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‘Way Of The Turtle’ by Curtis Faith - Book Review at Trader’s Narrative

As I briefly mentioned about two weeks ago, there are two books coming out within a short period of time dedicated to the legendary ‘Turtles’. This weekend, I devoured the only one worth reading: Curtis Faith’s ‘Way of the Turtle’. My verdict? No serious student of the markets will miss this book.

The foreword of the book is written by Van K. Tharp and I was surprised to learn that Tharp himself was a finalist in the original Turtle ‘batch’. He never made it since he was more interested in the psychological aspects and in coaching traders, rather than being one himself.

Curtis starts the book by featuring his first trade as a turtle, a long trade in heating oil which won him not only praise from Richard Dennis but double the portfolio allocation of any other freshly hatched turtle ($2 million).

curtis faith way of the turtle.png

Although Curtis does go into some detail about the process of being interviewed and selected into the Turtles’ program, he moves quickly into new and exciting material. Way of the Turtle is tailored to those who are interested in learning about trading and the turtle trading methodology and not so much about the ‘inside scoop’ or drama of the turtles history, application and interview process, etc. Curtis succinctly summarizes the four elements all great traders possess:

  • Trade with an edge
  • Manage risk
  • Be consistent
  • Keep it simple

I found it reaffirming to find Curtis talking about the concept of R so matter of factly - which is a tribute to Tharp since ‘R’ has become an integral part of trading culture within only a few years after its introduction. But more interesting was Curtis’ introduction of a similar concept he calls ‘E’ or ‘E-ratio’. This refers to the effectiveness of entry into a trade, just as R refers to the result of a trade - measured by unit of risk.

In order to calculate it, you need two components: maximum favorable excursion (MFE) and maximum adverse excursion (MAE). You standardize them using the relevant ATR and then divide MFE by MAE. That gives you the ‘E-ratio’. This is an important number because it tells you whether your entry into trades has an ‘edge’. Think about it, if after entering a trade, usually the trade takes off towards the direction you want, with a small or almost nil adverse excursion, you know you’re on to something!

This is just one of the many gems contained in ‘Way of the Turtle’. It is a veritable treasurer trove for both systematic and discretionary traders. Equally impressive is the generous attention Curtis pays to the role of psychology and its effects on trading. All in all, this book is destined to become a classic.

Also don’t forget to check out Curtis’ blog :)

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20 Responses to “‘Way Of The Turtle’ by Curtis Faith - Book Review”  

  1. 1 Michael Covel

    Babak, thank you for taking the time to offer an opinion about my upcoming book. While I understand you have not read it yet and have already given it a thumbs down, drop me an email and I will send you a copy when it comes out. You will find out there was more than one Turtle.

  2. 2 RedRock


    It looks as if you have written a soap opera featuring info from all the second tier players and rumor mongers.

    Your link says:”The flesh and blood on the bones has never been added - until now. Access was granted to multiple sources (read: Turtles, their brokers, their investors, their students, their employees, their former bosses) all on the record. ”

    Sounds like a trash talking experience from someone who is a life long “Turtle” pretender. You will sell books. But I will not be buying one.

    Curtis Faith is by all accounts a genius intellectual with first hand knowledge of the Turtle program. He outlines the reasons for some of the groups success. And is clear about there being many who have failed. I don’t need to hear the stories, sad tales, and gripes of the also rans.


  3. 3 Michael D

    I just ordered the Way of the Turtle and will read Covel’s book when it appears. I have found that both writers have valuable insights.

  4. 4 SNAPPER

    Who is Juliet Mantiply ? From a glance your book a has a wide breadth of information. Smooth on the eyes to read. An aspect of the book that wasn’t mentiond which I really anticapated was there wasn’t. That I could see any way. Had to do with a specific chocolate Bar.

    While RR is filling out curtis’s mensa membership. Perhaps, you might entertain the idea that, there are differnt vantage points to the same story. Covel I hope your book is good.


  5. 5 TraderBill

    I read Mike’s trend trading book (it was great) and I anxiously await his new book. I also enjoyed Faith’s book, “Way of the Turtle”, but I am shocked about the intense feelings surrounding the whole Turtle program. I would love to hear from the other “Turtles.” According to Faith, most did not trade after the program. Most were supposedly not successful traders, did not follow the rules, etc. With the intense feeling expressed, I wonder who I can believe.

    I believe that there are many valuable lessons to be learned from the Turtle Traders experiment. I do wish that there was less venom associated with the program participants. We can learn much from people — whether we like them or not and whether we share their trading philosophy.

  6. 6 Babak

    TraderBill, I don’t think there’s any ‘venom’ associated with the turtles. From what I know they’re a pretty tight bunch, which makes sense. They have a very special status they and only they share as the students of Dennis. What you may have mistaken is the dislike of some at the attempts of Covel to make money off the turtles while not being in any way associated with them. I believe this is why Curtis gave away the rules - he was tired of someone trying to make money off some bastardized version of the real ones.

  7. 7 Michael D


    Using your logic, it could be said that Schwager made money off the turtles by including a chapter about them in his wizards book. I’m guessing you’re not going to slam Schwager.

    Covel is a writer. Most writers write about other people. People they usually are not ‘associated’ with. Wallstrip said it best: “Covel is not a turtle and not a trader”.

    Covel’s problem is that he comes across as a complete dickhead. I still like his book.

  8. 8 Babak

    I’m not sure we can accurately describe Covel as a ‘writer’ since his books are merely meant as advertisements for his $2000 $1000 ‘turtle’ course.

    Schwager on the other is truly interested in trading. As you pointed out, only one chapter is devoted to turtles in one of his books. He has also written on technical analysis. And also he is a futures trader himself.

  9. 9 Michael D


    Covel’s not a writer?

    One of Covel’s favorite rhetorical tricks is to post oppositional views on his web site and then dismiss their arguments by complaining that they haven’t defined their terms. You stoop to the same tactics.

    In your next post, I’m waiting for you to say that I just “don’t get it.” Another Covelesque rhetorical trick.

    You might have noted in your Schwager homage that he was, by his own admission, a failed trader when he wrote the first Wizards book. Covel probably falls into that category as well.

  10. 10 Babak

    Michael D,
    I don’t want to get into a hair splitting contest :) what I meant is that I don’t see the same ‘love of the craft’ in Covel, that Schwager has. Just a personal opinion. Also Schwager has done other stuff.

  11. 11 Phantom of the Pits

    You have great insight and did a good review.
    It onlly gets better!
    Thank you,


  12. 12 max

    Nice review on the book

    You state in your rewiew …..”I found it reaffirming to find Curtis talking about the concept of R so matter of factly - which is a tribute to Tharp”

    Actually Curtis sites Chuck Branscomb as the inventor of “R” Multiples on page 59

    Cheers max

  13. 13 Babak

    Max, thanks for the clarification. I think I meant that Tharp is viewed as the popularizer of the concept.

  14. 14 John

    Very Interesting info about author performance:


    Turtle Trader

  15. 15 Humblybob

    I have read 2 books by Covel and the one by Curtis Faith. All books are great but I found Faith’s book more in resonance with traders. What is disconcerting is the slagging off by Michael Covel of Curtis Faith, and by Faith - more disguised - of other Turtles.

    Frankly, all this talk about traders and their lack of egoes does not cut ice.

  16. 16 Babak

    Humblybob, you’ve reminded me to make the next book review and giveaway the Covel book on the turtles. Thanks.

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