The physics of Wall Street : a brief history of predicting the unpredictable /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Weatherall, James Owen.
Imprint:Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
Description:xviii, 286 p. ; 25 cm.
Subject:Securities -- United States.
Wall Street (New York, N.Y.)
New York (State) -- New York -- Wall Street.
United States.
Format: Print Book
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Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. [250]-268) and index.
Review by Choice Review

In a work perhaps more aptly titled "The Physicists of Wall Street," physicist, mathematician, and philosopher Weatherall (Univ. of California, Irvine) ably traces the story of the discoveries leading to today's "legions of quants: physicists and mathematicians who [came] to Wall Street and changed it forever." The author provides a nontechnical account of the mathematics of financial markets--basically a sophisticated branch of probability theory. There is not one equation in the book, and only a few graphs that clarify explanations. Thus, readers will not become successful traders simply by consulting the book. However, the extended cameo portraits of the major contributors to the field are riveting. These include Louis Bachelier, whose pathfinder thesis of 1900, Theory of Speculation, properly recognized only long after his death, began the quest; M. F. M. Osborne, who refined the theory; Edward Thorp, master of the short sell; Benoit Mandelbrot, the discoverer of fractals; and Fischer Black, of Black-Scholes modeling. Yet the markets continue to rise and fall unpredictably, and even "quants," by their educated choices, almost caused the entire world economy to come crashing down (and would have without a government bailout), as the 1998 case of Long-Term Capital Management illustrated. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty. M. Schiff CUNY College of Staten Island

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review