Quants: The Maths Geniuses Who Brought Down Wall Street

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More About This Book

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847940599
  • Publisher: Random House Business Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 139 )
Rating Distribution

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(42)

4 Star

(38)

3 Star

(34)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 142 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    INTERESTING BUT NOT THAT INTERESTING!!!!!

    In so many words, there are so many other books that you could be reading about this sort of stuff. When I read this book, my first thought was that you could be reading something else that really had some meat to it. I am not a professional quant but I do have some training in such affairs. The first thing that I thought when reading this is that I preferred the other book on quant mechanics and discrete physics applications to this book. It is called "The Manual of Quants" by John Henry Morel. It is way out in left field but it really packs a punch. It is almost otherworldly, like "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," but it has a flavor that really inspires, incites and cultivates true investigation of quantitative analysis from a holistic and intelligent perspective instead of from a purely exploitive wealth or hoarding perspective. It teaches us how to better investigate quantum physics as quants and not as animals or ignorant work slaves of the financial arena. We need to learn how to think outside of the box if we are going to change the world around us for the better and instead of collapsing financial markets we need to learn how to build them from the ground up based on true stochastic models, not sophomoric research hydraulics and investigative techniques. I highly recommend Morel's "The Manual of Quants" if you are going to ever make a name for yourself as a quant!! Switch over the other side and save your career like all the others: "THE MANUAL OF QUANTS"!!!!!

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2010

    Read for Yourself

    I read Patterson's book awhile ago and enjoyed the combination of its pace and illuminating details. I do not work on Wall Street so the context of this foreign land with its exquisite creatures resembled something almost fictional. Unfortunately this strange world GAMBLES with our retirements. After reading reviews here and elsewhere I have found an interesting reaction. Those with a vested interest (or simply want a cheap kindle version) have bashed the book with knee jerk that if nothing else shows it has struck a cord with those in the know.

    Squelch is an obvious industry insider trying to limit the truth in the book

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Complements the "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis

    Read a review of the "The Big Short" which ended with the question of whether "The Quants" was better, or complementary. I think it's complementary. Whether one calls it math, blind luck, strategy, or tactics, it's not too different. In this case, the traders relied on math to filter, then deliver "crucial" information to their attention, or the attention of the computer doing the trading unattended. "The Big Short" also mentions the ratings agencies, while "The Quants" does not. Probably because it follows a different theme. Seems like ratings agencies should be considered, because many trades were based upon ratings. From the "The Quants", I was exposed to more of the different types of trades, and some of the economic theory in which they live. "The Quants" focus on the role of the math whizzes and the effects of their trading on Wall Street. "The Big Short" follows the stories of a handful of traders as well, but with less history or economic theory or ripple effect. I liked the dialog in the "The Big Short" better. In the long run, I'm happy to have read both.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2010

    Quite an accomplishment

    While the cast of characters is hard to follow at times, overall this is an excellent analysis of the "quants" and their dubious contributions to world financial markets. The explanations and defininitions of the mechanisms used by the "quants" and their role in our financial crisis should be required reading to any investor who doesn't spend eight hours a day working in the real financial world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    Great read....

    Very insightful and informative. Lots of info that makes you appreciate the near disaster we saw in 2008!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    A great overview of the influx of mathematical talent to Wall Street

    An extremely entertaining account the rise of math geniuses into the world of finance, and how they believed their mathematical models and theories were working to stabilise the world economy while in fact they were fueling the fire of the credit meltdown. It is a little difficult to follow due to the narrative format and number of different companies/people involved in the story, but the financial jargon isn't excessive and it includes some simply worded examples for the concepts that any layperson can follow. it is extremely relevant, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to understand more about how the modern economy is structured and the financial instruments behind the current recession.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    An outstanding book

    I started in my quuest to understand how as an innocent investor, my net worth had crumbled with Charles Gasparini's book (the first one out) which really focused on the risk taking "genes" inherent in many of the Wall Street Players. They were often international level poker players and took on enormous risks and horrendous leverage.

    I then read Sec. Henry Paulson's book which was a little like being dropped into a Rugby scrum without knowing the rules - he did often define terms, but gave you no idea of the range of values. He is a defender of the "free market" (the market is all knowing and will correct itself unaided). In 2005, before he accepted the Secreatary of Treatury position, Goldman Sachs led the credit default swap popularization. He was a CEO, but like so many of them, not truly knowledgable about what his company was doing. His book shows how close we came to a depression, but is somewhat insensitive and self-serving in my opinion.

    Scott's book focuses on the mathematics which mathematicians, statisticians and physicists used to try to find the "Truth". What they failed to comprehend was that their idealized equations are not well connected to reality. Their equations failed to handle the "rare" event in the tail of bell shaped curves, which is exactly what happened. I have seen this for years in my scientific careers.

    This book does an excellent job of explaining what happened. It follows the key characters within the companies, explains how Lehman did itself in, not Paulson as some suggest, and describes his internal battle to save the finanical system which had frozen up, despited deeply held beliefs that this was not how government should act. I still don't understand, however, having AIG receive 100 cents on the dollar. I still think that should have taken some of their lumps for their stupidity rather than have the taxpayer salvage them to the tune of billions of dollars. In a true Free Market society, the losers fail, not be rescued by the taxpayer while the taxpayer's net worth crumbles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    Awesome

    Couldn't put it down!

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  • Posted April 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    Highly Recommended

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    A grest read

    Though some of the words are foreign to nonconomics persons like myself, this book still dors a pretty good job of explaining the eco meltdown.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Highly Recommended! Very relevant to today's debt crises

    Very well written account of the subprime mortgage crisis that led us to the situation we are in today.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2010

    Excellent book

    I really enjoyed this one. Some fascinating insights into the personalities that drove the quant crisis. I speak from the point of view of a person who is an expert on Wall Street but a harsh critic of typical books about it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    What did you get from The Quants?

    If you want to learn the drama of the "Great Recession", there are bunches of books you can read. I believe most of the fans of "The Quants" are particularly interested in Mathematics and finding out how it could help nearly destroy the entire financial system.

    From digging into this book, what I got are:

    Outstanding Quants are excellent porker players and most of them are good at counting the cards at Black Jack Tables. The first time I went into the casino was back 1988 in Paradise Island, Bahamas when I was in early twenties. If you had a little bit sense of math, you could easily figure out that the overall probability of 10 points being dealt is more than 30% no matter if the dealers keep shuffling.

    Most of quantitative models are based on EMH. True, no matter how complex are the models, the simple concept is that traders believe prices of all of the securities will eventually reflect the impact of all information. The key is if you can immediately quantify the outcome of a piece of valid information amongst all rumors. If you have fond of modeling, you may pick a stock to quantify all information and rumors into a model, then predict the trend.

    Before the crisis, it had been considered that all risks in the market were well managed and controlled through sophisticated hedging strategies and solutions, even Greenspan agreed. People kept thinking that: "Oh, I hedge my position, someone else will take the risks, I am fully covered." But they forgot who someone else is, he is not God with unlimited power. He could leave the table without delivering the promise.

    As we understand, market is random, except a handful of black swans, most of the stocks will be up and down within a range. Buy Low/Sell High + Short Sell High/Buy Back Low should be the key factors in a model for speculators.

    Back 1988, one day in Paradise Island Casino & Resort, the predecessor of Atlantis, General Manager, an Italian, educated me: "Pat, you know as a legal business, casino doesn't cheat with tricks. We win over the gamblers because of time." What he meant is Casino has relatively unlimited cash individual gamblers can't match. In theory, Casino keeps running perpetually as long as it is not shut down. Probability will ensure it winning.

    So, as an individual or small institutional trader, don't try to beat the giant players. Building your model to follow them"

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    Excellent Book!!

    One of the best books I've read. The author does a tremendous job of detailing events that most of us would never have realized occurred and how close some of the biggest names in quant investing almost took each other down! This is the first book since Lowenstein's 'When Genius Failed' that I literally couldn't put down. Great read...would highly recommend!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    Eye opening!

    I have been an investor for many years and have long known that there is an elite world of finance that I am not privy to. I thought it to be the world of insider trading. Where CEO's and investment bankers share information with those of there inner cirle. Where those in the know are always a step ahead. "The Quants" opened my eyes to an even more elite world funded by those innner circles, but altogether different. Where math nerds, card sharps, and cumputer geeks reign supreme.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    A decent contemporary read.

    If you want to learn how to beat the Quants at their own game, then this book is a good place to start.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2011

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