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Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (1996)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0471295639, Paperback)With the stock market breaking records almost daily, leaving longtime market analysts shaking their heads and revising their forecasts, a study of the concept of risk seems quite timely. Peter Bernstein has written a comprehensive history of man's efforts to understand risk and probability, beginning with early gamblers in ancient Greece, continuing through the 17th-century French mathematicians Pascal and Fermat and up to modern chaos theory. Along the way he demonstrates that understanding risk underlies everything from game theory to bridge-building to winemaking.
(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 12 Jan 2011 11:46:50 -0500)
People constantly make choices, arrive at decisions, and take risks. Savers buy stocks, doctors perform operations, poker players figure the odds, and business managers launch new products. Without the instruments of risk management, such decisions would be impossible, because no one could figure out the likelihood of success. Yet the idea that we need not listen to soothsayers for advice is less than five hundred years old. This book blends biography with history and science to show how famous thinkers like Pascal, Bernoulli, Bayes, Keynes, Markowitz, Arrow and von Neumann paved the way from superstition to the supercomputer. But Bernstein tells of others as well, less known but equally important in developing the theory and practice of risk management. The book also explains significant concepts including probability, uncertainty, the distinction between chance and skill, the interactions between gambling and investing, and rational versus irrational decision-making.--From publisher description.
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