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Technical Analysis Explained Book Review

written by: Brian Nelson•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/29/2009

When it comes to technical analysis there are a handful of books widely considered to be essential manuals for true understanding. Martin J. Pring's Technical Analysis Explained is one of them.

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    Technical Analysis Explained

    Now in its 4th edition, Technical Analysis Explained remains one of the top recommended books for learning technical analysis. That the 3rd edition proudly proclaimed it was, "The Authoritative Guide to One of the 1990s' Most Powerful Financial Strategies," tells you that the 4th edition is much rewritten.

    Pring's Technical Analysis is not for the faint of heart. It does not read like a folksy homily told to the "rich son", nor does it have any sort of gimmick, nor catch-phrase as its hook. What it does have is an in-depth explanation of what technical analysis is and how to use it.

    As a result, it can be a dry and technical read for the non-trader and as such is better suited to experienced stock traders or advanced investors rather than those looking for a technical analysis for dummies type of book. Sentences can be long and complex, as true technical analysis is. This is not a book to pick and read through once. This is a manual to be studied again and again until its contents roll out of memory on command.

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    What Is In Technical Analysis Explained

    Rating Average

    Technical Analysis Explained does exactly what its title says it does. It explains technical analysis. The first chapters cover the basics market cycles in general and relate them to technical analysis and what it is.

    The next chapters march through a whose-who of technical analysis patterns ranging from flags, and pendants, to head and shoulders patterns, and other double, and triple tops.

    But, Pring doesn't stop there. While some technical analysis websites and books throw up some pretty charts and draw lines on them like astronomy books highlight the constellations, Pring focuses the majority of the book on assorted indicators. Pring's emphasis is on using indicators such as momentum and the various oscillators to validate the various patterns as legitimate breakouts.

    Implementing such techniques can save the novice technician many un-profitable trades that are made when they see a pattern without quantifying its likelihood to produce a profitable trade via indicators.

    For me, some chapters in Pring's book delve too deeply in trying to predict and quantify the overall market via various indicators which can confuse the issue about whether or not a particular stock is a good trade. This plus a lengthy section on how interest rates affect the markets distracts from profitable trading tactics that can actually be implemented by individual traders.

    Still, few books about technical analysis do the topic justice the way that Pring does in Technical Analysis Explained with its full descriptions.

    Technical Analysis Explained definitely warrants a spot on the technicians bookshelf.