Profile for Vazza > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Vazza
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,053,346
Helpful Votes: 71

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Vazza

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Risk Intelligence: How to Live with Uncertainty
Risk Intelligence: How to Live with Uncertainty
by Dylan Evans
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read of what is becoming a distinct genre, 23 Nov 2012
I think an earlier review labeling the concepts presented in this book as Pseudoscience may have been a bit harsh, in my opinion.

Readers who enjoyed books such as Taleb's "Black Swan", Makridakis, Gaba and Hogarth's "A Dance with Chance" would probably also find enjoyment in this book.

Is this genre of books, which seems to me to be a spectrum of probability, philosophy, psychology, decision science, finance, risk, gambling, what would be deemed a hard science? Probably not. Nonetheless I do find the application of the theories encountered in the disciplines mentioned as well as the lucid explanation of some of these quite refreshing.

For me the book really picked up half way through, especially the chapter "Thinking by Numbers". The explanation of Bayes' theorem as briefly presented in the "Weighing the Probable" chapter was highly entertaining (if that could ever be said about Bayes' theorem). I wish it was taught to me that way in my maths classes at school.

Much like Taleb, in addition to some of the author's personal ideas, as well as interpretation/explanation of previously known theory the author includes enjoyable and relevant quotes from other authors as well as pop culture in his text. I think this makes the reading a lot less dry. My favourite was a very well placed quote from the film "The Rookie", "If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster".

All in all, an enjoyable read.


The War for Wealth: The True Story of Globalization and Why the Flat World is Broken
The War for Wealth: The True Story of Globalization and Why the Flat World is Broken
by Gabor Steingart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing antidote to the BRIC related hysteria, 17 Nov 2010
I remember growing up in the 80s all the hype around Japan. Even in movies, people would say "in 10 years time, we'll all be speaking Japanese". We now know that that didn't happen. Several burst bubbles later, we're now facing a much different world with the emergence of a powerful China on the scene. Some would also include the other BRIC countries in that analysis but for all their internal problems I don't see them as being in the same league.

Now the book discusses the shift of power from the west to the east in a very eloquent manner that I will not be able to replicate in this review. What I really appreciated about this book was that it did so with a critical view, as opposed to chiming in with the rest of the mass media and inflate China story even further.

I think this book is a good starting point for readers who are asking themselves whether globalisation is really benefiting mankind or whether we are setting ourselves up (or our governments are setting us up) for some very hard times ahead. I ask myself every day, are China and India too big to fail? Did the western companies and governments really think that outsourcing manafacturing and giving away their intellectual property in the process was a good thing? This book touches upon some of these issues although I'd like to see more input from other authors on this subject. If these are issues that concern you then I recommend this book to you.


Hed Kandi World Series: Brazil
Hed Kandi World Series: Brazil
Price: £11.86

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could've been called Hed Kandi South London, nothing Brazilian in there, 5 July 2009
Maybe it's my fault for not memorising every track name and DJ name out there (in my defence, some do change their alias more often than they do their socks), but this could've been any generic current house compilation.

By having Brazil in the title and on the cover suggested to me it was going to be something like Giles Peterson's Brazil mixes (disc 2 mind). Nothing like that. You get some reviews of Brazilian clubs in the cover sleeve. Other than that, this compilation could've been titled Hed Kandi South London, Mumbai or Auckland. That would've made no difference to the contents.


The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
by Alice Schroeder
Edition: Hardcover

47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too long winded, can't see who this book is aimed at, certainly not the coattail investors., 22 Jun 2009
The bottom line is, at 976 pages, you must really be obsessed with Buffet to put yourself through this.

I'm not saying the book isn't well researched or written but you have to ask yourself, what is the point of this book and why are you reading it?

Speaking for myself, although I assume many had a similar motivation, you might want to find out more about what goes on in Buffett's mind. How does he make such good investment decisions, maybe we can learn something from him. If that's where you are coming from then I recommend Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham with foreword by Buffet. That in conjunction with a book on his most famous quotes for entertainment value.

I'm typically the sort of person that reads a book from start to finish but this one I had to drop before the half-way point. If you're truly a Buffet fan then you'll appreciate the concept of opportunity cost. Instead of reading 976 pages of over elaborate descriptions one who met with whom, what they ate, what they drank, how they split the bill your time could be spent on more useful pursuits/books.


Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change the way you view success, 5 Jun 2009
I found this book very insightful. The analysis of the relation to a person's age (leaving this vague because I don't want to give too much away in the review) to their performance in sport for example made so much sense - after he presented his case of course. It's one of those things that's right in front of you but don't notice until someone (Iike Malcolm) points it out.

The common theme throughout the book is basically that success isn't about the individual, it's about their environment, culture and even a good dose of chance.

I'm actually finding this review quite difficult to write. The reason being that reciting the examples given in the book would spoil the experience for the next reader.

All I can say is that it is very well researched. Malcom looked at a lot of data and made observations which weren't immediately obvious. In fact, a lot of this has been invisible to most of the population. He went to great effort interviewing people from various backgrounds and professions to make his point.

I cannot recommend this book enough.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 30, 2009 9:43 AM BST


Cityboy: Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile
Cityboy: Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile
by Geraint Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 23 May 2009
This book was hilarious. I wish I had read it earlier. I worked with several stockbrokers myself but I can't say I came across any characters like Geraint.

How much of it is true and how much an exaggeration is hard to tell but what is true is the author's great writing style and sense of humour. It had me chuckling non stop.


The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Taleb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, one of the most influential books I've ever read., 23 May 2009
There are very few books that have had a massive impact on me. Black Swan is one of them. It completely changed the way I view life on many levels. From its massive list of references it has also lead me to various other great books.

I'm writing this review a long time after I've read the book. It's been over a year in fact. Since then many things were said about Nassim Nicholas Taleb (NNT) and by NNT.

On several occasions I've discussed this book with other people or overheard people talking about it and they'd say things like NNT predicted the credit crunch. NNT did not predict the credit crunch. To say he did is to miss the whole point of the book. Taking the credit crunch as an example, you might think that so and so fund manager is an investment guru because he's been riding on a massive beta wave his whole career and then something like the credit crunch comes along, which is a black swan, and that puts the guru's investment strategy to the test. All of a sudden he's not a guru but someone who's merely been lucky not to have experienced any truly averse conditions.

On NNT. I realise that I'm reviewing the book here and not the author. In his books he displays a clear aversion to media - newspapers and tv. And yet recently wherever you look NNT is being interviewed. He's coming out with some very strong opinions and for someone who hasn't read his books these can come across as a little blunt. I think he's spreading himself thin there and should stick to writting because that's where his true talents lie.

On fooled by randomness. There are many common messages between the two books. I happened to read the blacks swan first so for me that was the revelation. Had you started with fooled by randomness first then some of the ideas in this book might not seem so fresh.


Hedge Funds: Quantitative Insights (The Wiley Finance Series)
Hedge Funds: Quantitative Insights (The Wiley Finance Series)
by François-Serge Lhabitant
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £90.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, great read from start to finish, good reference, 23 May 2009
This was a great book in my opinion. I wish I had read it many years ago.

I must agree with another reviewer here, the title is slightly misleading, I wouldn't say it's very quantitative, but that all depends on where your coming from. Like other adjectives in titles, "introduction", "advanced", "further", "technical", for some basic risk return profiles is "quant" for others it's light.
But that aside, what I really liked were the chapters on performance fees which gave me an insight into how hedge funds charge their clients. Another gem were the chapters on the different hedge fund strategies: what they are called, basic principles, risk return profiles and which groups they fall under.

As someone dealing with hedge funds I found this book really enhanced my understanding of the industry.


Binge Trading: The real inside story of cash, cocaine and corruption in the City
Binge Trading: The real inside story of cash, cocaine and corruption in the City
by Seth Freedman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting stories, intersting opinions on the square mile, 23 May 2009
A well written and researched book. Seth went to great lengths to interview several of the City's big players. Therein also lies my criticism, this book is mostly about other people who appear in a few paragraphs or chapters. There's not that much about Seth there.

This book is being compared to "how I caused the credit crunch" and "Cityboy" so I thought I'd add my two cents on that. The above mentioned books are first person accounts of their experiences in the City. Binge trading has some of that but it's mostly focused on other people's experiences.

Up to now 3 stars but what really bumped it up to 4 stars for me were the last few chapters, who's message is on the positives that the City provides to the greater community. A stark contrast to what's been in the press recently.


How I Caused the Credit Crunch
How I Caused the Credit Crunch
by Tetsuya Ishikawa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating. Some parts made me jealous., 20 May 2009
Some may not approve of the author's/character's actions but that doesn't change the fact that this is a very exciting story which has been very well told. I had difficulty putting the book down. I found my emotions changing as the story line progressed. There were feelings of excitement, envy, concern and schadenfreude.

It's been described as a work of faction (fact + fiction). I don't know exactly how much of what's in the book actually happened but based on the prologue by the author I suspect most of it is true. The names of the banks/people involved have of course been changed but events in the story line due tie up to what the author says about his life in the prologue. At least I think so.

So who would enjoy this book? People who generally enjoy Ben Mezrich books, Citiboy that sort of thing. I found the diagrams of the various derivative instruments very well thought out and a refreshing alternative to their explanations in academic books. If you work in the City/Wall Street I suspect you would also find this book very amusing. On the other side, if you're the sort of person that's been attending anti-capitalist demonstrations recently then I suggest you steer clear of this book as it may raise your blood pressure.


Page: 1 | 2