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My Life as a Quant Reflections on Physics and Finance
ISBN: 0471394203     Date Published: 2004-09-16     Author(s): Emanuel Derman
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Hardcover
Wiley
304 Pages
 
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06/20/2013 01:28:21
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Editorial Review - Book Description:
Emanuel Derman was one of the first physicists to move to Wall Street, and his career paralleled the growth of quantitative trading over the past twenty years. In My Life as a Quant, he traces his transformation from ambitious young scientist to managing director and head of the renowned Quantitative Strategies group at Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Derman’s tale recounts his adventures with quants, traders and other high fliers on Wall Street as he became the best-known quant in the business. He describes the struggles of research and his interactions with an assorted cast of famous scientists. He relates his impressions of some of the most creative minds on Wall Street, including Fischer Black, with whom he collaborated on the widely used Black-Derman-Toy model of interest rates. Throughout his story he reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets and the people that inhabit them.

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Emanuel Derman was one of the first physicists to move to Wall Street, and his career paralleled the growth of quantitative trading over the past twenty years. In My Life as a Quant, he traces his transformation from ambitious young scientist to managing director and head of the renowned Quantitative Strategies group at Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Derman’s tale recounts his adventures with quants, traders and other high fliers on Wall Street as he became the best-known quant in the business. He describes the struggles of research and his interactions with an assorted cast of famous scientists. He relates his impressions of some of the most creative minds on Wall Street, including Fischer Black, with whom he collaborated on the widely used Black-Derman-Toy model of interest rates. Throughout his story he reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets and the people that inhabit them.
 
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Total Reviews: (105)
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98 of 109 People found the following review helpful.

The Human Side of Quantitative Finance -- Great Read!, September 27, 2004 ByRico Blaser (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews This review is from: My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance (Hardcover) The book commences with a history of physics that is reminiscent of "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene. From Newton to Maxwell to Einstein and beyond, Derman discovers the great theories of yesterday and finds himself in the middle of a seven year marathon to a PhD and the launch of his academic career. The struggle for intellectual purity and the distain for applied work abound in Derman's academic environment and the pressures of achieving greatness are pronounced in a place where genius is a commodity. In a leap of faith, Derman decides to return to New York to spend more time with his family and to surrender to what he considered a less dignified job. Lost in the Dilbert-esque hierarchies of the Bell Labs, Derman discovers the joy of programming, while submerged in office politics. After numerous attempts of beating the currents, Derman finally reaches the shores of Wall Street and is relieved to find an avant-garde environment, where...
 
39 of 41 People found the following review helpful.

Not really what I expected..., October 12, 2005 Bygilstrac "gilstrac" (az) - See all my reviews This review is from: My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance (Hardcover) It was an interesting read but not what I expected. It is my own fault. I bought it because the title (Physics and Finance) caught my eye and the average rating and number of reviews was high. I would guess it is not a heavily embellished memoir. Emanuel appears to be an honest, practical and educated individual. I found myself in the beginning wondering when I would start to read something about his life as a Quant. I don't know the exact page but I was probably half way through the book before I got my first taste. In the end I found it like most things I have not personally experienced, it is more romantic to dream than live. This is not to say he didn't do good things. It just means for every minute of success and enjoyment there are hundreds if not thousands of minutes of grind and perseverance. The grind is not always so well documented. Due to my age, I did find myself identifying with Emanuel as he changed from a wide eyed youth ready...
 
22 of 22 People found the following review helpful.

An interesting career path, December 10, 2006 ByA Reader "Karl" (North Bethesda, MD USA) - See all my reviews Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance (Hardcover) This book is not for those interested in learning quantitative finance. Rather, it is a memoir written by a physicist who came to finance relatively late in life. There is some poignancy in Derman's transformation from theoretical physicist bent on a life in academia (where he hoped to make groundbreaking discoveries about elementary particles) to mid-level employee of one of the world's great financial institutions (Goldman Sachs). Although he was undoubtedly well paid for the skills he brought to the financial markets, Derman's story is tinged with sadness about the loss of an ideal. The book is particularly valuable for the insights it provides about the inner workings of a major investment bank, and in particular about the role played by the "quants" in the development of new products and trading strategies. It also provides some perspective on the development of quantitative finance as a practical discipline; and it makes clear that quantitative skills,...
 
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