My Life as a Quant

  • by Emanuel Derman
  • Narrated by Peter Ganim
  • 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In My Life as a Quant, Emanuel Derman relives his exciting journey as one of the first high-energy particle physicists to migrate to Wall Street. Derman details his adventures in this field, analyzing the incompatible personas of traders and quants, and discussing the dissimilar nature of knowledge in physics and finance. Throughout this tale, he also reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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What the Critics Say

"That sense of being an intruder in outlaw territory lends an intriguing mood to Derman's My Life As a Quant, a literate and entertaining memoir." (BusinessWeek)
"Who should read this book? Anyone with a serious interest in finance and everyone who simply wants to enjoy a good read." (Stephen Ross, Franco Modigliani Professor of Finance and Economics, Sloan School, MIT)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Quirky but thoughtful

This is quite an odd book, difficult to categorise or recommend. I was attracted to it because I wanted to understand more about the models used on Wall Street, and it did deliver on that dimension. However, the book is more a memoir than anything else and Derman's story is as much (or more) about his earlier life as a physicist as it is about finance. On the one hand, you could ask, 'Why should I be interested in the life of this random guy?', but, on the other, you have the simple fact that I was. He is, in many ways, highly reminiscent of Sheldon Cooper - the physicist in 'The Big Bang Theory' TV sit com, and I always had sympathy with that character too. But here, without the gags, Sheldon/Derman explains why particle physics is so attractive, and why physicist who understand (or are trying to understand) everything in the universe, tend to look down on other people. Sometimes Derman feels a bit sorry for himself, with his struggle to get a permanent academic post in Physics, or being lonely in a new, alien town, and it is interesting to see how this (clearly very bright) person thinks his way through his various troubles.
On the finance side Derman does indeed give good, understandable explanations of how the Black-Scholes options pricing model is used by Goldman Sacks and their ilk. I do understand this better now. In brief, it adds no value at all to the world, but allows banks to create casino's where they can sell almost any type of bet you (i.e. another bank) want to make to 'hedge' your risks. The models help them price all the bets correctly so that they (GS) will not lose money in any of the possible scenarios that actually unfold. Well, unless a really odd scenario that they didn't calculate for unfolds. After all, the model is based on some rather unrealistic assumptions - smooth diffusion of prices and nice thin tails - and not allowing for jumpy share prices or far-out events in 'fat tails', might lead to unforeseen problems. This book was written in 2004 when all was pretty hunky dory in the world of financial models and value at risk etc. I'm now keen to read the sequel 'Models. Behaving. Badly.'
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- Judy Corstjens

Excellent reading

Not just any quant he was an important player. I later realised I had been reading his papers and have seen references to his work in mainstream books. I was also a physicist and now work in a bank so perhaps it is more relevant for me than most.

The book is very well written and well read. The content was interesting to me. E.g. Interesting how such a successful and bright individual was made redundant when in the wrong environment.
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- Lal-Akash

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-11-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios