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Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street [NOOK Book]

Overview

Everyone talks about risk, but few people give serious thought to what risk is. It's hard to describe it without expressing an opinion—we like things that are innovative, daring, creative, and bold; but those are exactly the same things that are reckless, speculative, risky, and irresponsible.

This book is the story of a group of young math whizzes who unleashed a revolution—one that reshaped our financial system and continues to echo through the halls of government, ...

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Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street

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Overview

Everyone talks about risk, but few people give serious thought to what risk is. It's hard to describe it without expressing an opinion—we like things that are innovative, daring, creative, and bold; but those are exactly the same things that are reckless, speculative, risky, and irresponsible.

This book is the story of a group of young math whizzes who unleashed a revolution—one that reshaped our financial system and continues to echo through the halls of government, universities, and corporations today. In the 1970s, disillusioned with the sorry state of quantitative analysis, these young mathematicians (soon to be known as "quants") invented a new way of looking at probability and set out to prove it in the ultimate testing ground of odds-making: Las Vegas.

Once there, the quants turned conventional wisdom about gambling on its head.People said you can't beat the house, yet the quants managed to beat blackjack and other casino games. People said you needed a lifetime to learn poker, yet the quants' aggressive mathematical tactics swept the table against the best players in the world. Then the quants turned to sports betting, overturning the business model and squeezing out local bookies with a global organization that matched bets without taking risk.

Armed with their theories and experience, the quants raised their sights and headed to Wall Street, determined to replicate their success. Finance was a tougher challenge than gambling, but by the mid-1990s, the quants had remade WallStreet as thoroughly as they had remade Las Vegas. That transformation went unnoticed by the bond salesmen and investment bankers who ran Wall Street, as well as by academics, regulators, journalists, and investors; yet these changes caused both the greatest wealth creation event in the history of the world, and also to the financial disasters we have witnessed in its wake.

There's more here than just a lesson in recent financial history, however. Brown's story goes beyond the headlines to explore basic questions of economics,like the meaning of property and the nature of exchange. Along the way, it reveals secrets about the building of the pyramids, the glory of ancient Athens, the forcethat built the Roman Empire, a world-changing invention from medieval Italy, a secret in a mysterious letter written in 1654 and not decoded until the 1990s, and an essential aspect of the American Revolution left out of history books.

This book will change the way you think about everything from history, risk, and money to vampires, zombies, and tulips. It offers a fascinating and thrillingaccount of great events that have never before been described in an easily accessible form. There are bold ideas, colorful characters, and, most important, the keys to understanding the modern financial world and how its inner workings affect our daily lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wickedly original, one of the most fascinating accounts I have ever seen. A rollicking and highly opinionated read." (Risk Professional, October 2011)

“No one who reads Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street will ever again regard risk management as a necessary but unproductive appendage of the financial industry. Other authors have chronicled how quantitative finance influenced investment management, but Aaron Brown has made a compelling case for a far more profound economic impact. . . If Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street dealt with nothing more than the inadequacy of models used in highly important activities, it would represent a valuable contribution to financial economics. Brown’s book, however, covers a great deal more than econometric malpractice. Probably no other book offers as much insight into the process with so little resort to mathematical notation. Especially valuable are Brown’s discussions of middle-office risk management and value at risk, comparatively recent innovations that are essential to understanding modern financial institutions. Readers of Red-Blooded Risk should be prepared to have many of their assumptions challenged. Red-Blooded Risk is one of the most original and thought-provoking books reviewed in these pages in the past 20 years. No one who reads it will ever again regard risk management as a necessary but unproductive appendage of the financial industry. Other authors have chronicled how quantitative finance influenced investment management, but Aaron Brown has made a compelling case for a far more profound economic impact.”
Martin S. Fridson, CFA Institute Publications Book Reviews

“Red-Blooded Risk
mixes risk history and philosophy nimbly and provides a perspective that can be both refreshing and challenging (often on the same page). While the book is not without weaknesses, it is also brimming with original perspectives and controversial opinions. Those who work in risk management or quantitative finance will enjoy Brown’s story-telling and expert perspectives, even if they do not share his views, while non-quants will find his insights and confessions to be a useful glimpse into the psyche and ethos of an influential group of early quantitative risk takers.
Roger M. Stein, Research and Academic Relations, Moody’s Corporation, as reviewed in Quantitative Finance (August 6, 2012)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118140178
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/9/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 386
  • Sales rank: 923,663
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

Aaron Brown is risk manager at AQR Capital Management and the author of The Poker Face of Wall Street (Wiley), selected one of the ten best books of 2006 by BusinessWeek, and A World of Chance with Reuven and Gabrielle Brenner. In his thirty-year Wall Street career, he has been a trader, portfolio manager, head of mortgage securities, and risk manager for institutions including Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. He also served a stint as a finance professor and was among the top poker players in the world during the 1970s and 1980s. He holds degrees in applied mathematics from Harvard and in finance and statistics from the University of Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Chapter 1 What This Book Is and Why You Should Read It 1

Risk, Danger, and Opportunity 2

Red- Blooded Risk Management 4

Risk and Life 7

Play and Money 9

Frequentism 11

Rationality 13

Bets 15

Exponentials and Culture 18

Payoff 20

Chapter 2 Red Blood and Blue Blood 23

Chapter 3 Pascal's Wager and the Seven Principles of Risk Management 29

Principle I: Risk Duality 32

Principle II: Valuable Boundary 33

Principle III: Risk Ignition 35

Principle IV: Money 38

Outside the VaR Boundary 40

Principle V: Evolution 45

Principle VI: Superposition 48

Principle VII: Game Theory 49

Chapter 4 The Secret History of Wall Street: 1654– 1982 57

Pascal and Fermat 58

Poker 61

Advantage Gamblers 62

Sports Betting 63

Quants to Wall Street 66

Finance People 68

Real Finance 69

Chapter 5 When Harry Met Kelly 73

Kelly 74

Harry 76

Commodity Futures 79

If Harry Knew Kelly 84

Investment Growth Theory 88

eRaider.com 92

MPT Out in the World 96

Chapter 6 Exponentials, Vampires, Zombies, and Tulips 101

Types of Growth 102

The Negative Side 105

Tulips 106

Tulip Propaganda 108

Quantitative Tulip Modeling 111

Money 112

Chapter 7 Money 117

Chapter 8 The Story of Money: The Past 125

Property, Exchange, and Money 126

Paleonomics 128

Transition 131

What Money Does 134

Risk 135

Government and Paper 138

Paper versus Metal 142

1776 and All That 145

Andrew Dexter 147

A Short Digression into Politics and Religion 150

Chapter 9 The Secret History of Wall Street: 1983– 1987 155

Effi cient Markets 157

Anomalies 159

The Price Is Right . . . Not! 161

Effi ciency versus Equilibrium 162

Beating the Market 165

Paths 170

Sharpe Ratios and Wealth 174

1987 177

Chapter 10 The Story of Money: The Future 179

Farmers and Millers 180

Money, New and Improved 183

A General Theory of Money 185

Value and Money 189

Numeraire 191

Clearinghouses 196

Cash 197

Derivative Money 200

The End of Paper 203

Chapter 11 Cold Blood 207

Chapter 12 What Does a Risk Manager Do?—Inside VaR 213

Professional Standards 213

Front Offi ce 215

Trading Risk 217

Quants on the Job 218

Middle Office 222

Back Office 225

Middle Office Again 227

Looking Backward 228

Risk Control 230

Beyond Profi t and Loss 232

Numbers 234

The Banks of the Charles 236

Waste 238

The Banks of the Potomac 241

The Summer of My Discontent 245

Validation 247

Chapter 13 VaR of the Jungle 251

Chapter 14 The Secret History of Wall Street: 1988– 1992 255

Smile 256

Back to the Dissertation 258

Three Paths 262

An Unexpected Twist 265

Surprise! 267

Computing VaR 271

Chapter 15 Hot Blood and Thin Blood 277

Chapter 16 What Does a Risk Manager Do?— Outside VaR 283

Stress Tests 283

Trans- VaR Scenarios 287

Black Holes 289

Why Risk Managers Failed to Prevent the Financial Crisis 290

Managing Risk 296

Unspeakable Truth Number One: Risk Managers Should Make Sure Firms Fail 299

Unspeakable Truth Number Two: There’s Good Stuff beyond the VaR Limit 305

Unspeakable Truth Number Three: Risk Managers Create Risk 309

Chapter 17 The Story of Risk 313

Chapter 18 Frequency versus Degree of Belief 323

Statistical Games 324

Thorp, Black, Scholes, and Merton 329

Change of Numeraire 333

Polling 336

The Quant Revolution 341

Chapter 19 The Secret History of Wall Street: 1993– 2007 345

Where Did the Money Come From? 348

Where Did They Put the Money? 359

Where Did the Money Go? 364

Chapter 20 The Secret History of Wall Street: The 2007 Crisis and Beyond 369

Postmortem 379

A Risk Management Curriculum 387

One Hundred Useful Books 393

About the Author 401

About the Illustrator 403

Index 405

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    Pike to person bellow

    Its a book about a mouse who lives in an abby called redwall with other animals (mice squirrles moles voles shrews hedgehogs otters) and he has a bunch of adventures.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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