Sun Tzu’s Art of War is a classic piece of work that is widely read and applied to many fields, due to it’s fundamental nature that is highly adaptable to many areas of our lives. In this post, I extracted parts of the work and applied to trading and in doing so, hope to introduce the important trading concepts to you. I have also group and categorize them for easy understanding.

To put it in the context of trading, I have rationalised the following terms:
– General = You, the trader
– Battle = Trading the market/making a trade
– Men, Soldiers = Your capital, dollars!

ON WINNING IN THE MARKET

“Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.”

Calculations are to be made prior to any trade. What is the risk-reward ratio? What is the stop loss level and the amount that I am willing to lose? What is the size of position to take? How much leverage can I take? If the price moves to $XXX, what action should I take? What is my price objective? What is the proabability of winning? These are just questions that need to be answered and determined BEFORE a trade is made. THE BATTLE/TRADE IS WON BEFORE IT IS FOUGHT/MADE.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Read more…