Book of the week: Lessons for currency traders

Book review: Currency KingsA look at the careers of six trading legends and what they can teach investors today.


Published by McGraw-Hill Education, £31.99

Buy at Amazon

The foreign-exchange (currency) markets are a favourite playground of traders and spread bettors because they are large, liquid and with the aid of leverage (borrowed money) you can produce large returns from small movements in price. In Currency Kings, former City trader Ben Robson looks at the careers of six trading legends George Soros, John Henry, Urs Schwarzenbach, Jim Simons, Peter Cruddas and Renat Fatkhullin and lists the lessons ordinary investors can learn from their experiences.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

The chapters on Soros and Henry are probably the most useful. Robson does a good job of discussing fund managers and traders, such as Jim Rogers, Stanley Druckenmiller and Victor Niederhoffer, who all contributed to the success of Soros's Quantum Fund. Similarly, much of the chapter on Henry focuses on the strategy of trend following in general, with a look at the many other traders who made their fortunes in a similar way, such as Richard Dennis.

Sadly, the chapters on the other investors aren't as useful. Simons' success was built on proprietary trading models, while Schwarzenbach and Fatkhullin are really entrepreneurs rather than traders. Still, there is a lot of useful information in the book, and Robson does a good job of explaining some relatively complicated areas of options trading. Although not an investment classic, it is still a worthwhile read.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri