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.

Finance Job Interviews
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eBook (Note: 14th Edition, no printing)

THIS IS A MUST READ! It is the first and the original book of quantitative questions from finance job interviews. Painstakingly revised over 22 years and 18 editions, Heard on The Street has been shaped by feedback from many hundreds of readers. With over 50,000 copies in print, its readership is unmatched by any competing book. The revised 18th edition contains 211 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 170 non-quantitative actual interview questions, giving a total of more than 380 actual finance job interview questions. 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 third edition: "Basic Black-Scholes" ISBN=9780994103857. 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 Univeristy. 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. His most recent practitioner job was as the head of a quantitative active equity research team at what was the world's largest institutional money manager.
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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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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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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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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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Gets to the heart of programming interview questions. Well written.
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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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This revised seventh 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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This revised fourth edition of the Q&A book accompanies Foundations for Scientific Investing. It provides 455 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 580 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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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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Revised fifth edition. Very insightful book. Carefully and well written. One of my longtime favorites.
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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.
Corporate Finance and Derivatives
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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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This revised third edition of Basic Black-Scholes gives extremely 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.

What makes this book special or unique?: -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 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. -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)).

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Revised second edition of Natenberg's masterpiece. I find it a little dry, but it is clear and informed.
Other Books
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Book description for revised second edition:

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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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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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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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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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 %$#!@ whereas Sampson Rock and Sam Rock actually have some heart. An excellent novel.
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A neat collection of short stories that appeared in McClure's Magazine around 1900. Some characters reappear in different stories, but the stories are each self-contained. This is the earliest work in which I have found the short-selling quote: "He who sells what isn't his'n, Must buy it back or go to pris'n (page 173)." If you want to feel the brass Ticky-ticky-ticky-tick of the ticker then read this book. The first story "The Lady and Her Bonds" appears to have been the inspiration for Lefevre's novel "Sampson Rock of Wall Street." If you liked "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator," you will love this book. Don't be dissuaded by the "out of print" label probably attached to this work - it can still be found and is worth the search.
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Sinister. Mysterious. Classic. Dark and Tiumphant. A good read. Not about Wall Street per se (a surprise given this author), but as good as any other Lefevre book. Four different stories, each self-contained, but overlapping very slightly. On p93 Lefevre mentions the previous collapse of Barings Brothers (yes, they collapsed once before about 100 years before Nick Leeson was born). Similar in mysterious nature to "The Golden Flood," also by Lefevre.
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Lefevre's best known work. An excellent novel. Read the Amazon reviews.
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This is where the expression "watered stock" comes from. The book is written from Drew's point of view - looking back over his life from age 80. Unlike Edwin Lefevre's characters, this guy is an unscrupulous arrogant !@#$%&. 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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Outstanding. Read the Amazon reviews.
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Outstanding. A modern classic. Read the Amazon reviews.


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Last Updated: September 5, 2017