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on 4 November 1997
This is the book to read if you want to sound like an expert on modern, non-traditional methods of financial analysis. By the time you've finished this 371-page volume, you'll know all the buzzwords, the names of the important researchers and research centers, and even the names of early Greeks (Democritos and Pythagoras, for example) who laid some of the groundwork for Chaos Theory.
As the broad historical sweep suggests, this is a book that paints in very broad strokes -- covering not only a wide range of research areas (chaos, complexity, artificial intelligence, computer simulation), but also a dizzying range of disciplines (physics, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, economics) and historical perspective.
What this book does not do, unfortunately, is teach you how to practice any of this stuff. In its quest to present a conceptual picture, it glosses over the science and engineering in ways that border on heresy. Consider this novel explanation of Einstein's special and general theories of relativity:
"If Newton's laws of motion put an end to the idea of absolute position in space, Einstein's theory of relativity gets rid of absolute time. What Albert Einstein established is that
" - There is no unique absolute time.
" - Instead, each person has her or his own personal measure of time.
"This measure of time depends on where that person is and how he or she is moving. With these two contributions, space and time have become dynamic entities. When a body moves or a force acts, it affects the curvature of space and time. Something similar can be stated about behavior in the financial markets."
This is neither science nor economics; it's conceptual handwaving (although I cannot resist the image of traders careening around the exchange floor at velocities approaching the speed of light :-). If you speak this sort of language, you'll like the book. If, on the other hand, you're a technical reader who wants to learn how to practice -- consider the other book I purchased at the same time: Robert Trippi's "Chaos & Nonlinear Dynamics in the Financial Markets" -- a combination of introductory articles and real papers by real researchers, and much better on the technical details.
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on 2 June 1999
Apparently a book's value is in the eyes of the beholder. The Oregonian writer of the negative comments about the Chorafas book reached a far different conclusion than I did. I think that person must have been looking for an elementary cookbook that would make him rich by following a few simple rules and not having any work to do. Personally, the Chorafas book was exactly the launching point I needed, and I used my engineering background to develop Chorafas' concepts and apply them directly to the stock market, and I am making a lot of money.
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