MF Global Iceberg 222

A Different Kind of Trade 227

We Win 228

Part VII What Goes Up . . . 233

An Object in Motion Stays in Motion 234

Trailing Stops at the Macro Level 236

A Thousand Words 239

Part VIII Final Thoughts 245

Appendix Journal and Jellie Shorthand and Acronyms 247

About the Author 251

Bibliography 253

Index 255