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Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives Paperback – 20 Apr 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Financial Times/ Prentice Hall; 1 edition (20 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0273704745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0273704744
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

The sexier side of finance ... at last ... a convincing picture of what life is like in today's modern financial industry. Traders Guns and Money by Satyajit Das not only has a catchy title, it actually manages to entertain, educate and inform."  Corporate Financier, July 2006

"A must read for all CEOs, CFOs, Bankers and anyone who cares about what banks are doing with their money." - Finance Asia, May 2006

"... revealing insider's account"  - Director, April 2006

"... true rarity: a derivatives book that keeps your attention all the way through. " FOW April 2006

"... a welcome addition to the literature."  - The Sheet, April 2006

"... a scalpel of a book" - Financial Engineering News, July 2006

"A distincly timely book... This makes fascinating reading.... A good crib sheet for how the whole derivatives game works. " - Financial Times, May 2006

"Forewarned is forearmed." - Money Week, May 2006

"Das is especially good on structured products and on the recently fashionable world of structured credit... a diverting read" - Financial World, July 2006

"a worthwhile read for anyone with connection to the financial world" - World Finance, July 2006

"The murky and complex world of finances and derivatives is scrupulously and frantically told in this brilliant narrative. ... This is a collection and recollection of exquisite financial tales well worth your time.' Convergence, September 2006

"...a fascinating and compelling insight into the world of derivatives... [TGM has] a page turning quality more reminiscent of a John Grisham novel than a dissertation on derivatives." - FINASIA, October 2006

"An absorbing accessible primer... scoots along at a blistering pace" - Wilmott Magazine, December 2006

Author featured as expert in Asia Risk, Bloomberg, Financial Times all in December 2006

"one of the most entertaining investment books I've read in a long time... I can't recommend this book strongly enough" - Blogginstocks Jan 07

"part thriller, part expose… will be useful for anyone with connection to finance…will tell you some of the truth of what really does go on." Society of Business Economists Book Review - Jan 07

 

From the Inside Flap

Warren Buffet once memorably described derivatives as "financial weapons of mass destruction". Read this sensational and controversial account of the often dazzling business of derivatives trading, and see if you agree.
No money is ever really made in financial markets. Markets merely transfer wealth. As to how to make money? Well, it is basically theft, misrepresentation, lies, cheating, deception or force. It is impossible to make the staggering amounts made in derivatives in good years honestly.
Traders, Guns & Money is a wry and wickedly comic exposé of the culture, games, and pure deceptions played out every day in trading rooms around the world, usually with other people’s money. Whether you move in the financial world yourself, know people who do, or have money invested in stocks, shares or derivatives, this is a fascinating read guaranteed to make you think.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading the book Traders, Guns, and Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das. It is an interesting book in that it is a fictionalized autobiography of Das. As the book outlines the author's professional life in finance, it describes how he got involved in financial derivatives. The primary purpose of the book is to give a primer on derivatives, how they were created, how they are used, their benefits, and their dangers. The author's use of humor along with the hilarious vignettes of his finance associates (Nero, Clem/Crem, Adewiko, Budi, etc.) and funny anecdotes from his career made the book fun to read.

The book really helped explain what exactly derivatives are (giving me a good review of some of what I was taught in college) and how they are used today. I also appreciated the in-depth analysis of several well-known instances where derivatives were used by investors and companies which really helped to demonstrate their application in the real world as well as the oftentimes hidden dangers of using these financial tools. I found his discussion of the currency swap done by the Walt Disney Company in the 1980's to be of particular interest to me. Despite the fact that I previously read the HBS case study during a Derivatives and Risk Management course which I took as a student at Harvard, Das's explanation of the incident really gave me an even better understanding of how exactly the transaction was structured and how it eventually went wrong. His explanation of why Disney's financial advisors made the deal so complex was also amusing. (You will have to read the book to find out.)

Moreover, Satyajit Das really underscored the complex nature of derivatives and their use in either speculative bets or in hedges.
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Format: Paperback
I've read many books on the markets--both anecdotal ones such as Mike Lewis's "Liar's Poker" and Frank Partnoy's "F.I.A.S.C.O." and more academics ones such as Mark Anson's "Handbook of Alternative Investments" and Alexander Ineichen's "Absolute Returns". Never, though, have I read one as well-balanced as Satyajit Das's "Traders, Guns & Money".

Mr. Das has something that other writers lack: range and depth of experience. He's written many academic texts on derivatives and is a 25-year veteran of the industry--and it shows. He's been on the buy-side, sell-side, middle-man and consulting and he doesn't pull any punches as he describes the players' motivations, personalities and inherent weaknesses. He also has a quant's understanding of the various products and permutations out there, but in explaining them he always takes the language back to Earth--which is a boon for all readers.

If you're at all interested in structured products (this includes Principal Protected Notes), derivatives or financial engineering, and whether you're at the start or end of your financial career you'll find this book interesting, enlightening and downright fun.
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Format: Paperback
Das' sardonic description of the derivatives industry provides an extremely entertaining new approach to a genre saturated with glorified good fortune and dire warnings of imminent market apocalypse. The comically acid tone with which he describes every element of the business (from front to back-office) has much more in common with Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" than the academic tomes on credit derivatives and structured products that preceded it.

If you are considering a career in investment banking, this book is required reading. Along with an incredible introduction to derivatives and their impact on financial markets, "Traders, Guns and Money" touches on the frustrations involved in working at every level of the bank, describing the internal friction and disparity between support functions (product control, operations, accounting, risk control... the almost always overlooked segments of the firm that comprise the majority of people at any bank) and the front office traders with a surprising degree of insight.
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Format: Paperback
Traders, guns and money is an entertaining foray into the complex world of financial derivatives. Satyajit Das manages to take a topic, that has sent countless students to sleep in the lecture room, and make it engaging and yet informative at the same time.

The real beauty of the book lies in the fact that the author has real world experience within the field he is writing about. Hence you do not just read about derivatives and the related formulas and theories. Instead you read real stories where derivatives were involved along with immeasurable amounts of arrogance, greed and money. This approach makes you feel like you a reading a Wilbur Smith book with all its excitement rather than a book on derivatives. Yet all this is achieved without dumbing down any of the anecdotes or watering down his language to fit a "target audience" while all the while never succumbing to peronal ego boosting.

However, unlike many other authors that have tried a similar tact in regards to financial writing, Satyajit avoids the trap of getting lost amongst the stories. Throughout the whole book there is a clear and logical structure which is followed consistently. By the time any reader has finished reading this book, they will feel like an expert on derivatives who has been in the markets for decades. Though these decades of expertise are only gleaned in the short time it takes to read this book.

Guns Trader and Money is easily the best book to open up the world of finance since Liar's poker was released almost two decades ago.
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