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Book Review: Growing the Money Tree by John Svazic

August 8, 2013 (Last updated on October 18, 2016) by

Growing the Money Tree by John SvazicGrowing The Money Tree: Financial Freedom One Leaf At A Time is not strictly about Forex trading. It is a book about attaining a kind of financial freedom, partly via foreign exchange trading. Growing the Money Tree is written by John Svazic, a software developer and FX trader from Canada. The good thing he is not a Forex marketing guru that will try to push you some overpriced products. The bad thing — he is probably less experienced with the market compared to some other popular trading authors.

Before proceeding to the actual review, I should warn you that I have received a free copy of this book from its author. So, you ought to be aware that the following review may be influenced by this fact. However, I believe I have done my best to minimize such influence. As you will see, the following review can be hardly called a praise.

Structure

The book is very well structured and consists of three parts:

The first part will introduce you to the idea of growing the money tree and to the basics of speculative Forex trading. It will include terminology and some technical analysis coverage. The biggest gem of this part is the improvised 20-day trading journal of fictional Bob trading real NZD/USD pair — a section somewhat similar to Diary of a Professional Commodity Trader by Peter Brandt. The first part is concluded with investment diversification ideas for not to put all eggs in a Forex basket.

The second part is dedicated to genetic algorithms — the salt of the book. It will teach you to optimize your trading strategies in an easy, efficient and, more importantly, fully automated way. Even though artificial intelligence may sound like a tough topic for many traders, the author does a great job explaining everything in simple terms and providing a good deal of examples, so that even a mathematically illiterate person will have little trouble understanding this part.

The third part concerns transition from demo account to live Forex trading, applying the automatically optimized strategies to that trading and some final wording on diversification and keeping your money tree safe.

Advantages

Growing The Money Tree offers a good overview for newbies — just enough information to get started without too many new and confusing concepts.

Even seasoned traders will find something useful: genetic algorithms and description of the whole optimization/backtesting process, its automation and possible pitfalls.

20-day trading journal is well detailed and very realistic. Any under-experienced FX trader will benefit from reading and will draw some useful conclusions.

Additional information regarding alternative investment destinations (after all, the book is not about Forex, it is about growing a money tree) was useful and partly new to me.

It reads smoothly despite the actual difficulty of the concerned topics. The author uses just enough humor and anecdotes to eliminate boredom without getting too far from the subject.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, the FX introductory material looks very incomplete. But it is arguable whether it is possible to provide a complete introduction in a newbie-friendly manner at all. Only the basic terminology is explained, so you will probably need to learn more elsewhere for not to feel confused when reading Forex-related discussions, news, e-books, etc.

Little attention is paid to money management and position sizing, though the basics are given in a form of a maximum 2% risk per trade recommendation.

The whole GA thing can be done via MetaTrader and does not require much learning. Everything is already there in Strategy Tester. It would be good if John Svazic would have mentioned that — for many people it is much easier and overall more reasonable than learning to code or asking someone to code for them. Of course, going this easy way (using MT4 or MT5) would result in less flexibility in training and testing and less understanding of the whole process than creating your own tester and genetic algorithm optimizer.

Of course, the book will offer its full potential only to residents of Canada, as a non-Forex part is based mainly on what is going on in that North American country. Nevertheless, a lot of the advice given in GtMT is applicable in other parts of the world too.

There are some minor flaws, like outdated information on maximum leverage or improper presentation of risk per trade.

Conclusion

Since I have experience both in Forex trading and in artificial intelligence (partly during my process of getting MS in computer science), this book had almost nothing new for me. In my opinion, Growing The Money Tree can be an excellent introduction to investment, online currency trading and artificial intelligence. Perhaps, one the one hand, it was not the best idea to attempt uniting these three issues into one book. On the other hand, the book can become the reader’s first step in any of the provided directions.

If you have any questions, comments or opinions about Growing The Money Tree by John Svazic, please feel free to submit them using the commentary form below.

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