Over the years I have read and reviewed many books on the market covering a variety of topics. When it comes to learning options trading specifically, there are two great books that I always recommend when talking to friends and family.
Yet, among the several dozen options trading articles here on the site, I realized I have never written a blog post on the books I enjoyed so much as a beginner and still reference today.
The Options Playbook, 2nd Edition
$25.41 - Amazon.com
This book is written by Brian Overby, the options guru from online broker TradeKing. What I love about this book is the opening few sections, which break down the basics of options in everyday terms, using loads of images to break through the over complex mumbo-jumbo.
After introducing the basics of buying and selling, greeks, strategy, risk, etc. the rest of the book is dedicated to breaking down 40 different options strategies. What I enjoy most about this section of the book is the format. Each "play" is visualized with a giant graphic alongside a breakdown of the setup, who should run it (extremely important as experience really does matter), several tips, and finally strategy details.
Fantastic for beginners, I highly recommend this book for those looking for a solid surface level intro to options. The only gripe is that it is only available in a spiral hard cover format, no paperback version or kindle version.
The Rookie's Guide to Options, 2nd Edition
$22.23 - Amazon.com
The book is written by a long time friend of mine, Mark Wolfinger, who wrote most of the options education articles for StockTradingToGo.
The Rookie's Guide to Options is longer and more in depth than The Options Playbook. Furthermore, the format is much more text heavy versus the visually friendly Options Playbook. Lastly, the book includes Quizzes at the end of each chapter which serve as a nice recap as you progress.
Mark is a 23 year veteran of the CBOE (Chicago Board of Exchange) and has a very conservative approach to trading options. As such, Mark reflects this in his book, spending extensive time on conservative strategies such as covered calls, collars, and the like.
With options being so complex, Mark's focus is longevity and capital conservation, not getting rich quick, and that is a critical foundation for any new investor, not too mention veterans.
The Rookie's Guide to Options 350+ pages will take time to read as it is detailed and in depth, however I highly recommend it to all new investors who want to take options seriously and desire to be successful over the long haul.
Other Valuable Resources
The best broker for trading options - See section "Options Trading" within the StockBrokers.com 2013 Broker Review
Iron Condors - Read the Bullsh*t Free Guide to Iron Condors
Options articles - Bookmark our options education homepage