After reading my first trading book, Way of the Turtle, which lays out a very rational approach to trading, some readers might think that I believe left-brain trading is better or more valid than intuitive right-brain trading. I don't. Even though I got my trading education as a Turtle in a tradition that stressed a systematic approach to trading, I see plenty of value in the right brain's ability to quickly process lots of information to arrive at an intuitive conclusion. In short, both approaches have merit.
Whole-brain trading involves both hemispheres and is a balancing act between the brain's two primary types of cognitive function: logical reasoning, and intuitive feelings and impressions. The blend of right brain and left brain depends on the type of trading you are involved in. For extremely short-term trades, relying on the right brain is often the only practical approach. Traders simply do not have enough time to perform complicated analysis. Traders who are scalpers must trade mostly using their right brains. For longer-term trading, traders have plenty of time for analysis. Getting historical data for performing this analysis also is relatively easy. Therefore, longer-term trading is very suitable for the left-brain trader. Swing trading, in which trades are kept for a few days or a few weeks, is best addressed with whole-brain trading. Generally sufficient time exists for performing an analysis, but the data and tools available to the typical trader do not generally permit a completely systematic approach such as one might use for long-term trading. For this reason, whole-brain trading is virtually required for effective swing trading.
In this book, I show discretionary traders how to strengthen their intuition and gut instinct and how to incorporate analytical tools that systems traders traditionally use. I also show systems traders how to use many of the tools and techniques that discretionary traders use, to develop more robust trading methods. My approach to trading, and the philosophy that I share with you in this book, is what I refer to as whole-brain or whole-mind trading.