My Favorite Books

I recommend only books that I have written or that I have read.* Follow the links to go to Amazon to buy the books.

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Finance Job Interviews
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[Heard on The Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews; Timothy Falcon Crack] THIS IS A MUST READ! It is the first and the original book of quantitative questions from finance job interviews. Painstakingly revised over 27 years and 22 editions, Heard on The Street has been shaped by feedback from many hundreds of readers. With over 60,000 copies in print, its readership is unmatched by any competing book. The revised 22nd edition contains 239 quantitative questions collected from actual job interviews in investment banking, investment management, and options trading. The interviewers use the same questions year-after-year, and here they are with detailed solutions! This edition also includes 264 non-quantitative actual interview questions, giving a total of more than 500 actual finance job interview questions.

Starting with the 22nd edition, questions that appeared in (or are likely to appear in) traditional corporate finance job interviews are indicated with a bank symbol in the margin (71 of the quant questions and 192 of the non-quant questions). This makes it easier for corporate finance candidates to go directly to the questions most relevant to them. Most of these questions also appeared in capital markets interviews and quant interviews. So, they should not be skipped over by capital markets or quant candidates unless they are obviously irrelevant.

There is also a revised section on interview technique based on Dr. Crack's experiences interviewing candidates and also based on feedback from interviewers worldwide. The quant questions cover pure quant/logic, financial economics, derivatives, and statistics. They come from all types of interviews (corporate finance, sales and trading, quant research, etc.), and from all levels of interviews (undergraduate, MS, MBA, PhD).

The first seven editions of Heard on the Street contained an appendix on option pricing. That appendix was carved out as a standalone book many years ago and it is now available in its revised fifth edition (see "Basic Black-Scholes" below).

Dr. Crack did PhD coursework at MIT and Harvard, and graduated with a PhD from MIT. He has won many teaching awards, and has publications in the top academic, practitioner, and teaching journals in finance. He has degrees/diplomas in Mathematics/Statistics, Finance, Financial Economics and Accounting/Finance. Dr. Crack taught at the university level for over 25 years including four years as a front line teaching assistant for MBA students at MIT, and four years teaching undergraduates, MBAs, and PhDs at Indiana University. He has worked as an independent consultant to the New York Stock Exchange and to a foreign government body investigating wrong doing in the financial markets. He previously held a practitioner job as the head of a quantitative active equity research team at what was the world's largest institutional money manager.

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[Pocket Heard on The Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews; Timothy Falcon Crack] This 196-page pocket edition contains a careful selection of 75 of the best quantitative questions collected from actual job interviews in investment banking, investment management, and options trading. The interviewers use the same questions year-after-year, and here they are with detailed solutions!
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[Pocket Heard on The Street: Brain Teasers, Thinking Questions, and Non-Quantitative Questions from Finance Job Interviews; Timothy Falcon Crack] This 102-page pocket edition contains a careful selection of 20 brain teasers, 30 thinking questions, and over 100 non-quantitative questions, collected from actual job interviews in investment banking, investment management, and options trading. The interviewers use the same questions year-after-year, and here they are. The brain teasers and more than half the thinking questions are presented with detailed solutions.
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[Investment Banking Focus Notes: Pearl and Rosenbaum] The focus notes book from Pearl and Rosenbaum's recent investment banking series of books. I strongly recommend this for anyone new to investment banking and investment banking job interviews. It reviews key elements you may have learned in college along with practical issues faced by bankers every day. No job interview questions, but all the technical background summarized to bring you up to speed.
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[Quant Job Interview Questions and Answers; Joshi] Mark Joshi's book that competes with mine. I am biased in favor of my own book, obviously, but Mark Joshi (another MIT grad) has produced an excellent book here.
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[Programming Interviews Exposed; Mongan] Gets to the heart of programming interview questions. Well written.
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[A Practical Guide to Quantitative Finance Interviews; Zhou] It has dice on the cover. What else can I say? It is difficult for me to get excited about this book. It is OK, but I think the real reason this book has been popular is that it is relatively inexpensive.
Investments
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[Foundations for Scientific Investing; Timothy Falcon Crack] This revised tenth edition provides a firm foundation for thinking about and conducting investment. I wrote this book because I have 50+ investments books on my bookshelf, and none of them is suitable for the advanced undergraduate course I teach. My book walks you through basic quant skills first, and then foundations of finance, and then practical applications of theory. The Web site that accompanies the book has downloadable spreadsheets to demonstrate concepts and aid the worked examples. This book can be used at an advanced undergraduate level (the author uses it for this at his university) or a masters level. It can also be used by PhD students without an undergrad or masters in financial economics who need to come up to speed with advanced reviews of literature and theoretical topics (multiple PhD students at the author's university have used it for this purpose). See also the accompanying Q&A book next in the list.
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[Foundations for Scientific Investing: Multiple-Choice, Short-Answer and Long-Answer Test Questions; Timothy Falcon Crack] This revised seventh edition of the Q&A book accompanies Foundations for Scientific Investing. It provides 600+ multiple-choice, and 125 short-answer questions to accompany the long-answer questions already appearing in Foundations for Scientific Investing. The long-answer questions are repeated here also, giving a total of more than 700 test questions. The suggested solutions to the multiple-choice and short-answer questions appear here and are also available, free of charge, at the Web site for the book (using the password in the book). If you have purchased the eBook version of this book (which uses DRM-PDF and is not able to be printed), it might be easiest to print out the Web-based solutions to consult while viewing the eBook questions. Note that the cover image may differ.
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[The Intelligent Investor; Warren Buffet] If you have not read this book, then you cannot claim to be informed about investing. Warren Buffett describes it as "By far the best book on investing ever written." It is a relatively non-technical read. It is the antidote if your mind has been poisoned by the fine detail of academic finance or the unreliable advice of charlatan financial advisors. By the time I had finished reading it, I had 20 post-it notes sticking out of it with comments on important points I wanted to return to.
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[Modern Investment Theory; Haugen] Revised fifth edition. Very insightful book. Carefully and well written. One of my longtime favorites.
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[Active Portfolio Management; Grinold and Kahn] Grinold and Kahn's excellent book on active management. See my Foundations for Scientific Investment, above, for worked examples to help you understand Grinold and Kahn's masterpiece.
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[Everyday Millionaires; Chris Hogan] If you want marriage advice, ask someone who has been married for a long time. If you want to know how to become a millionaire, ask more than 10,000 millionaires to answer a series of survey questions. Chris Hogan's book summarizes the results of his survey of more than 10,000 millionaires. I have used this book in teaching my investments course for several years. What do millionaires do that leads to them being millionaires? What do they not do? The answers to the survey questions are consistent common sense solutions to becoming a millionaire. They grab the attention of my students every time.
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[Where are the Customers' Yachts?; Fred Schwed] Fred Schwed's masterpiece. Originally published in 1940 and still selling like hot cakes. It contains drawings by Arno (or New Yorker fame). You would be hard pressed to find a more skeptical investments book then Schwed's. Schwed went to work on Wall Street in 1927, and he has much to say about misguided guidance. His book contains no equations, tables, figures, or graphs. Instead, it is a very approachable collection of tales about the pitfalls of being a speculator or an investor. Although 10% of Schwed's humor would be considered inappropriate today, 99% of the finance content is still fresh and relevant 80+ years after it was written.
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[The Theory of Investment Value; John Burr Williams] A quality reproduction of the original 1938 book. Williams is responsible for many seminal concepts that appear in a basic introductory finance class. He gives the basic dividend discount model (DDM) using the present value (PV) of all future dividends. He gives the basic bond valuation model as the PV of an annuity of coupons plus the PV of the lump sum final repayment of principal. He discusses the DDM mdel versus a discounted earnings model. He discusses the theoretical irrelevance of capital structure for firm valuation long before Modigliani and Miller (1958) thought about it. He discusses the importance of liquidity as an attribute of an investment long before it was designated a ``risk factor." ...and all of that is in only the first 75 pages of this 500+ page book. Go on to find multiple-growth rate DDMs discussed in some detail 40 years before Fuller (1979), a discussion of options, warrants and convertibles, then inflation and government bonds, then determinants of interest rates and "the future of interest rates", concluding with case studies of major US corporations.
Corporate Finance and Derivatives
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[How to Ace Your Business Finance Class; Timothy Falcon Crack] The revised third edition of this pocket-sized book is aimed at students in their first finance class at the undergraduate, MBA, or executive education level. I use 25 years of experience teaching this material to explain carefully the stumbling blocks that have consistently tripped up students year after year. This gives every student every opportunity to master the material. I also present safe strategies I have developed to help you solve numerical problems. Although these strategies take only an extra minute to implement, they frame each numerical problem so as to increase the likelihood that you detect and fix any errors, while reducing the likelihood that you make any errors in the first place. These techniques also increase the likelihood that you earn partial credit. Although this book is aimed primarily at students, the fact that I focus on essential knowledge and techniques also makes this book useful to instructors.
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[Basic Black-Scholes: Option Pricing and Trading; Timothy Falcon Crack] This revised fifth edition of Basic Black-Scholes gives clear explanations of Black-Scholes option pricing theory, and discusses direct applications of the theory to option trading. The presentation does not go far beyond basic Black-Scholes for three reasons: First, a novice need not go far beyond Black-Scholes to make money in the options markets; Second, all high-level option pricing theory is simply an extension of Black-Scholes; and Third, there already exist many books that look far beyond Black-Scholes without first laying the firm foundation given here. The trading advice does not go far beyond elementary call and put positions because more complex trades are simply combinations of these.

The following topics make this book special or unique (roughly in order of increasing complexity):

  • It contains the basic intuition you need to trade options for the first time, or interview for an options job. Honest advice about trading: there is no simple way to beat the markets, but if you have skill this advice can help make you money, and if you have no skill but still choose to trade, this advice can reduce your losses.
  • Full immersion treatment of transactions costs (T-costs).
  • Lessons from trading stated in simple terms.
  • Stylized facts about the markets (e.g., how to profit from reversals, when are T-costs highest/lowest during the trading day, implications of the market for corporate control, etc.).
  • How to apply (European-style) Black-Scholes pricing to the trading of (American-style) options.
  • Leverage through margin trading compared to leverage through options.
  • Black-Scholes option pricing code for the HP17B, HP19B, and HP12C.
  • Two downloadable spreadsheets. The first allows the user to forecast T-costs for option positions using simple models.
  • The second allows the user to explore option sensitivities including the Greeks.
  • Practitioner Bloomberg Terminal screenshots to aid learning.
  • Simple discussion of continuously-compounded returns.
  • Introduction to "paratrading" (trading stocks side-by-side with options to generate additional profit).
  • Unique "regrets" treatment of early exercise decisions and trade-offs for American-style calls and puts.
  • Unique discussion of put-call parity and option pricing. -How to calculate Black-Scholes in your head in 10 seconds (also appearing in Heard on The Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews).
  • Special attention to arithmetic Brownian motion with general pricing formulae and comparisons to Bachelier (1900) and Black-Scholes (1972, 1973).
  • Careful attention to the impact of dividends in analytical American option pricing.
  • Dimensional analysis and the adequation formula (relating FX call and FX put prices through transformed Black-Scholes formulae).
  • Intuitive review of risk-neutral pricing/probabilities and how and why these are related to physical pricing/probabilities.
  • Careful distinction between the early Merton (non-risk-neutral) hedging-type argument and later Cox-Ross/Harrison-Kreps risk-neutral pricing.
  • Simple discussion of Monte-Carlo methods in science and option pricing.
  • Simple interpretations of the Black-Scholes formula and PDE and implications for trading.
  • Careful discussion of conditional probabilities as they relate to Black-Scholes.
  • Intuitive treatment of high-level topics e.g., bond-numeraire interpretation of Black-Scholes (where N(d2) is P*(ITM)) versus the stock-numeraire interpretation (where N(d1) is P**(ITM)).
  • Introduction and discussion of the risk-neutral probability that a European-style call or put option is ever in the money during its life.

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[Understanding Put and Call Options; How to Use Them to Reduce Risk in Your Stock Market Operations; Herbert Filer] My Amazon Review: I was happy to get a good quality slim soft-cover edition. Printed in the USA. Delivered quickly. Well packaged. It is Filer's interaction with Nobel-prize winner Paul Samuelson that led to the naming of options as "American-style" or "European-style" (as discussed in my own option pricing book "Basic Black-Scholes"). Other readers have given this book only a couple of stars. Keep in mind, however, that this was the first book on options written/published in the US, back in 1959. It has its place in the history of the world, and that's one reason why you should buy it. I think the folks who gave it two stars wanted a Tesla, and did not realize until it arrived that they were buying a Model-T Ford. That's not an insult. It is old fashioned, but well made and reliable. Yes, his discussion in couched in terms of a "customer's man" and the Put and Call Brokers' and Dealers' Association (PCBDA), etc., all long gone, but the underlying economic intuition and strategies are perfectly current. For example, a novice trader thinking of using Robinhood to trade options would be well advised to read this slim little book first. Filer walks through a long list of simple option strategies, with clear explanations. Although I have traded options for 20+ years, and taught options pricing at the undergraduate, MBA, and PhD level, some of these less speculative uses of options were new to me. His careful descriptions of speculative and non-speculative uses of options is a second reason why you should buy it. I do not find these descriptions to be at all outdated. There are no equations in the book. For some people this is a third reason to buy it.
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[Option Volatility and Pricing; Sheldon Natenberg] Revised second edition of Natenberg's masterpiece. It may be a little dry, but it is clear and informed. A wonderful complement to John C. Hull's popular book.
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[Interviews With Top University Teachers: How to Build Quality Teaching, Inspire Your Students, and Create More Time for Research; Timothy Falcon Crack.]

If you are a university teacher, you need to read this book! The author's goal is to help you to build quality into your teaching. Quality teaching inspires students, meets learning objectives, and yields excellent teaching evaluations. Quality teaching also exploits teaching efficiencies to create more time for research. To meet all these goals, the author interviewed a select sample of outstanding university teachers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Israel, and New Zealand. Their advice has been interwoven with reflections upon the author's 30-year award-winning university teaching career in the U.S. and New Zealand. The book also includes a discussion of practical attitudes towards teaching and teaching motivation, plus dozens of stories (and even some horror stories) that serve as parables. The majority of the teaching advice is based on face-to-face instruction in the classroom, but much of it also carries over to remote/online teaching. Most of the advice is "purely mechanical," in the sense that you don't need any special skills or abilities to implement it. University teachers can use this book to improve their job performance and job satisfaction, and to increase the likelihood of promotion and career success. University administrators can give this book to new teachers to help build quality teaching from Day 1.

This handy pocket-sized edition (4.37in x 7in; 111mm x 178mm) is surprisingly comprehensive. It is 400-pages long, with 11 chapters, 95 references to literature, and a 10-page 900-item index. Follow the eBook link and use Amazon's "Look Inside" feature to view the Table of Contents.

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[24 Essential Tips for Selling Print Replica eBooks on Amazon: How to Capture New Readers by Turning Your Physical Book into an eBook; Timothy Falcon Crack]

This 50-page eBook gives more than two-dozen essential tips that I have accumulated after several years of turning my self-published physical print books into "print replica" eBooks that I sell on Amazon.com. (What did I learn the hard way? What did I wish I had known before I published eBooks? What are the biggest trip-ups you need to watch out for?)

A print replica eBook uses a simple pdf-formatted text block. (The text block is the inside pages of a book, as distinct from its cover.) Most software packages can output pdf files. Using pdf files means that there is no messing around with unfamiliar EPUB or MOBI formatting, HTML code, or reflowable eBooks (i.e., where the book reorganizes itself when the reader resizes the text). Nevertheless, some of my advice still applies to these other eBook formats.

This is not a "How to Write an eBook" book. Nor is it a "How to Market Your Book/eBook on Amazon" book. There are already at least 50 books available for sale on Amazon.com with each of these titles (or almost exactly these titles). Instead, I assume that you have already written all the content for your book, and that you also have a cover image prepared, and that you can handle eBook marketing without my help. My only goal is to help guide you through the process of getting set up to sell "print replica" eBooks on Amazon.com.

Although I assume that you want to turn physical print books into eBooks, this is not a prerequisite. For example, there is no physical print edition of this eBook, but I followed the advice given here to set it up and sell it on Amazon. So, you can follow my eBook advice whether you sell physical books or not.

Why sell your book as an eBook? At first I worried that an eBook would simply cannibalize some of my physical book sales (and at a lower dollar royalty per book). To the contrary, the count of new readers attracted to my eBooks more than compensates for any cannibalization of physical book sales. Some readers always prefer a physical book, some readers always prefer an eBook, and some readers who would usually prefer a physical book may be in such a hurry (or they may simply be so tempted) that they will buy the eBook because it gives them immediate delivery. So, if you are not selling your books as eBooks, then you are missing out on customers and the royalty income they provide.

In the introduction I compare and contrast physical book selling with eBook selling. Then I discuss Amazon print replica eBooks. In subsequent chapters I discuss issues you have control over, issues you have limited control over, and issues you have no control over (but which you need to know about anyway). I finish the book by discussing software bugs and other issues that you need to be aware of.

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[Green Dog's Dunedin Mystery; Julia Crack and Timothy Crack] Green Dog has lost his bone. Where can it be? Help Green Dog search for his bone in his favourite places. A delightful 28-page picture book suitable for boys and girls aged 3 to 8. The book contains attractive full-colour photographs of well-known places in Dunedin, New Zealand. There are hidden elements throughout that children can search for after finishing the story.
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[Ghosts; Malcolm Crack and Timothy Crack] This is a book of silly ghosts suitable for children aged 3 to 8. The book uses hand-drawn illustrations and simple text to help children dispel any fears of ghosts. Many different kinds of ghosts are shown, and there are interactive elements for children at the end of the book.
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[Your Powerful Choice: Timothy Crack] The author is an MIT PhD who has won multiple teaching awards. This is an empowering personal account of his success in fighting obesity and the obesity gene. There are no recipes, no menu plans, and no exercise plans. Rather, this is a book about informed decision making. It contains information, observations, and advice designed to help you make a powerful choice: the choice to attain and maintain good health and a healthy weight.

It was written especially for people who have tried to get to a healthy weight already and have failed, perhaps more than once. This book is about being committed and making powerful choices.

You will not find a picture of a half-dressed impossibly fit young man or woman on the front cover of this book. Few, if any, overweight people can achieve that level of fitness, and books with images like that are misleading for most readers. Instead, this book is full of hard truths and successful techniques for achieving a healthy weight. The author's personal experiences mean that he is unafraid to write openly and honestly about being fat and unhealthy and how to fight these successfully---even in the face of a genetic predisposition towards obesity. This book is supportive, but in an honest tough-love kind of way.

The book contains references to and discussion of more than 40 recent research studies. These include medical journal articles from top journals, respected government research, articles from top university researchers, and other related research. Although many of the articles are written at an advanced level, the discussion of them in the book is simplified to make them accessible to all.

Some people will find this book offensive because the author calls a spade a spade. He referred to himself as "fat" when he was fat, and argues that being open and honest about it was liberating. If you cannot label yourself as "fat," because you view this term as offensive, rather than a simple statement of scientific fact, then donít buy this book.

Some people will find this book hubristic because the author gives multiple examples of making powerful choices in his own life with successful outcomes, and because he presents techniques to get healthy that worked for him. If you easily mistake advice from successful people for hubris, then donít buy this book.

If, however, you have reached a stage in your life where you are ready to be honest about being fat, and you are ready to accept advice from someone who has been in your shoes and in your head, then this may be the book to change your life.

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[The Golden Flood; Edwin Lefevre] A classic! Mysterious and intriguing. It is a short read and fast page turner. Like many of Lefevre's books it is set at the turn of the 20th century and with a finance background. It complements the more popular Reminiscences book, but shows Lefevre in a different light - that of the mystery writer. It is almost sinister in its plot.
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[Samson Rock of Wall Street; Edwin Lefevre]Partly inspired by "The Lady and Her Bonds" story from Lefevre's 1901 book "Wall Street Stories." Subtitled "A Novel," because it is. It is longer and more slow-paced with "more story" than is the more popular "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator." I think Sampson Rock and Sam Rock are inspired by JP Morgan and his son Jack, respectively (read Ron Chernow's book "The House of Morgan" for their glum story - a real downer). However, the characters here are much happier than were the Morgans. This is a good read! This is similar to Bouck White's book "The Book of Daniel Drew," except Drew was a complete %$#!@ whereas Sampson Rock and Sam Rock actually have some heart. An excellent novel.
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[Wall Street Stories; Edwin Lefevre]A neat collection of short stories that appeared in McClure's Magazine around 1900. Some characters reappear in different stories, but the stories are each self-contained. This is the earliest work in which I have found the short-selling quote: "He who sells what isn't his'n, Must buy it back or go to pris'n (page 173)." If you want to feel the brass Ticky-ticky-ticky-tick of the ticker then read this book. The first story "The Lady and Her Bonds" appears to have been the inspiration for Lefevre's novel "Sampson Rock of Wall Street." If you liked "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator," you will love this book. Don't be dissuaded by the "out of print" label probably attached to this work - it can still be found and is worth the search.
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[The Plunderers; Edwin Lefevre] Sinister. Mysterious. Classic. Dark and Tiumphant. A good read. Not about Wall Street per se (a surprise given this author), but as good as any other Lefevre book. Four different stories, each self-contained, but overlapping very slightly. On p93 Lefevre mentions the previous collapse of Barings Brothers (yes, they collapsed once before about 100 years before Nick Leeson was born). Similar in mysterious nature to "The Golden Flood," also by Lefevre.
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[Reminiscences of a Stock Operator; Edwin Lefevre] Lefevre's best known work. An excellent novel. Read the Amazon reviews.
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[The Book of Daniel Drew; Bouck White] This is where the expression "watered stock" comes from. The book is written from Drew's point of view - looking back over his life from age 80. Unlike Edwin Lefevre's characters, this guy is an unscrupulous arrogant !@#$%&. However, he is a !@#$%& with religion! A couple of annoying things: he writes the way uneducated people talk, rather than in correct English (e.g., "speckilation"); he uses quite objectionable words to refer to dark-skinned people (as was perhaps the custom in the 1850's or 1860's). Goes hand-in-hand with the work of Edwin Lefevre (Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, Wall Street Stories, The Golden Flood, The Plunderers, Sampson Rock of Wall Street) if you want a picture of the of the financial world of 100 years ago.
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[FIASCO; Frank Partnoy] Outstanding. Read the Amazon reviews.
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[Liar's Poker; Michael Lewis] Outstanding. A modern classic. Read the Amazon reviews.
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[A Man for All Markets; Edward O. Thorpe] I have been very interested in the history of option pricing for more than 25 years. Most of what I knew was about Samuelson, Merton, Black, Scholes, Cox, etc. (each of whom I have either taken a class from, or watched give presentations, or I read many works written by them, and so on). Thorp's name was mentioned often by others (though I never heard Samuelson, Merton, Black, Scholes, or Cox mention him), but I have never been able to find accurate and reliable information about his work. This is an interesting and well written book that places Thorp clearly in the history of option pricing. His work ran parallel to the career academics, and was often ahead of them. One mystery remains. Samuelson was a gentleman every time I saw him, so why was Samuelson's published 1968 JASA review of Thorp and Kassouf's Beat the Market so nasty?


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Last Updated: September 23, 2021