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The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim…
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The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant… (original 2019; edition 2019)

by Gregory Zuckerman (Author)

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2079104,003 (3.82)5
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award The unbelievable story of a secretive mathematician who pioneered the era of the algorithm--and made $23 billion doing it. Jim Simons is the greatest money maker in modern financial history. No other investor--Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Ray Dalio, Steve Cohen, or George Soros--can touch his record. Since 1988, Renaissance's signature Medallion fund has generated average annual returns of 66 percent. The firm has earned profits of more than $100 billion; Simons is worth twenty-three billion dollars. Drawing on unprecedented access to Simons and dozens of current and former employees, Zuckerman, a veteran Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, tells the gripping story of how a world-class mathematician and former code breaker mastered the market. Simons pioneered a data-driven, algorithmic approach that's sweeping the world. As Renaissance became a market force, its executives began influencing the world beyond finance. Simons became a major figure in scientific research, education, and liberal politics. Senior executive Robert Mercer is more responsible than anyone else for the Trump presidency, placing Steve Bannon in the campaign and funding Trump's victorious 2016 effort. Mercer also impacted the campaign behind Brexit. The Man Who Solved the Market is a portrait of a modern-day Midas who remade markets in his own image, but failed to anticipate how his success would impact his firm and his country. It's also a story of what Simons's revolution means for the rest of us.… (more)
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Title:The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution
Authors:Gregory Zuckerman (Author)
Info:Portfolio (2019), 384 pages
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The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution by Gregory Zuckerman (2019)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This was an audiobook for me. The story was rather incredible especially considering some of the participants and the quite scientific approach they took, so different from traditional financial circles. But then again there in probably lies the answer to how the market was "solved." There is no doubt they were and seem to continue to be successful in pulling numbers from the market, but the roller coaster ride always seemed to put them on the precipice of disaster.

The book itself was enjoyable as the suspense and personalities involved in the drama of tackling the financial markets from a different strategy kept me interested in discovering the next turn. Almost like a real crime mystery book. The quants did seem to prevail and of course we still don't know exactly how they did it as the book does not really go there.

It winds up with the creator of the funds Jim Simon seemingly sailing off into the sunset as he approaches his 90's, a chain smoker at that! I found it amusing how he portrays this liberal bent of lets make everyone pays their fair share for the good of the down trodden. Yet they really didn't as the exploited every loophole they could to keep those riches in their own pockets. And well lived lives of luxury beyond luxury on the spoils of their gains. ( )
  knightlight777 | Oct 26, 2021 |
An Excellent Biography, I enjoyed reading political factions within a company. It seems that it can be applied everywhere.

I would recommend this to people who are interested in Biographies, Investment, Wall-Street.

Deus Vult,
Gottfried ( )
  gottfried_leibniz | Jun 25, 2021 |
I had always believed in the efficient market hypothesis. This book convinced me that I was wrong: it's not that there aren't inefficiencies to be exploited in financial markets, it's just that humans suck at seeing them. The same cognitive biases that create those inefficiencies in the first place also prevent us from exploiting them. We see signal where there is only noise, we anchor our expectations, we become emotionally invested in our choices. But the machine is immune to all that.

Zuckerman gets into a lot more detail about Renaissance's models than I expected him to. I guess by now there are enough ex-employees willing to share company secrets. Or maybe the company secrets they are willing to share are not that big anymore: using Markov chains to model price movements, looking for price ratios instead of absolute prices, etc. Whatever is happening at quant funds right now is probably way beyond any of that (convolutional neural networks that count cars in Walmart's parking lots, that sort of thing).

I was ready to roll up my sleeves and start modelling stuff, but fortunately I got to this point in the book first: "In the five years leading up to spring of 2019, quant-focused hedge funds gained about 4.2 percent a year on average, compared with a gain of 3.3 percent for the average hedge fund in the same period." Well, the S&P500 yields on average 9.8% a year (6% after inflation). For Simons to get his average 66% yearly return he had to hire a team of geniuses. I'm no genius, and I'm not in a position to hire any geniuses to work for me, so I guess I'm staying with index funds (except maybe for some "fun money").

Overall this is a well written, well researched book, and I got a lot out of it. ( )
  marzagao | Jun 1, 2021 |
Great book about Renaissance Technologies and the algorithmic/statistical arbitrage business.

This is more about the people and the business, not about the technology or decisions made, but there was enough of an overview of how things evolved to be interesting. I wish I'd worked at a business like this in the late 90s/early 00s on the data/infrastructure team -- sounds amazing!

Interesting tidbits: traders were benchmarking themselves against Madoff and coming up short -- only to find out years later that it's because Madoff was a ponzi scheme.

RenTech was mostly closed to outside money in the early 2000s, so it was essentially trading for employee benefit. There were much larger longer-term funds running concurrently open to the public, but the employee fund was vastly more successful.

There were political problems with Robert and Rebecca Mercer -- while most people were leftists, Mercer was conservative and somewhat of a troll, and when he overtly supported Trump/Breitbart/etc. there was pushback both internally (which was largely ignored) and from the outsider public (also somewhat ignored). An employee (David Magerman) went against him and RenTech in the press and was fired, things escalated, and then at some point LPs in one of the funds started complaining as well, so Mercer left stepped down as CEO. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Serviceable biography, as far as I know. No real great insight into anything, but interesting given the personalities and the industry. ( )
  jcvogan1 | Dec 31, 2019 |
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award The unbelievable story of a secretive mathematician who pioneered the era of the algorithm--and made $23 billion doing it. Jim Simons is the greatest money maker in modern financial history. No other investor--Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Ray Dalio, Steve Cohen, or George Soros--can touch his record. Since 1988, Renaissance's signature Medallion fund has generated average annual returns of 66 percent. The firm has earned profits of more than $100 billion; Simons is worth twenty-three billion dollars. Drawing on unprecedented access to Simons and dozens of current and former employees, Zuckerman, a veteran Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, tells the gripping story of how a world-class mathematician and former code breaker mastered the market. Simons pioneered a data-driven, algorithmic approach that's sweeping the world. As Renaissance became a market force, its executives began influencing the world beyond finance. Simons became a major figure in scientific research, education, and liberal politics. Senior executive Robert Mercer is more responsible than anyone else for the Trump presidency, placing Steve Bannon in the campaign and funding Trump's victorious 2016 effort. Mercer also impacted the campaign behind Brexit. The Man Who Solved the Market is a portrait of a modern-day Midas who remade markets in his own image, but failed to anticipate how his success would impact his firm and his country. It's also a story of what Simons's revolution means for the rest of us.

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