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The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust
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The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  104 reviews
A successful Wall Street trader turned Cambridge neuroscientist reveals the biology of financial boom and bust, showing how risk-taking transforms our body chemistry, driving us to extremes of euphoria or stressed-out depression.
The laws of financial boom and bust, it turns out, have a lot to do with male hormones. In a series of startling experiments, Canadian scientist
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Random House Canada (first published May 1st 2012)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,064 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting read for someone interested in research study results in psychology, neuroscience and the behavioral effects of hormones. Coates is clearly very familiar with both the world of the trading floor and the science he writes about. I was disappointed, however, in the lack of a real punch line as far as workable strategies to take advantage of these effects to make money in the markets. Male hormones increase volatility. OK, I was convinced of that half way through the book. What good ...more
Nichole Smith
Mar 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Is there a duck nearby? Because I hear a quack.

In this book, Coates posits that rather than the rational economic beings we like to think make major financial decisions, we are actually driven by physiological impulses much more so than intelligent thought. I'll give Coates props for knowing his biology --but that's about the only redeeming characteristic of this book. First, I'm not sure what is particularly novel about his theory. There's been a lot of attention paid to these issues since 200
Mike Scialom
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Like war, activity on the trading floor "consists of long stretches of boredom punctuated by brief periods of terror", writes John Coates in The Hour Between Dog and Wolf (Fourth Estate, £20).
What follows is a minute-by-minute analysis of the trader's metabolism which reveals the effects of the euphoria, the stress, the boredom and the heart-stopping moments of hyperactivity where "nature and nurture conspire to produce an awful train wreck, leaving behind mangled careers, damaged bodies and a d
Pavlo Illashenko
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I knew about author's research and had a basic knowledge of neurophysiology and neurobiology before reading this book . I don't feel that I've learned anything new. It was fun to read stories from the trading floor, in some sense even nostalgic. However, nothing beyond that.

One unexpected drawback is related to authors style. I was expecting to read more or less scientific book, but Coates writes more as a journalist or a wall street guy - to much pleasure of speculating with solid ideas than e
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Our stress response is designed to fuel a muscular effort, yet the stress must have us face is largely psychological and social, and we endure it sitting in a chair. The used glucose ends up being deposited around the waist as fat, the type of fat deposit posing the greatest risk for heart disease. At the extreme, stressed individuals, with elevated glucose and inhibited insulin, can become susceptible to abdominal obesity and type 2 diabetes. Patients suffering from Cushing's syndrome epitomize ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book! Completely changes the way you would look at risk taking. Lot of interesting things to think about on evolution of human brain too. The story of human body and brain, evolution, hormones and risk taking: told in a very accessible and engaging style.
Lone Wong
The unique title is taken from a French since the Middle Ages have called "L'heure entre chien et loup" and refers to the moments after sunset when the sky darkens and vision becomes ambiguous, making it difficult to distinguish between dogs and wolves, friends and foe. John Coates has brilliantly interpreted this unique title that it is this moment that we human being irrational and euphoric that makes us become appetite for risk and making a bad decision.

In fact, the appetite for risk-taking i
Gumble's Yard
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
A complex, wide ranging and thought provoking (although far from flawless) book.

The book includes a fictionalised account of a trading desk during the period leading up to, through and after the financial crisis. This is interspersed with detailed neuro-science and (more crucially) bio-chemistry/physiology.

One of Coates crucial assertions is that the mind/body divide (with an implicit belief that the mind is superior and the body becoming increasingly redundant) which has become common in modern
Andrew Griffith
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read John Coates, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, another in a series of books on behavioral economics, from the interesting perspective of someone who has been both a trader as well as a researcher. Again, much like other work in this field, such as Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman, largely demolishes the classical economic rational decision-making, as it maps out the linkages between our conscious and unconscious systems. Quote:

"Today Platonic dualism [mind-body divide] … is widely dispute
Jeremie Averous
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This author is a former trader turned neuro-scientist and he explains how stress and hormones drive the behavior of traders, leading to irrational exuberance and well as irrational panic on the markets.

The interesting side of this book is how our physiology is influencing our decision-making, and how it can be contagious in a group. The book describes in minute detail the working of our nervous and hormonal system when we are faced with the stress of modern life.

If there is a proof that the rati
Aaron Terrazas
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
For someone who's pretty familiar with financial markets but not at all familiar with biology, this was a fascinating read. The author describes how the human body reacts to risk taking, victory and defeat through both neurological and endocrine responses, and due to evolutionary biology.

On the downside, I think it could have been shorter and the "recommendations" aren't very compelling. The book might read better if the author had just ended with his research. Overall, however, I was very sati
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, quick read. Mixes some interesting trading anecdotes with some neuroscience pretty well, going back and forth between providing examples and explaining. That well-executed interweave is probably one of the best points of this. A lot of the neuroscience was somewhat familiar from related works, such as Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, but there were some interesting new points as well, and some framed in different manners. Also fun to have the trading perspective in there for me.
Mark James
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a delightful concoction of the sciences and humanities. Coates dechipers the deeply rooted aspects of human nature and paints a brilliant image on how factors such as stress and exuberance impact the financial world. I would recommend this for any reader , for it has something to offer for everyone.
Celeste Chia
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I immensely enjoyed this book. The insights Coates shared were illuminating, especially in an era where people prize logic without knowing the limits of their rationality. It's a shame such findings would hardly be shared in business schools, where theoretical academic knowledge would be conferred instead.
Sophia Dunn
Everyone interested in the current state of global economics really needs to read this book. Written by a neuroscientist, who is also an economist and an ex-Wall Street trader, Coates is uniquely qualified to give us a neurobiogical understanding of how we got into our current situation. It is simply a FASCINATING read.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
This book could be summed up in a sentence: "traders are human, and sometimes behave like humans". It is for some reason longer, yet does not add any additional insight into the topic. There is an attempt to set-up a straw man to attack with a faux scientific theory, yet even that part is not in any way convincing.
Ted Lehmann
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book goes a long way toward clarifying issues of the mind/budy connection in trading in the financial markets. Implications for management in that world and, more broadly, for understanding our political world in different ways are exciting and challenging. I've posted the review on my blog.
Laura Kinsale
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Gave this 5 stars for the subject matter. Very readable, but mainly this is a topic that REALLY needs some airing. The impact of our biology on our behavior is profound. I've always thought "rational markets" were BS. Very interesting and quite fun to read.
Abhishek Upadhayay
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. A definitive read. It reinforces the belief system through science.
Nazrul Buang
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading 'The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust' (2012) by John Coates. I first heard of this book several years ago while reading books by Kahneman and Taleb, while browsing books that discusses economics, psychology and philosophy; and have since bookmarked it. It's been on my list for a long time, and it occurred to me only recently to borrow a copy and read it once and for all now.

What caught my attention about this book a few
David Wilusz
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book after hearing John Coates speak in NYC. In it, he presents a somewhat uncommon marriage between Wall Street trading and neurobiology. As such, this isn't a book for everyone, but I happen to be interested in both subjects, and enjoyed it. His thesis is presented as the search for the "molecule of irrational exuberance" in the context of a London trading floor on the day of a Fed announcement on interest rates. The reader is given a lesson in human neurobiology, and especially th ...more
Anand Iyer
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The premise: centuries of platonic and cartesian pure rationality have clouded our understanding of how our minds and bodies work together, modern science is slowly discovering the feedback loops that exists between the two. There are vast areas of neurology and endocrinology that are only vaguely understood, but that nonetheless echo learnings that can be found in separate sources throughout history such as Aristotle and Buddhism.

The problem: evolution has primed us with autometic reactions to
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very well written book. A bit repetitive about some of the hormones and their roles, but overall it was a very interesting read. While I enjoyed learning how the brain works under stress, it was a bit frustrating to also learn that it’s the young male’s biology that mostly contributes to the financial market crashing. It just creates this nasty image in my head of young, rich men not really caring how their actions affect the rest of the world cause they are addicted to not only money ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
As both a monthly and weekly options trader, the book made sense to me. The only thing I was confused on was the title. Not once was the correlation between dog and wolf mentioned except at the beginning. At the end the author also goes on this tangent about hiring women and old men in the workplace without the need for "affirmative action". I thought the books was very insightful from a biological standpoint but the way it jumped around between different trading scenarios made this a sloppy att ...more
David Maurer
Jun 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Somewhat disappointing. No real take away, other than our hormones affect our bodies, stress affects our bodies' production of hormones, which affects our bodies, etc. And probably one of the most unsympathetic subjects (traders on Wall Street for big banks) that I have read about. Poor Scott, the banker who lost millions of dollars, won't be able to afford his beach house and can't get an erection because of the stress he is under from blowing up the financial markets.
Lauren Billett
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
The content of the book was very interesting, if slightly hard to understand considering I know absolutely nothing about economics. It was also very dense, and whilst at the beginning I had lots of momentum and could easily read a chapter of two, the further through I got, the harder I found it to read.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fin_biz
The book discusses our biological responses and their behaviour when we take risk. The setting is primarily the financial trading floor. The book is very interesting till half and then sort of tapers off. However, it is a good read for a trader. He may possibly find some cues to improving his performance.
Sandro Trosso
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is without doubt an book with an edge. It provides a very clear description of how our mind and body interact through our brains, nervous systems and hormonal secretion to prepare us for the task of facing a challenge. A must read to help anyone in competitive markets understand his own self and perhaps learn to control outcomes.
Nathan Boler
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Was expecting more practicality out of this book. It ended up being more abstract. Self awareness is important though, and I learned some things about myself. Irrational optimism/pessimism, animal spirits, power of testosterone and cortisol. Stress relievers: exercise, familiarity, getting away from the screens.
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How traders are slaves to their hormones and what to do about it? 2 10 May 28, 2012 02:59PM  
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“Yet of this massive flow of information no more than about 40 bits per second actually reaches consciousness. We are, in other words, conscious of only a trivial slice of all the information coming into the brain for processing.” 2 likes
“Thinking, one could say, is something we do only when we are no good at an activity.” 1 likes
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