Book Review: The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It – Scott Patterson

I read this as a follow up to “More money then God” and while it was good it was not nearly as good as Mallaby’s book. I did enjoy it and its a pretty good recap of some of the financial shenanigans that may or may not have created the turbulence in the markets over the last couple years. But it simply did not flow nearly as well as “More money then God”, not to put the writer down, since it was an enjoyable read, I just don’t think Patterson is as good of a writer as Mallaby.

I was probably most disappointed by the fact that I had anticipated more of the “inside baseball” type of material, and while the history and some of the how to was there, all in all it was more of a 10,000 foot view of quantitative analysis. I had hoped for more nitty gritty, but of course it is a mainstream book and I doubt more then 2% of the population has any interest in the real under the hood workings of Quants.

My other goal in buying the book was to get a little more history on Ken Griffin. The book did feature him and provided me with enough information to change my viewpoint on him. Whether fair or not I have a diminished respect for him after reading the book. Of course he is involved in finance, so not sure why I ever had a heightened opinion of him. I should know that anyone and everyone in finance should NEVER be looked up to or admired..

All in all a good book, I think I went into reading it with a little too much excitement and maybe never gave it the full chance it deserved. Indeed interesting material, just tough to get into it after reading the great “More money then God” right before reading this, maybe if I read them 6 months apart I would have a higher opinion of it.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It – Scott Patterson”

  1. Thanks for the review! The most enjoyable book I’ve read about quants is The Predictors; although this book, like the one you reviewed, does not get into too much detail about the methodology. It did help to follow the story of a single quant firm, though, which provided somewhat of a story to maintain reading attention. The Predictors covers the startup of Prediction Company (predict.com), now owned by UBS. I wouldn’t recommend it… it’s just the best (albeit still poor) book I’ve read so far on the subject.

    I agree with you that there should be a book that is written in prose but that also gets into the practical “how” of what quants do. I understand they use math and neural nets… alright, thank you, got it- can you explain to me a little bit more about how it works without resorting to scribbling formulas? Some author should be able to do this, absolutely agreed.

  2. Agreed I think it would be cool if somebody like Michael Lewis wrote about the insides of Quants.

    How about you issue me a 50K advance and I’ll start researching today! 🙂

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