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My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance

ISBN: 978-1-118-42888-7
308 pages
June 2012
My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance (1118428889) cover image
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.
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Prologue: The Two Cultures.

Chapter 1: Elective Affinities.

Chapter 2: Dog Years.

Chapter 3: A Sort of Life.

Chapter 4: A Sentimental Education.

Chapter 5: The Mandarins.

Chapter 6: Knowledge of the Higher Worlds.

Chapter 7: In the Penal Colony.

Chapter 8: Stop-Time.

Chapter 9: Transformer.

Chapter 10: Easy Travel to Other Planets.

Chapter 11: Force of Circumstance.

Chapter 12: A Severed Head.

Chapter 13: Civilization and Its Discontents.

Chapter 14: Laugher in the Dark.

Chapter 15: The Snows of Yesteryear.

Chapter 16: The Great Pretender.

Acknowledgments.

About the Author.

Index.

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Emanuel Derman is a principal and Head of Risk at Prisma Capital Partners and a professor and Director of the Program in Financial Engineering at Columbia University. He was formerly a managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Co., which he joined in 1985 after an initial career in academic life and at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He is the co-creator of the widely used Black-Derman-Toy interest rate model and the Derman_Kani local volatility model. Among his many awards and honors, he was named the SunGard/IAFE Financial Engineer of the Year in 2000 and was appointed to the Risk Hall of Fame in 2002. He has a PhD in theoretical physics from Columbia University and is the author of numerous articles in elementary particle physics, computer science, and finance.
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"There are few "gentlemen bankers" left these days. Nor is there much room in the great financial houses for anything that smacks of the amateur spirit. That is why Emanuel Derman's memoirs are so compelling…Derman's wry humour and sense of irony are apparent throughout the book." - Financial Times

"That sense of being an intruder in outlaw territory lends an intriguing mood to Derman's My Life As a Quant, a literate and entertaining memoir." -Business Week

"engaging" --(CFO Europe, October 2005)

"Not only a delightful memoir, but one full of information, both about people and their enterprise. I never thought that I would be interested in quantitative financial analysis, but reading this book has been a fascinating education." –Jeremy Bernstein, author of Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma

"This wonderful autobiography takes place in that special time when scientists discovered Wall Street and Wall Street discovered them. It is elegantly written by a gifted observer who was a pioneering member of the new profession of financial engineering, with an evident affection both for finance as a science and for the scientists who practice it. Derman’s portrait of how the academics brought their new financial science to the world of business and forever changed it and, especially, his descriptions of the late and extraordinary genius Fischer Black who became his mentor, reveal a surprising humanity where it might be least expected. Who should read this book? Anyone with a serious interest in finance and everyone who simply wants to enjoy a good read."–Stephen Ross, Franco Modigliani Professor of Finance and Economics, Sloan School, MIT

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