Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance

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Overview

The definitive story of Fischer Black, one of the greatest financial minds of all time

Besides revolutionizing finance with the Black-Scholes option pricing model, Fischer Black forever changed Wall Street by developing what is now known as quantitative finance. Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance explores Black's intellectual journey from Harvard to the offices of ADL, from the University of Chicago to MIT, and then to Goldman Sachs. This poignant book tells the...

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Overview

The definitive story of Fischer Black, one of the greatest financial minds of all time

Besides revolutionizing finance with the Black-Scholes option pricing model, Fischer Black forever changed Wall Street by developing what is now known as quantitative finance. Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance explores Black's intellectual journey from Harvard to the offices of ADL, from the University of Chicago to MIT, and then to Goldman Sachs. This poignant book tells the story of one man's intellectual adventure at the very center of modern finance, fully describing the birth of quantitative finance and financial engineering along the way.

  • Years of research and interviews with Black's business and academic associates, as well as family and friends, are distilled into a scholarly yet personal story of the formation and development of the extraordinary mind and unique character of this unassuming renegade
  • Black deciphered the universe of modern finance in ways that went underappreciated for many years and would have won the Nobel Prize in Economics, if not for his untimely death in 1995
  • Author Perry Mehrling weaves Black's personal story with the birth of modern finance into a vignette-based business biography that captures the essence of this extraordinary man, explaining, for the first time, the ground-breaking impact Fischer Black had on the worlds of money and finance as well as world markets

This compelling biography of the "Einstein of Finance" follows Fischer Black through his incredible career, from his transition from academia to one of the most elite of firms on Wall Street—Goldman Sachs—where he developed quantitative models that tens of thousands of professionals still use today. Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance demystifies this genius of finance and provides an engaging and entertaining look at a man whose life's work encapsulates modern financial theory.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118203569
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 374
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Perry Mehrling is Professor of Economics at Barnard College of Columbia University. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and is the author of The Money Interest and the Public Interest: American Monetary Thought, 1920–1970, and The New Lombard Street: How the Fed became the Dealer of Last Resort. Dr. Mehrling's specialty is the study of financial theory and the history of economics.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword xv

Preface xxi

Prologue The Price of Risk 1

ONE Thou Living Ray of Intellectual Fire 23

TWO An Idea in the Rough 49

THREE Some Kind of an Education 73

FOUR Living Up to the Model 99

FIVE Tortuous Economic Intuition 119

SIX The Money Wars 139

SEVEN Global Reach 165

EIGHT Stagflation 189

NINE Changing Fields 215

TEN What Do Traders Do? 231

ELEVEN Exploring General Equilibrium 255

Epilogue Nothing Is Constant 283

Appendix A A Financial Notes Chronology 299

Appendix B A Newsletter Chronology 301

Notes 303

References 327

Index 355

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2005

    Economist's Bio Tells a Larger Story

    Author Perry Mehrling¿s excellent book is not merely a biography of Fischer Black, but also the story of the main threads of economic thought during the late twentieth century. More than that, it is the story of the economics profession, and of the great role that politics and personality plays in the acceptance of ideas. It is astonishing to learn how ruthlessly the profession excluded Black¿s ideas, although he was one of the most incisive economic and financial thinkers of his time, and it is inspiring to see how relentlessly and quixotically Fischer Black continued to press them. The parts of the book that are generally accessible are also fascinating. Unfortunately, far too little of the volume is accessible to the average business reader. Mehrling does a less than adequate job of explaining the great themes of Black¿s life and thought to lay readers. He notes the importance of the Capital Asset Pricing Model in Black¿s philosophy, but his account of the model will leave noneconomists scratching their heads. The same must be said of his account of other economic subjects. While we find that only readers with a fairly deep understanding of economics can reap this book¿s full harvest, that caveat should not deter the general reader from gleaning.

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