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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for fundamentals
One of the most difficult tasks for a writer of DIY and LIY books is conveying complex processes is easy to understand language. Michael Durbin has successfully acheived this; explaining the fundamentals of derivatives in concise laymens terminology with myriad of analogies and examples. As a business analyst working with both IT and IR derivatives trader, I have found...
Published on 10 Sep 2007 by Mr. Ms. Cooke

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but with some mistakes that cost time to work through
All round great book, good introduction to derivatives and their uses and basic pricing strategies. However some math is wrong, causing me to work through them multiple times before I conclude that its a typo and move on. Also some graphs are wrong, especially the payoff diagrams, gives me the feeling that graphs are just copied and pasted with no modifications...
Published on 26 Jun 2011 by Rayner


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for fundamentals, 10 Sep 2007
By 
Mr. Ms. Cooke (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the most difficult tasks for a writer of DIY and LIY books is conveying complex processes is easy to understand language. Michael Durbin has successfully acheived this; explaining the fundamentals of derivatives in concise laymens terminology with myriad of analogies and examples. As a business analyst working with both IT and IR derivatives trader, I have found this book to be the best I have read so far. The book provides the reader with a solid platform from which to delve into more complex mathematically-based books such as Hull and Fabozzi. Thoroughly recommended for the derivatives beginner or for those seeking a high level understanding of the complex derivatives world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the point of view of a software developer..., 16 April 2007
By 
S. Sweeney (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I thought this book was a good introduction.

I liked the informal tone, and the simple language especially. The examples used are easy to understand and the same examples tend to get expanded as you sweep through the book. This is a big help as some other books tend to create new examples for each new subsection. Thus making it difficult to see what new variables are being introduced...

As the description says, covers basic Forwards, Futures, Swaps and Options - and for Options, covers BlackScholes and Binomial pricing theory. At no stage does it claim to be a comprehensive reference for these techniques, but thats fine for people like me.

I haven't read a lot of similar books to compare and contrast with this one, but I certainly felt it was worth the money...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SOPHISTICATED FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT OR......, 21 Mar 2011
By 
DOPPLEGANGER (TEDDY B) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
......a gamble or "taking a view" said by those wishing to obscure Joe Public's perception of derivative trading as a casino activity.

Having read a few accounts of the causes of the recent Credit Crunch, which were littered with references to derivative trading being one of the major causes of the mind blowing frittering away of literally trillions of dollars on what according to the authors amounted to no more or no less than naked speculation, I wanted to know a little more about derivatives. Certainly Michael Durbins book "All About Derivatives - The Easy Way To Get Started", in its early stages introduces the basic derivative trades in an easily understandable way. I now know that a derivative is a price guarantee, and that most derivatives are an agreement between a future possible buyer and a future possible seller and basically fall into four types viz. Forward, Future, Swap and Options Contract each specifying an item known as the underlier, which can or must be sold.

This basic level of understanding was really all I was looking for and as the book went on to put flesh on the carcass, my willingness to learn the intricacies of derivative trading waned and my eyes started to glaze over by the time it got to The Black-Scholes Formula and Contango and Normal Backwardation! It seems to the uninitiated that a whole new dictionary of quasi-technical/scientific jargonese has been cobbled together that has the effect of deterring outsiders from understanding what is going on eg 'A One-Step Binomial Tree', 'Stochastic Volatility', and 'Pseudoequities and Pseudoprobability'.....see what I mean or should I say 'don't see'.

The author talks a great deal about the usefulness of derivatives as a legitimate hedging tool to help businesses concerns to protect their profits from the uncertainties of price, interest rates and foreign currency variations, which, of course has gone on for a long time. I just wonder if anybody knows the split in derivative trading volumes between 'genuine hedging' activity and the 'taking a view' wheeler dealers laying speculative bets? The problem with the latter is that if their trading is profitable they are showered with bonuses, but if they are 'down the pan' they just walk away leaving the shareholders or as recently seen, the taxpayers to pick up the tab. Drat it, I wish I had got on that gravy-train' when I was working!

I would imagine as good a book as you'll get for taking the first steps on the 'yellow brick' road to the wonderful wizardry of derivative trading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction, 13 Feb 2006
By A Customer
I can fully recommend this book as an introduction for people that are totally new to the area. The first half is a clear introduction to various types of derivative, while the second half goes into more detail on the pricing of derivatives.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for beginners, 14 May 2007
By 
B. Patel - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I haven't finished it yet, but this is a brilliant book and you feel that the author is in the room with you when you're reading it. He cuts though all the jargon in an easy and humorous style. The book is very clearly laid out and answers exactly what you need to know (eg. What is a swap? What are futures? How do you price a swap?). It's a fantastic way to build up your business knowledge.

I would really recommend this book to anyone who is new or has a passing knowledge of derivatives. I work in IT in interest rate derivatives and this book is by far the best I've bought. The other one I bought was Andrew Chisholm's 'Derivatives Demystified: A Step-by-Step Guide to Forwards, Futures, Swaps and Options' which I think isn't as good, so if I had a choice to pick between these two books, I'd definitely go for Durbin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction, 3 April 2006
By 
I thought this was an excellent introduction for those with a some experience of financial markets. The explanation of terminology, pricing examples and non-technical language all made the book very readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Derivative Introduction book. The only one you will need, 4 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. Fe Ike - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I simple love this book. The first chapter, 'Derivatives in a Nutshell' simply explains what they are in a very simplified manner, assuming that you have no prior knowledge of derivatives at all. It then progressively walk you through the other chapter going into more and more details about the main four types of derivatives, before finally walking you through all the calculations. What I like the most about this book is how it always uses a good example for explanation right after almost all definition in the book. I tell you you can teach a baby about derivatives using this book. I am a Programmer and coming from that background I was totally new to the financial world. after reading several other books, this was the last ever book I read on derivatives. I still use it as a reference. I highly recommend this book especially for those that are not of a financial background.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but with some mistakes that cost time to work through, 26 Jun 2011
All round great book, good introduction to derivatives and their uses and basic pricing strategies. However some math is wrong, causing me to work through them multiple times before I conclude that its a typo and move on. Also some graphs are wrong, especially the payoff diagrams, gives me the feeling that graphs are just copied and pasted with no modifications whatsoever. Shifting the payoff graphs of a short swap and swap eurodollar, for instance, should result in a net payoff line that passes above the intersection point when the delivery price is different from the swap price resulting in profit, instead it passes through the intersection which is only valid if the futures delivery price is equal to swap price resulting in zero payoff no matter what. Shifting the graphs up doesn't mean the net payoff shifts up equally as well!

Otherwise it provides a good introduction like I said, but fatal mistakes result in a lot of time wasted which could otherwise be put to use reading more books or finishing it faster.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligible summary of derivatives, 5 Feb 2014
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This book gave me all I asked for, easy, comprehensive summary of derivatives, great starting point. I would reccomend it to anyone who needs or wants to learn about derivatives as a first book to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Makes derivatives understandable, 7 Jan 2014
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Really good book, very good explanations and makes something potentially complicated seem easily understandable. It also has useful diagrams to help explain the different types of products.
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