Wang's Reviews > The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It

The Quants by Scott Patterson
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's review
Apr 13, 2010

it was amazing
Recommended for: people who are keen to understand the nature of modern finance
Read from March 22 to April 11, 2010

I read this book while I was on a multi-country trip in Europe. It provided endless entertainment to my long train and plane rides between cities. Sure, blackbox trading is a heavy subject, but Patterson did a masterful job of explaining a rather complex history of the quants. His narritive is precise and personal, his tones collected and unbiased. It provides a rare insight into the the shadowy world of hedge funds and the role of finnancial engineering in today's market.

Perhaps I'm the one who's biased. Having studied physics like many of the quant mentioned in this book and used information theory and Hidden Marcov Process for work, I find myself in deep admiration to those quants that started it all. After the 2007 market meltdown, the quants have fallen from grace, but black box trading has proven its potential as a powerful money-making machine. They will be back, hopefully smarter than ever this time.

This book has inspired me to read more into risk management and financial engineering. I understand that I can never compete with legions of math PhD's and their super computers for the fleeting windows of money-making opportunities, but the book instills some confidence that I could use my knowledge in mathematics to pick up something they left behind. Being so inspiring is not easy for any book, not to mention a book of chaos theory, game theory and statistics.

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