Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk Paperback – 29 Sep 1998
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
AGAINST THE GODS appeared in the "Washington Is Also Reading..." section of The Washington Post Book World. The book is described as, "A comprehensive history of man's efforts to understand risk and probability, from ancient gamblers in Greece to modern chaos theory."-The Washington Post Book World, September 20, 1998
A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller "Ambitious and readable ...an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism." -The New York Times "An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book." -The Wall Street Journal "A lively panoramic book ...Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it." -Business Week "Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read." -The Economist "[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world." -Worth "No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement." -Robert Heilbroner author, The Worldly Philosophers "With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it."-John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today. "An extremely readable history of risk." -Barron's "Fascinating ...this challenging volume will help you understand the uncertainties that every investor must face." -Money "A singular achievement." -Times Literary Supplement "There's a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly-witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)-and Bernstein would mingle well in their company." -The Australian See all Product description
Customers who bought this item also bought
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
One concept I delighted in was that the 'invention of Accounting' to keep track of expenses and profits was as significant, if not more, than the Industrial Revolution !
In the latter part of the book the Author show he does not understand the evolution of Derivatives or their uses.
Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in risk management models, but can conceptualise that as past data is a prerequisite no model can perfectly factor in unforeseen tail risks.
Not until 1654 would an answer to the previous question finally be discovered when the French Lawyer and amateur Mathematician Pierre de Fermat joined forces with the French Mathematician Blaise Pascal. Peter Bernstein's "Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk" traces not only their relationship, but the complete history of man's understanding of probability and risk and the lives of the many thinkers who explored it.
The book follows the development of modern elementary mathematics, probability, distribution, risk management, game theory, human behaviour and ends with an overview of the role of risk in financial instruments. First, the book provides a complete overview of the historical role of gambling and the development of the numerical system used today by Hindu-Arabic thinkers and Fibonacci. Second, it follows Pacciloi, Cardano, Hyugen, Leibniz, Graunt, Pascal and Fermet's development of probability and Graunt, Petty and Halley's development of statistics. Third, the role of the normal distribution, variance and regression to the mean is introduced through the works of Moivre, Bayes, Gauss, Laplace, Galton, Quetlet and Cornot while Bernoulli, Bentham, Jevons introduce the importance of utility. Fourth, the role of modern risk management in portfolios is introduced through variance and diversification by the works of Bachelier and Markowitz whilst Thaler, Kanheman and Tversky introduce the role of realistic human behaviour against the assumption of human rationality. Finally, the role of modern financial instruments is introduced through the creation of the Black-Scholes option pricing formula and the role of derivatives in both reducing and exacerbating risk.
Bernstein provides a lively account of the mathematical history of probability and risk which puts the advances of modern mathematics in perspective, but disappointingly fails to really emphasize the significance of their discoveries. Bernstein has a similar writing style of Robert Heilbroner in the Wordly Philosophers and Bill Bryson in A short History of Nearly Everything with an ability to not only convey the significance of complex ideas, but to explore the humanity of those behind them in the context of their time and place in history. However, the book fails to explain the significance of these discoveries- only briefly mentioning their significance in financial markets through the development of portfolio diversification and the rise of derivatives. What about the use of statistics and probability in Medicine, Biology, Physics and other scientific fields let alone the inclusion of statistics in a plethora of aspects of everyday life?
Regardless, open a college textbook on statistics after reading "Against the Gods" and Bernstein injects a breath of fresh air, placing the formulas taken for granted into the context of four centuries of mathematical thought.
Bernstein is certainly guilty of a degree of chronological snobbery, especially in the early chapters, and oversimplification (at best, or misunderstanding, at worst) of theistic views of risk. This can be a bit annoying. However, if you can see past this and take some of his sweeping statements with a pinch of salt, it makes for a good and thorough read. Certainly recommended.