Book Review: Options For Volatile Markets

 |  Includes: QQQ, SPY, VXX
by: Robert Weinstein

I just finished reading "Options For Volatile Markets: Managing volatility and protecting against catastrophic risk 2nd edition," Wiley Publishing, Bloomberg Press and it's a great book. I have a simple test if you're interested in options to see if you should read it. If you don't know the name Lawrence (Larry) McMillan you should order the book. Mr. McMillan is a legend in the options business. I have audio cassettes from about 15 years ago made by McMillan for investors. The cassettes described the predictive powers of options and lessons I learned back then still apply today. It should really not be discounted the valuable contribution Richard Lehman provided to make "Options For Volatile Markets" the great book that it is.

Everyone who has attempted to get their head wrapped around stock options with all the terminology, variables, mechanics, and pricing knows how complicated options can be. McMillan and Lehman rip apart the veil holding back the sunlight of understanding with a serious vengeance. McMillan and Lehman really have explaining options and the plethora of strategies that go along with hedging down to a science. "Options For Volatile Markets" is an incredibly easy read from start to finish.

The reader is taken step by step from the very beginnings of what stock options are, why they exist and what they can be used for. The first three chapters of the text covers just about everything needed to know to confidently place your first stock option trade. Much of the basic option information is available on the Internet in a hodge-podge type of semi-disarray, but with "Options For Volatile Markets" all the information is right there with ample examples of how to interlock the terms into context. The reader can begin with zero knowledge at the start and have a working understanding long before others performing endless searches trying to achieve the same learning objective will.

The reader is moved along the learning curve into the study of advanced call writing and techniques are discussed and deployed with many examples. The reader will find no glory stories or ways to get rich quick, but will find the information needed to minimize volatility and perhaps even extend portfolio performance.

Lehman and McMillan make "Options for Volatile Markets" a worthwhile read for experienced stock option traders and investors. Many insights and pricing examples are provided demonstrating fresh ideas not found in other books. Lehman and McMillan start out the book explaining why there was a need to be filled with their book and I believe they are correct in their assessment as well as fulfilling the need.

A large amount of the book is dedicated throughout explaining the mental / emotional side of different positions and what an investor can expect to "feel" after placing the trade. This is so important because if you don't know what to expect (especially when starting out) and emotion starts to take over, you may have the right position on for any given situations and still end up destroying a profitable trade. Knowing what to expect and preparing for it is a large component of portfolio peak performance; Lehman and McMillan deliver the goods in a way I rarely see in books about options even at a minimal level. "Options For Volatile Markets" will prepare the reader mentally and mathematically for many of the most common hedging and speculative types of stock option trading.

Those who are in my chat room know I trade options almost every trading day of the year and typically have multiple positions on at any given time. Knowing that this book exists, you would have to be crazy to begin trading options without reading this book first. If you are trading options without having already read this book you need to know your counter-party may have and you are trading at a disadvantage. I have read and recommend "Options For Volatile Markets" for anyone trading options and wanting to improve their results, and especially for anyone who wants to get started with options on the right path.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.