Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast Reading Options Trader, 18 May 2014
This review is from: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants (Paperback)
This is an interesting book with detailed stories to illustrate the arguments. However, when the story is presented with a level of checkable detail and turns out to be absurd, that undermines the argument and the credibility of what remains. Gary Cohn (now head of Goldman Sachs) tells the story of how he came into trading. He gets into a taxi in the Friday rush hour with a trader who is setting up an options trading division. Cohn pretends to be the expert and comes in on Monday morning to get the job. He spends the weekend reading The MacMillan 'Options as a strategic investment' book. Gladwell tells us that he works through it one word at a time, repeating sentences until he understands them. He then tells us that Cohn would take 6 hours to read the 22 page chapter we are reading. So, assume he went bought the book on the way home he will have had max 6 hours on the Friday. Assume he was in at 0900 on Monday. Plus the 48 hours for the weekend makes 63 hours. 63 divided by 6 makes 10.5 lots of 22 pages which is 231 pages. The trouble is that the current edition of the MacMillan is 1048 pages. So, with no knowledge he was able to choose the correct 22% of the book that he needed? And that required that he read continuously, which is extremely hard for dyslexics. As with all good arguments, the devil can be found in the detail and Gladwell skates over the surface, which is often a fascinating place to start, but we cannot trust that it won't unravel if we just knew a little more.
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Location: London

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