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The hour between dog and wolf : risk-taking,…

The hour between dog and wolf : risk-taking, gut feelings and the biology… (2012)

by John Coates

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Risk takinng, gut feelings, and the biology of boom and bust
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
The author is a former bank trader, now a physiology researcher. He considers the impact of physiology on the performance of traders. He applies the "winner's effect" of successful harem breeders such as walrus and seals, to the activities of traders - when on a successful roll they get high doses of testosterone, feel invincible, and end up taking unreasonable risks, which results in erratic ups and downs in their performance. He also examines the corollary, where a traders undergoes prolonged stress during a downturn, and how the impact of stress on the body leads to excessive risk aversion. Amazing stuff. Clearly the application of these insights goes far beyond bank traders, but that field is the author's background and it makes for a highly topical book.
Read December 2014 ( )
  mbmackay | Dec 13, 2014 |
This is an outstanding book: well-written, informative and deeply engaging. It provides a summary of the latest research into the physiological effects of stress and risk-taking, with particular reference to financial markets. The picture it paints is absolutely compelling, and should be read by anyone who works with (or near) bank traders of any kind - the managers of those traders should be particularly interested! ( )
  gbsallery | May 20, 2013 |
In this Wellcome Trust shortlisted book, Coates describes his research into the feedback loop between testosterone and success in the financial market. When a person has high levels of testosterone, they are prone to risk taking - which generally promotes the market; however, success raises their testosterone levels, which increases their risks and creates bubbles (like the dot-com bubble) which are unnatural and eventually pop. Loss of money leads to decreased testosterone levels and release of stress hormones - which, if sustained for long periods of time can lead to a depressed, risk-averse market. This is when the government should step in and perk up the market themselves. (You can probably guess Coates' politics from that statement, but the book is generally apolitical.)

I found Coates' research quite fascinating, and his writing was engaging to someone who's interested in the topic. I, unfortunately, am not generally interested in finance and so my attention wavered a bit during the finance-heavy bits. But the book was written in an approachable way such that I (who know nothing of the matter) could understand the financial/market bits and that someone who knows very little medicine could understand the science bits. In fact, it was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize because because it makes medicine approachable to the general population. For anyone interested in how hormones/neuroscience/psychology can affect the market, this would be an excellent book to pick up. An easy and interesting read. ( )
4 vote The_Hibernator | Jan 5, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007413513, Hardcover)

As scandal and the aftershocks of the crash rock the financial world, former Wall Street trader John Coates investigates why our financiers are driven to take risks. Now shortlisted for the 2012 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award and the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, this startling and unconventional book sees neuroscientist and former Wall Street trader John Coates explain something we have long suspected: that we think with our body as well as our brain. And this only intensifies when we take risks; at work, in sport and on the financial markets. Making and losing money provokes an overwhelming biological response, and this can alter the way we behave. Could this bodily turmoil lead to the kind of irrational behaviour that so regularly upsets the global economy? In a series of groundbreaking experiments, Coates has shown that under the pressure of risk our biology transforms us into different people. Traders and investors are especially prone, becoming revved-up and testosterone-driven when on a winning streak, and tentative and risk-averse when cowering from losses. Revealing the biology of bubbles and crashes, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf sheds new and surprising light on issues that affect us all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:23 -0400)

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A Wall Street trader-turned-neuroscientist reveals the biology of boom-and-bust cycles to explain the impact of risk taking on body chemistry, citing the relationship between testosterone, decision making, and emotional health.

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