Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk

4.4 11
by Peter L. Bernstein
     
 

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A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller

"Ambitious and readable . . . an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism."
The New York Times

"An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book."

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Overview

A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller

"Ambitious and readable . . . an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism."
The New York Times

"An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book."
The Wall Street Journal

"A lively panoramic book . . . Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it."
Business Week

"Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read."
The Economist

"[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world."
Worth

"No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement."
—Robert Heilbroner author, The Worldly Philosophers

"With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it."
—John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.

"An extremely readable history of risk."
Barron's

"Fascinating . . . this challenging volume will help you understand the uncertainties that every investor must face." —Money

"A singular achievement." —Times Literary Supplement

"There's a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly—witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)—and Bernstein would mingle well in their company." —The Australian

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Ambitious and readable. . .an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers.
John Kenneth Galbraith
With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it..
Robert Heilbronerc
No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement.
William Kristol
A fascinating and unusual perspective on modern man's Promethean attempt to master risk. The book reads easily and provokes thought—a rare combination.
Robert Ferguson
Peter Bernstein leads us effortlessly through the history of risk because he writes so beautifully. This is a book on a left brain subject that will have right brain readers lining up for more!.
Marc Faber
In Against the Gods, Peter Bernstein, a scholar, historian, and successful investor gives us the history of great thinkers whose visions put the future at the service of the present..
Barton M. Biggs
This looks like a new classic to me..
Charles P. Kindleberger
It's a sizzler!.
Washington Post Book World
Against The Gods appeared in the "Washington Is Also Reading..." section of The Washington Post Book World. The book is described as, "A comprehensive history of man's efforts to understand risk and probability, from ancient gamblers in Greece to modern chaos theory.
Money Matters
I must say that I enjoyed the book, it was written in a light-hearted manner"
Wall Street Journal
An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Risk management, which assumes that future risks can be understood, measured and to some extent predicted, is the focus of this solid, thoroughgoing history. Probability theory, pioneered by 17th-century French mathematicians Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, has made possible the design of great bridges, electric power utilities and insurance policies. The statistical sampling methods invented by dour Swiss scientist Jacob Bernoulli undergird diverse activities such as the testing of new drugs, stock-picking and wine tasting. Bernstein (Capital Ideas) animates his narrative with a colorful cast of risk-analyzers, including gambling addict Girolamo Cardano, 16th-century Italian physician to the Pope; and John Maynard Keynes, whose concerns over economic uncertainty compelled him to recommend an active, interventionist role for government. Bernstein also traces the development of business forecasting, game theory, insurance and derivatives, and surveys recent advances in risk forecasting made possible through chaos theory and by the development of neural networks.
Library Journal
For several centuries, mathematics has been the language of the exact sciences. Only in the 20th century has mathematics become predominant in other fields, particularly economics and finance. In this book, Bernstein (Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street), head of an economic consulting firm, traces the development of probability theory from its beginnings in analyzing games of chance, through its application to statistical theory and insurance, up to its present use in developing investment strategies to control risk. He includes excellent sections on portfolio analysis and on investments in derivatives. Bernstein clearly describes the people, their work, and the events that have revolutionized the thinking on Wall Street. -- Harold D. Shane, Baruch College, City University of New York
The Wall Street Journal
An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book.
The New York Times
Ambitious and readable. . .an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers.
From the Publisher
AGAINST THE GODS appeared in the "Washington Is Also Reading..." section of The Washington Post Book World. The book is described as, "A comprehensive history of man's efforts to understand risk and probability, from ancient gamblers in Greece to modern chaos theory."-The Washington Post Book World, September 20, 1998

“A useful…introduction to the history of financial risk.” (Breakingviews.com, Wednesday 16th April 2008)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471295631
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
09/14/1998
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
84,139
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.02(d)

What People are saying about this

William Kristol
"A fascinating and unusual perspective on modern man's Promethean attempt to master risk. The book reads easily and provokes thought--a rare combination."—Editor and Publisher, The Weekly Standard
Charles P. Kindleberger
"It's a sizzler!"—author of Manias, Panics & Crashes
Marc Faber
"In Against the Gods, Peter Bernstein, a scholar, historian, and successful investor gives us the history of great thinkers whose visions put the future at the service of the present."—Managing Director, Marc Faber Limited, Hong Kong
Robert Ferguson
"Peter Bernstein leads us effortlessly through the history of risk because he writes so beautifully. This is a book on a left brain subject that will have right brain readers lining up for more!"—Managing Director, Bankers Trust Australia Limited
Barton M. Biggs
This looks like a new classic to me."—Chairman Morgan Stanley Asset Management, Inc.
John Kenneth Galbraith
"With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it."—Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University

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