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The Quants

How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Summary

In March 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. At the card table that night was Peter Muller, who managed a fabulously successful hedge fund called PDT. With him was Ken Griffin, who was the tough-as-nails head of Citadel Investment Group. There, too, were Cliff Asness, the sharp-tongued, mercurial founder of the hedge fund AQR Capital Management, and Boaz Weinstein, chess "life master" and king of the credit-default swap.

Muller, Griffin, Asness, and Weinstein were among the best and brightest of a new breed, the quants. Over the past 20 years, this species of math whiz had usurped the testosterone-fueled, kill-or-be-killed risk takers who'd long been the alpha males of the world's largest casino. The quants believed that a 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 extraordinary system, men like Muller, Griffin, Asness, and Weinstein had sown the seeds for history's greatest financial disaster.

©2010 Scott Patterson (P)2010 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Scott Patterson has the ability to see things you and I don't notice. He does an admirable job of debunking the myths of black box traders and provides a very entertaining narrative in the process." (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times best-selling author of Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan)

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  • 04-01-19

Decent introduction to the subject.

Good introduction to the history of quant funds which revolutionized Wall Street from the 1990s to the 2008 crash, and some interesting insights into the processes which led to the failure of so many of them. It does a great job of illustrating how very, very smart people can be quite stunningly naive. One is left wondering how could a whole room full of PHDs have imagined that a stock market drop of 20% was essentially impossible: the answer was that their elegant and brilliant mathematical equations wouldn't work if it did - and they made so much money in the first few years it was impossible to see beyond the present.

I would have appreciated a little less focus on personalities and a little more on methods, although this does enable to the book to steer clear of the brain-destroying mathematics that are beyond most of us.


Narrator is fine.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-03-18

great listen. I

great topic. history. the order of the chapters by the big players was great for an audiobook.

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  • Jordan McBain
  • 08-02-18

interesting historical account

provides an interesting description of the major players and the history of quantitative finance. however it is very light on mathematical insight.