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The Mental Strategies of Top Traders : The Psychological Determinants of Trading Success


Praise for The Mental Strategies of Top Traders

"Dr. Kiev's unparalleled access to top hedge fund managers gives the reader an inside look at how they think about making money. You'll read about the thought process behind the decision makers and learn from their good and bad experiences. The Mental Strategies of Top Traders presents readers with an invaluable toolbox filled with lessons."
—David Fiszel, SAC Capital Advisers LLC

"Working with Ari is a luxury and an important part of any investment process. The constructive dialogue in The Mental Strategies of Top Traders keeps our team focused on the investment edge, the management of risk, and ultimately how to consistently achieve the full potential of our investment goals."
—Jason Ader, Hayground Cove Associates, LP

"While each investor is unique in their approach, the framework, anecdotes, and analysis set forth by Dr. Kiev will assist both professional and individual investors to improve upon their strategies to generate higher risk-adjusted returns."
—Larry Robbins, CEO, Glenview Capital Management

"This book tackles the most complex and important human factor in the performance and potential of a portfolio manager. Ari does a terrific job of crystallizing the most important lessons you can learn in this."
—Wayne Holman, MD, Ridgeback Capital Management

"Mental strategies are the most important, yet least discussed, aspect of investing. Having worked with dozens of portfolio managers, I know from experience that the concepts presented in The Mental Strategies of Top Traders will have a greater impact on your investment performance than any 'how-to' book on stock picking or portfolio management."
—Matthew S. Grossman, founder, Plural Investments, LLC

"Through patient observation and in-depth discussion with traders at the top of their profession, Dr. Kiev has presented a step-by-step guide for every trader who wishes to take his performance to an Olympian level."
—Kevin Becker, CEO, Kiski Group LLC

"Ari's keen insight into the intellectual and psychological elements of traders' minds has a significant impact on risk and the ability to take risk, which is essential in today's market."
—David Ganek, Founding Partner and Head Portfolio Manager Level Global Investors, LP

"In his most insightful book yet, Kiev demonstrates how creative thought and innovation can dramatically increase the probability of success for any investment process. Using concrete examples and guideposts, he provides the reader with tangible tools and frameworks that clearly bridge the art and the science of investing. This book should be a permanent feature on any must-read list for investors."
—Jason H. Karp, Co-Chief Investment Officer, Carlson Capital LP

Ari Kiev is a psychiatrist who specializes in organizational psychology, stress management, and leadership training. Having worked extensively for the past seventeen years with Steve Cohen's multibillion-dollar SAC Capital Advisors, he now heads up Kiev Consulting, which helps trading professionals learn a variety of transformational strategies to enhance performance and create a collaborative and synergistic culture. For more information about developing a custom designed performance maximization program for your company, visit


Chapter 1 Intellect, Instinct, and Guts: Understanding the Psychological Profile.

A History of Success.

The Ability to Take Risk.

Creativity and Originality.

Self-Awareness, Self-Control and Resilience.

Teamwork and Leadership.

Putting It All Together.

Case Study on Finding the Right Candidate.

The Perfect Candidate?

Chapter in Review.

Chapter 2 Planning for Action: The Importance of Goal-Directedness.

Making a Plan.

Case Study on Setting a Goal.

Case Study on Having a Variant Perception.

Personality Factors and Goal-Setting.

Recognizing Goal-Directed Individuals.

Case Study on Recognizing Goal-Directedness.

Goal-Directedness in Turbulent Times..

Chapter in Review.

Chapter 3 “Fire in the Belly”: The Ability to Take Appropriate Risk.

A Picture of Successful Risk Management.

Learning to Upgrade Your Performance.

Chapter in Review.

Chapter 4 Thinking Outside the Box: The Importance of Ingenuity.

Case Study on the Satisfaction of Creative Thinking.

The Strategic Thinker.

Case Study on Learning to Be Creative.

Idea Construction.

Developing a Variant Perception.

Case Study on Creative Thinking.

Defining Expectational Analysis.

Case Study on Knowing the Business.

Case Study on Expectational Analysis.

Idea Velocity.

Idea Timing.

Idea Completion.

The Psychological Dimension.

Case Study on Communicating Effectively.

Chapter in Review.

Chapter 5 Separating Emotions and Decisions: The Ability to Be Self-Aware.

Case Study on the Emotion of Drawdowns.

The Source of Fear.

Case Study on Trading Stress.

Self-Esteem and Self-Discipline.

Learning from Drawdowns.

Case Study on Self-Assessing During Drawdowns.

Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable.

Case Study on Being Comfortable with Discomfort.

Managing Stress Well.

Chapter in Review.

Chapter 6 Nurturing Team Players: Listening, Learning, and Working Together.

Characteristics of a Team Player.

Finding Complements to Your Team.

Case Study on a Comparison of Traders.

The Importance of Communication.

Chapter in Review.

Chapter 7 Leadership: Directing Success.

Empowering a Culture of Change.

Encouraging Responsibility..

Exploring Potential Leaders.

Endeavoring for Success.

Case Study on a Failure to Lead.

Chapter in Review.