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The Concepts and Practice of Mathematical Finance (Mathematics, Finance and Risk) Hardcover – 30 Oct 2008
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'The book is intended as an introduction for a numerate person to the discipline of mathematical finance. In this, Mark Joshi succeeds admirably - an excellent starting point for a numerate person in the field of mathematical finance.' Risk Magazine
' … ideal for those who want to learn or deepen their knowledge about Quantitative Finance … The breadth of the book particularly impressed me. It went from theoretical to practical, while covering implementation-related issues. It makes concepts such as Martingales, Measures and Numéraires look so natural and easy. Pricing Quantos or Spread-Options becomes an innate result of these concepts.' Wilmott Magzine
The author allows the reader as often as possible to get an intuition for the models and concepts. Helpful information is given on how to use and implement these models and concepts in practical terms. This practice-orientation makes this book different from others belonging to this category … the text is also well suited as a textbook for a quantitative-oriented introductory course on finance at universities or other academic institutions … one can say that this introductory book in offering a well balanced and up-to-date introduction to the theory and practice of mathematical finance overshadows many other books available on the same subject.' Zentralblatt MATH
'The book has been very nicely produced by Cambridge University Press. I would certainly recommend that anyone teaching an introductory or intermediate course on this topic seriously consider this book as a potential course text.' International Statistical Institute
'Very few books provide a balance between financial theory and practice. This book is one of the few that strikes that balance … certainly a good addition to your collection of financial mathematics books.' SIAM Review
'The set-up of this book certainly meets the needs of the audience for whom this book is written. Moreover, the author brings the material in a very comprehensive way leading to new or better insights in several aspects of the material. An innovation is that besides worked out examples and exercises, a list of computer projects are included which encourage the reader to implement the models. This certainly adds to the learning process.' Kwantitatieve Methoden
The second edition of a successful text providing the working knowledge needed to become a good quantitative analyst. An ideal introduction to mathematical finance, readers will gain a clear understanding of the intuition behind derivatives pricing, how models are implemented, and how they are used and adapted in practice.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The style leads you to believe you have a grip on what the author is talking about, but when you come to try this knowledge, you realize how tenuous this grip was. More problematically, the author veers from topic to topic very rapidly, and so the information that he relates is scattered about throughout the book. Definitions and important concepts are often buried in the middle of a lengthy and otherwise irrelevant paragraph, making them tricky to find when you come to question your understanding later.
The book is thus easy to read the first time, but unfortunately near useless as a serious study or a reference book, where you might want to have all the information in one place. It is a shame as the author has a knack for explaining topics well, but, because he cannot do so in a logical sequence, I cannot recommend this book.
However this is not a rigorous financial mathematics handbook (my favourite is "Stochastic Calculus" by Klebaner). Some mathematical concepts are just touched (Feynman-Kac theorem, quadratic variation), others are explained in more details (Ito's formula). Overall, the balance between theory and applications helps to understand how mathematical framework fits into financial applications (e.g. `change of time' linked with share market activity fluctuations etc.). In this regard, Chapter 6 "Risk neutrality and martingale measures" is worth reading by itself.
The only disadvantage I could think of is numerous typos, so check the book' website for corrections. As a bonus for amateur quantitative finance analysts reading the book, there is a forum on the book moderated by the author.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Overall, I feel that this is a very good introduction to the field of mathematical finance. The canonical suggestion for people of my background is to start with Hull's book (Options, Futures & Other Derivatives with Derivagem CD Value Package (includes Student Solutions Manual for Options, Futuresd Other Derivatives) (7th Edition)). I disagree---not only is that book too expensive, if you have an advanced degree I feel that you should start with a more advanced textbook. I feel that this book is written at an advanced undergrad/intro grad level text, and should keep the reader interested. Moreover, Joshi does a very good job of explaining things from many different angles, which is very helpful if you're just learning the field. The problems tend to be easy, and you can work through this book in two or three months without much effort, except in Chapters 6 and 8 (see below).
There are a dozen or so longer computer projects in the back, and Joshi recommends his readers complete all of the projects before starting to look for a quant job. I think this is probably a good idea, and one should supplement their C++ coding with Joshi's other book (C++ Design Patterns and Derivatives Pricing (Mathematics, Finance and Risk)). Before attempting either the projects or Mark's other book, you should be familiar with classes and inheritance and all the associated goodies (virtual functions, etc.). This will allow you to get the most out of both of Joshi's books.
Another wonderful resource associated with this book is Mark's discussion forum (see the Preface), where he answers questions personally (or, perhaps, has a graduate student to do his dirty work). Either way, this is an invaluable tool for self study, as Joshi (or his ward) answer questions there regularly, and I've never had to wait more than a day or two for a response.
That being said, I do find the writing style to be too prosaic at times. For me, I feel that the author belabors some points while leaving others unaddressed. Other notational/stylistic issues really bugged me---for example, the author has a habit of writing expressions instead of equations (i.e. writing just the right hand side of an equation). This drove me nuts, as it diminishes the value of the text as a reference because you can't scan through to find an equation. (If you think I'm crazy for mentioning this, I warned you!) I also felt that Chapters 6 and 8 took a lot of work and seemed needlessly complicated, though this may represent my own shortcomings as opposed to the author's. I felt as if I was thrown into the pool, so to speak, in Chapter 6, which didn't provide enough background for understanding what is going on in Chapter 8. Readers who have a solid background in real analysis and probability theory will probably fare better. Chapter 6 is rife with typos, so careful reader should keep the errata from Joshi's website close at hand.
In summary, this book is a cross between a formal mathematical introduction to the subject, and a primer on practical application, tending more towards the former than the latter. It distinguishes itself from other purely mathematical introductions in its style: instead of the ``theorem-proof-corollary-proof-useless example'' format of a math book, Joshi thoughtfully examines the important concepts from complementary angles. And while I feel that it is a very good introduction to the field, you simply cannot learn all there is to learn about the field from one introductory textbook, so I suggest that interested readers supplement their study with a more qualitative/less math-y reference (I'm reading Tim Crack's Basic Black-Scholes: Option Pricing and Trading) and a textbook which focuses more on the mathematical tools (I particularly like Baxter and Rennie's Financial Calculus : An Introduction to Derivative Pricing). By combining this textbook with a few other references, and taking Joshi's Table of Contents as the syllabus, I feel that the interested reader should be able to develop a very full understanding of the rudiments of this interesting field.
I have been using it in addition to Shreve's Stochastic Calculus for Finance I and II, and Hull's Options Futures and Other Derivatives.
This book covers topics which are not new to me but provided a different flavor / explanation / view point / approach.
I also like the coverage in terms of plactical issues involved in implementing some of these models and project works.
I didn't like some of the actual math / techniques skipped in the interest rate derivative pricing section.
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