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My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics…
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My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance

by Emanuel Derman

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This book is a must read for:

  • physicists and mathematicians who have become quants.

  • physicists and mathematicians who are thinking of becoming quants.

  • students considering whether to spend several years of their lives
    working on a PhD.



I also recommend it to:

  • physicists and mathematicians who enjoy computer programming.

  • anyone who wants to know what derivatives are (finance, not calculus).

  • anyone who is curious about what quants do.

  • anyone interested in quantitative finance.

  • anyone with the ambition of developing a grand unified theory of
    finance.

  • anyone who would enjoy a well written autobiography by a thoughtful
    highly intelligent physicist turned quant with a small ego.



This book has the following distinctly different parts:

  • life as a student at Columbia University.

  • life as a postdoc at Oxford, Rockefeller, and Boulder.

  • leaving physics as a profession and working at Bell Labs.

  • life as a quant at Goldman Sachs and Solomon Brothers.



I found this book to be remarkably good, interesting, and well written.
( )
  RichardHollos | Jul 5, 2011 |
I enjoyed the biography aspect of the book and I really enjoyed the parts about programming under Unix/C.

The financial parts, though, left me pretty lost. A glossary with some brief financial definitions of 'zero-coupon', 'put', 'strike', 'option', and others would have been helpful. ( )
  dvf1976 | Apr 23, 2008 |
A memoir describing Derman's career. After postgraduate work in physics, he transitioned to finance, and spent seventeen years as a "quant" at Goldman Sachs. ( )
  breic2 | Mar 3, 2008 |
Pretty much what you would expect, including the discussion of how badly academic physicists are treated.

Unfortunately not nearly as technical regarding either finance math or how physics idea (eg gauge theory or path integrals) are used thereby as I had hoped for. ( )
  name99 | Nov 16, 2006 |
For a quant, Derman certainly knows how to put complicated ideas and abstract concepts in simple words, and he has a agreat sense of humor that makes his life stories much more fun to read. ( )
  gq2000 | Jun 30, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0471394203, Hardcover)

In My Life as a Quant, Emanuel Derman relives his exciting journey as one of the first high-energy particle physicists to migrate to Wall Street. Page by page, Derman details his adventures in this field—analyzing the incompatible personas of traders and quants, and discussing the dissimilar nature of knowledge in physics and finance. Throughout this tale, he also reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:10 -0400)

"My Life as a Quant is Derman's account of his search for answers as he undergoes his transformation from ambitious young scientist to managing director. His book is simultaneously wide-ranging and personal. He tells the story of his passage between two worlds; he recounts his adventures with physicists, quants, options traders, and other highfliers on Wall Street; he analyzes the incompatible personas of traders and quants; and he meditates on the dissimilar natures of knowledge in physics and finance. Throughout his tale, he reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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