The Trading Game (Gary Stevenson) Reviewed: Zero £$€ks Giv¥en

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The title of this review is not actually accurate. Whilst I got the impression that Gary Stevenson gave zero £ucks about anyone at Citi by the end of The Trading Game, there were in fact 479 fu€ks given. Which, for a book with 432 pages (including blurb, credits etc.) equates to over 1.1 f$cks per page. That’s a lot of f¥ucks!

I’ll be honest, I don’t usually finish books – I’ve got Dyslexia, and ADHD, and if it’s not Jack Reacher then quite frankly I’m not interested. That is of course, with the exception of books about trading, (not investing, that’s too boring), but give me a Michael Lewis book, I’m hooked, Flash Crash was great too because the Hound’s broker sat on the desk the other side of my screen bank.

So when my wife downloaded “The Trading Game” on her Kindle ahead of our Easter holiday I was delighted (we have a family sharing thing set up). Mainly because the most recent Reacher, has gone off completely. Rewriting the same story twenty times was fine when Lee Childs was at the helm, but now that his brother writes them and Amazon has butchered it on Prime, it’s just not the same. I gave up after about 20%.

Incidentally, there is a nice tie-in here. Lee Child spent decades cultivating a character, that was based on being huge, then sold out deliberately so that the biggest (smallest) movie star in the world could help at the box office and shift more books and bring in the money.

Once you read The Trading Game, you’ll get what I’m talking about.

Basically, doing the right thing, doesn’t pay off. Or rather doing the wrong thing does…

Anyway, I thought to myself, brilliant, this is going to be a sort of Geraint Anderson’s City Boy meets Peter James’ Billionaire rip-roaring adventure.

So, I was initially a bit miffed to find out it was actually the true story of a Citi FX swaps trader. Which if you’ve ever worked on a trading floor will know is actually pretty dull most of the time. Except for the people, a trading floor is the most eclectic mix of people you will ever meet.

I’ve still got a copy of Rigged on my bookshelf. LIBOR, yawn. Give me Red Notice any day – that was true, terrifying and you literally couldn’t have made it up.

If I wasn’t in the business and done a few FX swaps for hedge funds running currency deficits when I was a broker I doubt I would have read past the first few pages. My wife didn’t. But if you’ve ever worked as a trader or a broker in the City, specifically for an American firm, then this book is for you.

For a finance book, it’s exquisitely written, with almost poetic imagery. It’s hilarious, sad, gripping and informative. It is certainly one of the best books about trading I’ve read. I’ve got no doubt that Stevenson is a “megabrain”.

Plus it really is a true representation of what trading actually is – a grind – a slog – you don’t trade prices, you don’t trade charts – you bet what you think is going to happen to the economy, not price action. Plus, as is clear from the book, the best way to make money trading is to bet with other people’s money.

Trading can be lonely though, and this is a sad story and a deep depressing dive into the despair, not just of working as a trader for a bank but also of where the economy is going. The City can suck your soul, if you let it.

Just before I finished the book, I watched a few of Gary’s TikToks, where he explains his economic theory, it skewed my view on the ending though.

You don’t see too many bleak TikTok traders, they are all happy-go-lucky types driving Lamborghinis in Dubai, flogging trading courses or copy trading strategies. This is funny really because, as the protagonist admits, and as with life, on the trading floor, he got started by looking at what the other traders were doing, copying them and doing it better.

Note: Please for the love of God don’t copy any trades from someone on TikTok or buy a trading course, they are all social media scams. This, is also where the TikTok generation gets trading wrong. You simply can’t make money quickly trading.

When I was a broker, the desperate, greedy, impulsive traders always lost, because they traded for the sake of trading.

The retail and semi-professional traders who made money took the time to understand the economics behind the markets and bet on events happening in the medium term.

However, there is one thing TikTok is good at, and that’s selling books. BookTok, is one of the single biggest drivers of book sales (according to Richard Osman, the font of all knowledge from the Rest is Entertainment Podcast).

So what’s the wrong thing – betting on the end of the economic world.

But, if it’s coming, you may as well make a few quid as the ship sinks.

Bears of the world unite…

The Trading Game by Gary Stevenson

Is The Trading Game a good book?

Yes. It’s a book about a guy who hates his job earning loads of money betting on the end of the economic world. It’s a true story and one of the closest representations of what trading for a bank is actually like. If you’re interested in making money from trading you should definitely read this, it will show you how smart you need to be to succeed.


  • Exquisitely written
  • The sobering truth about trading
  • Expert industry insight


  • Could have done with a more economical explanation (see Gary’s social for that)
  • Bit moany
  • Verdict
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