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3.5 out of 5 stars10
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 11 June 2010
"The Quants" attempts a style similar to Michael Lewis's far superior "The Big Short" but Patterson isn't up to it. He lays clichés down as thick as he can and never really finds a way of organizing his characters and their stories. The book is a big jumble, and the explanations of the various investment vehicles are often vague and self-contradictory.

Neither an enjoyable nor enlightening read.
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on 1 June 2010
Amazingly I am the first person to review this book. It's also the first book I've ordered in advance. I will admit that I am only quarter way through it but so far it is fascinating.
The Quants is up to the Michael Lewis gold standard of Wall Street books. Scott Patterson tracks the mathematical geniuses (or genii) known as the Quants.
These guys have transformed Wall Street making themselves billionaires and making the markets potentially more dangerous than the infamously volatile, planet-threatening, Krakatao volcano!
I think 'The Quants' could be the book on Wall Street I have been waiting for.

UPDATE: I gave this 5 stars after I'd read the first 50 pages. It was a great start, full of information and great characters, but sadly it runs out of steam.
It had the makings of a great book but by page 100 it is referring to Lewis's Liar's Poker and basically retelling what Michael Lewis told us ten years ago.
What is the point of that?
Really this book is an article on THE QUANTS stretched out to novel size by using other people's material and retelling the credit crunch etc.
JP :)
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on 6 October 2015
Well written build up to one of the greatest financial meltdowns of history. A background look at the Masters of the (Quants) Universe, their perverse failure to understand the human condition and the herd mentality of flights to safety in financial markets. Black Swan events are far more frequent than the understanding of the Truth that these early mathematical masters modelled.

The book is well written and well paced and although could be accompanied by a compendium of financial terminology and quantitative mathematics, provides the casual or interested reader with a great background to recent history.

An author I will definitely be buying more books from.
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on 18 February 2016
Don't believe a word I read. The bubble was due to the housing market junk bond collapse.
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on 6 June 2010
Starting with an impressive backtrack all the way to the legendary traders who broke Las Vegas, and connecting these with their roles in the subprime destruction of the capital markets, this is one of the best books on the current crisis I've yet found.

The book then, in its final third, continues with a day-to-day account of when their mathematical equations self-destructed.

The one thing that leaves me longing after reading this book is - how. Its record here is very shallow, only establishing that scouring for arbitrage between the different asset markets (equities, options, bonds, forex), they exploit pricing inconsistencies to their advantage. And that is it. A bit more information here would have been good.

But otherwise an excellent work, well recommended.
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......GREED. And the Question? "What is the fastest and most effective eraser of experience, understanding, knowledge and common sense stored within the human brain? It is the unstoppable desire for personal enrichment that unfailingly leads people to constantly keep allowing the Quants to enter the 'madhouse' in the forlorn hope that, after many disasters, this time the quants will supply the Midas touch to investment trading.

Welcomed with opened arms back into the investment arena after a number of false and costly starts, in the early days of the 21st century these number crunchin' boffins with multiple degrees in mathematics and quantitative analysis, made billions for themselves and several prominent Wall Street firms, only to lose most if not all (which seems to be par for the course) of their gains in the market collapse that began in the summer of 2007, which surprise, surprise their 'genius' and so-called sophisticated computer modelling failed to detect by a margin of a 'wide-opened-barn-door'.

Scott Patterson's writes a compelling account of these flawed 'geniuses', looking closely at the Quants' pursuit of riches as 'an epic pursuit for an elusive, ethereal quality sometimes referred to among themselves as "The Truth". It follows the careers of several of better known of these ever hopeful 'bounty hunters', such as Ken Griffin, chess master Boaz Weinstein of Deutsche Bank, Peter Muller of Morgan Stanley, Cliff Asness, and the oft called 'Grandaddy' of them all Ed Thorp, the wizened pioneer of quantitative financial analysts who at least came to his senses by knowing when to pull all of his chips off the table so he wasn't decimated by the 2007-8 crash.

The author tries to delve into the area that whereas others used their experience of previous economic cycles to warn of the calamity waiting to happen, the market in the main continued merrily down the 'yellow brick road' mapped out by the Quant contingent who were held in awe as geniuses, but doesn't really come up with an explanation other than 'blindness by the imaginary dazzling light of untold riches'.

An interesting read that gives some insight into the world of mathematics versus the human brain. And we've not heard the end of The Quants, people will forget their past failings when fresh hope of sure-fire wealth is teasingly dangled before them. And like the Exterminator they will be back! And like fools we'll welcome them again.
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on 18 August 2014
Great book to practice my speed-reading skills...

Otherwise, quite random, without really good and deep explanation of the events. Wikipedia might give you more info on the subject.
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on 8 May 2016
Good quality and timely delivery
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on 7 May 2014
I enjoyed this book. It has become dated quite quickly but the key players appear to be all well covered. I found it readable and a good summary.
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on 18 January 2016
Loved it..... am inspired
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