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Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

by

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World Cover

ISBN13: 9780143116806
ISBN10: 0143116800
Condition: Standard
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Awards

2010 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

Review:

"A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now." The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

As another financial crisis makes headlines today, the year 1929 remains the benchmark for true economic mayhem. Ahamed lays the blame for the 1929 meltdown on a small number of central bankers--men as prominent in their time as Alan Greenspan is today.

Synopsis:

A young scholar tells the story of the physicists and mathematicians who created the models that have become the basis of modern finance and argues that these models are the solution toand#8212;not the source ofand#8212;our current economic woes.

Synopsis:

After the economic meltdown of 2008, Warren Buffett famously warned, and#8220;beware of geeks bearing formulas.and#8221; But as James Weatherall demonstrates, not all geeks are created equal. While many of the mathematicians and software engineers on Wall Street failed when their abstractions turned ugly in practice, a special breed of physicists has a much deeper history of revolutionizing finance. Taking us from fin-de-siand#232;cle Paris to Rat Pack-era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes on the Pacific coast, Weatherall shows how physicists successfully brought their science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from options pricing to bubbles.

The crisis was partly a failure of mathematical modeling. But even more, it was a failure of some very sophisticated financial institutions to think like physicists. Modelsand#8212;whether in science or financeand#8212;have limitations; they break down under certain conditions. And in 2008, sophisticated models fell into the hands of people who didnand#8217;t understand their purpose, and didnand#8217;t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science.

The solution, however, is not to give up on models; it's to make them better. Weatherall reveals the people and ideas on the cusp of a new era in finance. We see a geophysicist use a model designed for earthquakes to predict a massive stock market crash. We discover a physicist-run hedge fund that earned 2,478.6% over the course of the 1990s. And we see how an obscure idea from quantum theory might soon be used to create a far more accurate Consumer Price Index.

Both persuasive and accessible, The Physics of Wall Street is riveting history that will change how we think about our economic future.

Synopsis:

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize

andquot;A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now.andquot; --The New York Times Book Review

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

About the Author

Liaquat Ahmed has been a professional investment manager for twenty-five years. He has worked at the World Bank in Washington D.C., and the New York-based partnership of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, where he served as chief executive.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Of Quants and Other Demonsand#8194;1

Primordial Seedsand#8194;1

Swimming Upstreamand#8194;25

From Coastlines to Cotton Pricesand#8194;49

Beating the Dealerand#8194;76

Physics Hits the Streetand#8194;105

The Prediction Companyand#8194;130

Tyranny of the Dragon Kingand#8194;159

A New Manhattan Projectand#8194;181

Epilogue: Send Physics, Math, and Money!and#8194;205

Acknowledgmentsand#8194;226

Notesand#8194;229

Referencesand#8194;250

Indexand#8194;269

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

powellsr, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by powellsr)
It tackled a very complex subject in a very clear and well-written way and brought the chaos of those days right to the all too similar present.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
Kay Wetz, April 13, 2010 (view all comments by Kay Wetz)
Reading just one review assured my mind to buy and read. Good advertising.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
san pancho reader, April 13, 2010 (view all comments by san pancho reader)
A great read. Well written, well-researched, compelling, even entertaining while being very educational. A timely read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143116806
Author:
Ahamed, Liaquat
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Weatherall, James Owen
Subject:
Banks & Banking
Subject:
Finance
Subject:
General
Subject:
Economic History
Subject:
Capitalists and financiers
Subject:
Bankers
Subject:
Corporate History
Subject:
Business-Banking
Subject:
Economics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20091231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
5 graphs
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.09 lb
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects

Business » Accounting and Finance
Business » Banking
Business » History and Biographies
Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » NYT Ten Best Books » 2009
History and Social Science » Current Affairs » General
History and Social Science » Economics » General

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143116806 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now."
"Synopsis" by , As another financial crisis makes headlines today, the year 1929 remains the benchmark for true economic mayhem. Ahamed lays the blame for the 1929 meltdown on a small number of central bankers--men as prominent in their time as Alan Greenspan is today.
"Synopsis" by ,
A young scholar tells the story of the physicists and mathematicians who created the models that have become the basis of modern finance and argues that these models are the solution toand#8212;not the source ofand#8212;our current economic woes.
"Synopsis" by ,
After the economic meltdown of 2008, Warren Buffett famously warned, and#8220;beware of geeks bearing formulas.and#8221; But as James Weatherall demonstrates, not all geeks are created equal. While many of the mathematicians and software engineers on Wall Street failed when their abstractions turned ugly in practice, a special breed of physicists has a much deeper history of revolutionizing finance. Taking us from fin-de-siand#232;cle Paris to Rat Pack-era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes on the Pacific coast, Weatherall shows how physicists successfully brought their science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from options pricing to bubbles.

The crisis was partly a failure of mathematical modeling. But even more, it was a failure of some very sophisticated financial institutions to think like physicists. Modelsand#8212;whether in science or financeand#8212;have limitations; they break down under certain conditions. And in 2008, sophisticated models fell into the hands of people who didnand#8217;t understand their purpose, and didnand#8217;t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science.

The solution, however, is not to give up on models; it's to make them better. Weatherall reveals the people and ideas on the cusp of a new era in finance. We see a geophysicist use a model designed for earthquakes to predict a massive stock market crash. We discover a physicist-run hedge fund that earned 2,478.6% over the course of the 1990s. And we see how an obscure idea from quantum theory might soon be used to create a far more accurate Consumer Price Index.

Both persuasive and accessible, The Physics of Wall Street is riveting history that will change how we think about our economic future.

"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize

andquot;A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now.andquot; --The New York Times Book Review

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

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