50 Trades in 50 Weeks

My name is Brent Donnelly. I have been trading professionally since 1995 and writing about trading and global macro since 2004.

Each week, I will share a new trade idea and walk you through it from start to finish. Fifty real-time trades in about fifty weeks. You will learn tactics, strategy, mindset, risk management, and the psychology of successful trading. See real trade ideas come to life in real time.

Remember those Prima guides for New Super Mario Bros. and Kirby’s Epic Yarn, or those YouTube video game walkthroughs where they explain, step-by-step, how to clear each level of a video game? That’s the spirit here. Also kinda inspired by Harvard Business School’s case study method.

Each trade we go from start to finish, something like:

Where did the idea come from? Why does it make sense?

  • Narrative

  • Fundamental analysis

  • Technicals

  • Positioning and sentiment

  • Other inputs

Risk management

  • Stop loss, take profit, and why those levels were chosen.

  • Reassessment triggers. If x happens during the life of this trade, I will do y.

  • Sizing. What is the appropriate amount of risk for this trade?

Psychology. How might this trade be ruined by mental errors?

The alternative hypothesis

  • What are the risks and reasons this trade might not work?

  • Pre-mortem as we imagine the trade going horribly wrong and understand the worst case.

Data collection. Monitoring and tracking trades.

Learning. What have we learned so far?

You can use this Substack as a free 1-year “Introduction to Trading” class. We’ll have some fun and fall into a rabbit hole or two along the way. The target audience is traders with 0 to 5 years of experience, but I’ll write it so pros can find some value too. Concepts will be explained in detail.

You will receive approximately one email per week.


Nothing in 50 Trades is investment advice. Do your own research and consult your personal financial advisor. I’m putting out free thoughts for people that want to learn. This is an educational Substack. Trade your own view!

One FAQ:

If you are such a good trader, why are you writing a Substack and why do you have a paid newsletter?

This is a common question and a smart question to ask. Before you read or learn about trading from anyone, you should know their background. Especially if you plan to give them cash money. Here is my trading background:

I have been trading non-stop since 1995, mostly currencies, but also futures and single-name equities. I have been an FX market maker, a Managing Director and chief dealer at various commercial and investment banks, a portfolio manager at a hedge fund, and I traded my own money for five years. I have been writing about macro and markets just about every day since 2004.

I put my entire net worth of $25,000 into a day trading account in 1998 and turned it into $350,000 by 2000. Then, I spent the next two years spending and losing virtually all of it (you learn a lot when you blow up…). My best year I made just over $50 million trading FX in 2008. I worked at a hedge fund for three years but didn’t love it because I couldn’t write. My best day at Lehman Brothers I made more than $5,000,000. I have lost more than a million dollars in one day on many occasions and lost that much in one hour a few times.

I have had a successful 25-year trading career and continue to trade my own money while advising and providing liquidity for hedge funds and asset managers in FX.

BUT… I also love writing. I co-created and wrote a cartoon that was on TV in Canada for a while. I’ve written two books on trading, and I write fiction. As I approach the halfway mark of my 100-year lifespan[1], I find I get as much joy out of writing as I do out of trading. I want to do both, and I want to do both in a non-bureaucratic environment where I’m free to think and write what I want. My writing also taps me into the zeitgeist as readers respond to my ideas. That puts my ear to the ground on sentiment and positioning.

That’s why I am building Spectra Markets, and that’s why I write a newsletter and this Substack and probably other stuff in the future. Because it makes me happy and creates a virtuous writing and trading circle. But if my writing was free, I doubt I’d commit the effort to make a timely, high-quality product. Good writing takes time, and my time is not free. The fact that I’m good at trading is the reason I can charge people for my writing so the original question is posed backwards. You should be asking people with no experience why they are charging for content.

The TLDR is: The way for me to live my most fun life is to combine my two passions: writing and trading. My time is worth money and if my thoughts have value to people and they want to pay money to subscribe and read them... Perfect.

Hope that helps. Let’s a go.


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Level up your trading in 50 weeks. Detailed lessons from a professional trader using the case study method to explain real trade ideas in real time.


Brent Donnelly is President of Spectra Markets. He has been trading since 1995 and writing about macro since 2004. He is the author of am/FX, a must-read global macro daily, and 2 books: "Alpha Trader" and "The Art of Currency Trading".