Stock Options: Where Do You Start?


The forward written by Jeff Pierce for my new book “Show Me Your Options!”

Steve Burns and I met by chance, however it was inevitable that we would bump into each other given our similar trading styles and how active we are on Twitter in our niche. I was looking for someone to contribute book reviews on my blog and I discovered that Steve had reviewed a mind boggling amount of books with honest and concise summaries. Considering the knowledge that he has accumulated from all those books that he read, I believe him to be the perfect candidate to share his knowledge with aspiring traders to help them avoid many of the pitfalls that new traders can run into. I approached Steve to see if he wanted to post his reviews on my site and soon after we formed a strong relationship. Steve’s ability to shift through the sheer amount of information available in myriad books on trading and take away the important aspects traders need to focus on to be successful is remarkable indeed.

Through Steve I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the “Options Scientist” Christopher Ebert. Steve mentioned that Christopher had a firm understanding of options and was very creative with his option strategies, but that is an understatement as I would say he is in the top 1% of understanding the ins and outs of options as you will soon discover as you progress through “Show Me Your Options.” Working with Chris as the resident options guru on has given me a chance to learn from one of the best. Chris is very generous with his time and is always willing to answer any questions I may have and offer suggestions on how to structure an option trade.

This book has forced me to look at options in a whole new light as it dives from the basics into extremely advanced strategies in an easy to read format. It could have more appropriately been named, “Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about options, but didn’t know to ask.” They cover strategies that I didn’t even know existed. Having been trading since 1998 I’ll be the first to admit that I’m intimidated by complex option strategies, but that comes from a lack of understanding. We fear what we don’t know. This book may require a second reading for option novices like myself, but I highlighted many passages to revisit and for the most part Chris and Steve present this information in a story format from the standpoint of a mentor/student that is very relatable. Once armed with the new information such as how to use straddles and strangles effectively, I can expand how I personally trade and invest through the use of options.

There are two kinds of traders in this world. Those who use options and those who don’t. I believe Steve and Chris are effectively bridging the gap.Stock Options: Where Do You Start?Being primarily a momentum trader, I was a little surprised to see the author’s views on covered calls, but it makes complete sense after reading their logic.

The problem with Covered Call writing is that you get a small premium to relinquish the upside profit on a stock, but you retain the whole downside risk. It is like doing the opposite of what you want to do in trading; you are letting your losers run and cutting your winners short.

From this standpoint you should never sell calls in a strong trend as you are capping your winnings, or as they describe more appropriately, a “stop win”, which flies in the face of what a lot of option experts will tell you to do with stocks in your portfolio. “Strong trends are the friend of an option buyer and the enemy of an option seller.” The book is an education that you will definitely get your money out of, if you apply their principles and various strategies.

When I was approached about writing this forward I was honored and excited because I believe this is the book that could help me wrap my head around options and help boost my equity curve. I was their target market. Someone who has always wanted to implement options in their trading, but hasn’t found a book that discusses the many strategies without losing me in the process – until now. Options talk can be very technical but “Show Me Your Options” is broken down into bite-size chapters and useful options analogies that will help anybody muddle through options trading and come out on the other side with a couple of strategies they can use right now. The measure of a great trading book is whether I can take what I read last week and inject that into my trading on the next. Mission accomplished guys.

~Jeff Pierce

“Show Me Your Options!” by Steve Burns & Christopher Ebert

Stock Options: Where Do You Start?