Diary of a Professional Commodity Trader: Lessons from 21 Weeks of Real Trading


"We've all read about the high rollers who go boom and bust, but this book is different. With straightforward prose, practical knowledge and honest counsel, Peter Brandt methodically explains what no one has before: how a dedicated individual can trade for a living. If that is your destination, this is your ticket."—Robert Prechter, Elliott Wave International

"This book is insanely great. The refreshing clarity this book brings to the table is brilliant. I think this is an amazing, excellent book, one that could help a whole new generation of traders."—Jack Sparrow,

"This is the most honest trading book of the last decade. Peter tracks recent trials and tribulations on his path to success dating back to the 1980s. He shares numerous insights into the emotional and technical challenges of trading, right down to his track record over the years. His ultimate success reflects the importance of staying true to a process while still allowing flexibility to modify rules as market conditions change. Anyone desiring longevity in the business really needs to read this book."—Linda Raschke, trader, President of LBRGroup, Inc., and coauthor of the bestselling book, Street Smarts: High Probability Short Term Trading Strategies

"Almost every book about trading for a living is either fraudulent or boring (or both). This book is neither. Not only is it a good read for anyone seriously wanting to know what trading is really like, it is also very interesting, mostly due to its real-time, diary format. As someone who has done myself what he describes, I highly recommend it."—Robert Zellner, independent trader, former director of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and former CEO,Citicorp Futures Corp.

"Trading is not what most people think it is, as you will find out in this real-life experience from Peter Brandt, a well-seasoned trader. You will learn what he looks for in trades, what tells him to hop aboard and how to get out. Well worth reading!"—Larry Williams, author and trader,

"Anyone interested in trading—and not just commodity trading—is going to cherish this book. Brandt's detailed diary is like a great novel, revealing the inner life and character of a trader, revealing the kinds of inner understanding we all need if we hope to navigate an ultimately unknowable future.?Traders would do well to try to become, as individuals, more like Peter Brandt."—Lowell Miller, President and CIO, Miller/Howard Investments, Inc., author of The Single Best Investment

"Insights, observations, and practical information gleaned from over two decades of consistently successful trading performance.? A must-read for anyone wishing to enter the world of risk."—Daniel Chesler, CMT, President, Chesler Analytics LLC

"This book is a must-read for anyone who contemplates being an effective trader.? His exquisite use of charting techniques is spot on."—Eero Pikat, President, Inc.

"A great book for advanced and beginning traders! The professional trading insights that Peter shares can help traders speed up the progress of their own trading by light years." —Glen Larson, President,

PETER L. BRANDT has been a full time professional commodity and foreign exchange trader for over thirty years. He has worked as a broker to large industrial clients, traded for his own account, and was one of the early pioneers in the commodity hedge fund arena. Along the way, Brandt published a highly regarded newsletter called The Factor, and also collaborated with Bruce Babcock Jr. to publish the highly acclaimed book, Trading Commodity Futures with Classical Chart Patterns. Primarily devoted to trading proprietary capital in commodity and forex markets, Brandt has achieved a lofty average annual rate of return of 68 percent during his career. The author can be reached at


Part I: Foundations of Successful Trading.


The Invention of a Commodity Trader.

Why I Wrote This Book.

This Book's Audience.

The Book's Roadmap.

Chapter 1: The History and Theory of Classical Charting Principles.

My Perspective of the Principles.

Three Limitations of the Principles.


Part II: Characteristics of a Successful Trading Plan.

Chapter 2: Building a Trading Plan.

Trader Personality and Temperament.

Adequate Capital.

Overall Risk Management.

Points to Remember.

Chapter 3: Identifying the Trades and the Talk.

Trade Identification.

Vocabulary of the Factor Trading Plan.

Points to Remember.

Chapter 4: Ideal Chart Patterns.

Reversal H&S Pattern in Copper.

Reversal Rising Wedge in AUD/USD.

Continuation Wedge and Reversal Failure Top in Soybean Oil.

Reversal Triangle Bottom in Sugar.

Continuation and Pyramid Patterns in USD/CAD.

Reversal Top in Silver.

Continuation H&S Pattern in the Russell 1000 Index.

Continuation Rectangle in Kansas City Wheat.

Continuation Rectangle and Pyramid Triangle in Crude Oil.

Continuation H&S Top in the Dow Utilities.

Continuation Triangle and Reversal M Top and Flag in the EUR/USD.

H&S Reversal Top, a Continuation Pattern, and Two Pyramid Patterns in the GBP/JPY.

A Reversal Symmetrical Triangle in the AUD/JPY.

Two Continuation Patterns in GBP/CHF.

A Triangle and Running Wedge in Sugar.

An H&S Bottom in Apple Computer.

A Major Continuation H&S and Symmetrical Triangle in Gold.

A Series of Bullish Patterns in Copper.

A Failed Ascending Triangle in the USD/CAD Crossrate.

A 12-Week Rectangle in the Dow Jones Transport Index.

A Rare Horn in Brent Sea Oil.

An H&S Bottom Launches the 2009 Bull Market in the S&Ps.


Points to Remember.

Chapter 5: How the Factor Trading Plan Works.

Trade Identification.

Trade Entry.

Trade Risk Management.

Trade Order Management.

Points to Remember.

Chapter 6: Three Case Studies Using the Factor Trading Plan.

A Remarkable Technical Event in the Dow Jones.

A Year Trading Gold.

A Year Trading Sugar.

Points to Remember.

Chapter 7: Characteristics of a Successful Trader.

Intimate Knowledge of Trading Signals.

Discipline and Patience.

Analysis of Self and of the Trading Plan.

It Takes a Leap of Faith.

Points to Remember.

Part III: A Five-month Trading Diary: Let the Journey Begin.

Chapter 8: Month One.

December 2009.

Trading Record.


Chapter 9: Month Two.

January 2010.

Identifying Trading Opportunities.

Amending the Plan.

Trading Record.


Chapter 10: Month Three.

February 2010.

Sticking to the Plan in Choppy Markets.

Trading Record.


Chapter 11: Month Four.

March 2010.

Trading Record.


Chapter 12: Month Five.

April 2010.

Relying on Classical Charting Principles.

Trading Record.

Outlook for the Future.


Part IV: The Wrap-Up.

Chapter 13: Analysis of Trading Performance.

How the Trading Plan Performed.

How the Plan (and the Trader) Evolved.

Summary: Best Practices Going Forward.

Chapter 14: The Best Dressed List.

A 7-Month Double Bottom in AUD/USD.

A 14-Month Coil and 9-Month Descending Triangle in EUR/CHF.

A 6-Month Wedge in EUR/USD.

A 16-Week Horn in GBP/USD.

A 4-Month Head and Shoulders in Bottom NZD/USD.

A 6-Month Ascending Triangle in Failure USD/CAD.

An 8-month Head and Shoulders Bottom in the S&Ps.

A 14-Month Symmetrical Triangle in Sugar.

A 7-month Triangle in Gold.

A Series of Continuation Patterns in Copper.

A Head and Shoulders Bottom in Crude Oil.



Appendix A: Factor Trading Plan Signals.

Appendix B: Quick Reference to Charts.

Appendix C: Recommended Resources.

Author's Note.