The Quants

The Quants

How A New Breed of Math Wizards Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
3
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”
--Warren Buffett

In March of 2006, the world’s richest men sipped champagne in an opulent New York hotel. They were preparing to compete in a poker tournament with million-dollar stakes, but those numbers meant nothing to them. They were accustomed to risking billions.

At the card table that night was Peter Muller, an eccentric, whip-smart whiz kid who’d studied theoretical mathematics at Princeton and now managed a fabulously successful hedge fund called PDT…when he wasn’t playing his keyboard for morning commuters on the New York subway. With him was Ken Griffin, who as an undergraduate trading convertible bonds out of his Harvard dorm room had outsmarted the Wall Street pros and made money in one of the worst bear markets of all time. Now he was the tough-as-nails head of Citadel Investment Group, one of the most powerful money machines on earth. There too were Cliff Asness, the sharp-tongued, mercurial founder of the hedge fund AQR, a man as famous for his computer-smashing rages as for his brilliance, and Boaz Weinstein, chess life-master and king of the credit default swap, who while juggling $30 billion worth of positions for Deutsche Bank found time for frequent visits to Las Vegas with the famed MIT card-counting team.

On that night in 2006, these four men and their cohorts were the new kings of Wall Street. Muller, Griffin, Asness, and Weinstein were among the best and brightest of a new breed, the quants. Over the prior twenty years, this species of math whiz --technocrats who make billions not with gut calls or fundamental analysis but with formulas and high-speed computers-- had usurped the testosterone-fueled, kill-or-be-killed risk-takers who’d long been the alpha males the world’s largest casino. The quants believed that a dizzying, indecipherable-to-mere-mortals cocktail of differential calculus, quantum physics, and advanced geometry held the key to reaping riches from the financial markets. And they helped create a digitized money-trading machine that could shift billions around the globe with the click of a mouse.

Few realized that night, though, that in creating this unprecedented machine, men like Muller, Griffin, Asness and Weinstein had sowed the seeds for history’s greatest financial disaster.

Drawing on unprecedented access to these four number-crunching titans, The Quants tells the inside story of what they thought and felt in the days and weeks when they helplessly watched much of their net worth vaporize – and wondered just how their mind-bending formulas and genius-level IQ’s had led them so wrong, so fast. Had their years of success been dumb luck, fool’s gold, a good run that could come to an end on any given day? What if The Truth they sought -- the secret of the markets -- wasn’t knowable? Worse, what if there wasn’t any Truth?

In The Quants, Scott Patterson tells the story not just of these men, but of Jim Simons, the reclusive founder of the most successful hedge fund in history; Aaron Brown, the quant who used his math skills to humiliate Wall Street’s old guard at their trademark game of Liar’s Poker, and years later found himself with a front-row seat to the rapid emergence of mortgage-backed securities; and gadflies and dissenters such as Paul Wilmott, Nassim Taleb, and Benoit Mandelbrot.

With the immediacy of today’s NASDAQ close and the timeless power of a Greek tragedy, The Quants is at once a masterpiece of explanatory journalism, a gripping tale of ambition and hubris…and an ominous warning about Wall Street’s future.


Baker & Taylor
Documents the contributions of a team of young math geniuses who applied Vegas strategies to Wall Street and set in motion widespread market collapses.

Book News
The 'quants' are a new breed of Wall Street investor, elite math whizzes who use complicated algorithms and high-speed computers to profit from the system as a giant casino. In this a tale of greed, hubris, and the search for a secret that may not exist, Patterson, a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, tells the story of the rise and fall of the quants and their role in destroying the world's financial markets, focusing on four charismatic figures. The book includes a list of players and a glossary of market terms. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Documents the contributions of a team of young math geniuses who set in motion widespread market collapses, tracing the story of a 1950s gambler who applied Vegas strategies to Wall Street and his present-day successors who the author believes used math formulas and technology to trigger catastrophic market downturns.

Publisher: New York : Crown, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9780307453372
0307453375
Branch Call Number: 332.6409 PATTE
Characteristics: x, 337 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

f
figoliuxi
May 18, 2017

Not as good as I expected. The book basically introduce stories of some famous people, from gambling to trading and it repeatedly mentions the same story again and again. Also, from this kind of topic, I would expect to get more philosophy perspective but that is not the case. I would say michael lewis's book may fit my needs better.

j
jimg2000
May 01, 2013

(eBook available as well) A "fun" read on the financial meltdown blaming the risk taking quants. It chronicled the wall street's credit crisis between 2006 to the spring of 2009, featuring the financial engineers known as quants who managed the hedge funds and proprietary trading desks of the giant banks. No scaring math inside and easy read like Lewis's "Liar's Poker".

d
dianestcoeur
Dec 11, 2012

Excellent book. Lots of complexe details that are necessary to understand the many intricacies of the Finance world of trading. Extensive research has been done for this book. A must read! For anyone who is trying to understand why some major U.S bank when bankrupt .

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at GL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top