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Название: My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance
Автор: Derman E.
I think anyone working in (quantitative) finance will get something out of this book. It is unique and there won't be another one like it (impact/success wise), because of how much the world of quant finance has changed over the past 10-15 years. It is written by one of the best authors in both the world of fixed income and the world of equities.
The book is Derman's autobiography which can be divided into three parts: academia, Bell Labs, Wall Street. The first part occupies about half of the book and to be honest it is a little depressing. I gave four stars instead of five because of the first half of the book. Derman describes his grad student years, post-doc years, uncertainty of academic career, his separation from wife and child while he worked in CO all in too much detail and mostly negatively. Like most quants I am familiar with negative sides of an academic career, so I felt it was unnecessary to spend so much time on describing those things. After-all it has little to do with being a quant and it is not why I bought the book.
The chapter about Bell Labs was very interesting. Derman describes the laid back life style at Bell Labs, the department and the people who developed UNIX, shell scripting, etc. He talks about how he himself wrote a compiler for a language aimed at solving partial differential equations. As any quant I love software, so I really enjoyed this chapter. It is also clear that the software development skills that Derman obtained while working at Bell Labs were a major reason he got hired by Goldman.
The Wall Street part describes the life of a research quant. These days there are several types of quants doing very different jobs in finance. Derman does not describe any one of those except for the research quant, i.e. developing new models for pricing and hedging, especially exotic options. He describes the rise of the exotic options market and Goldman's involvement (in a similar fashion to Lewis describing the rise of Mortgage Backed Securities in Liar's Poker. I thought the styles were very similar). A fair amount of the book is devoted to Derman's work with Fisher Black and the creation of the Black-Derman-Toy model. It certainly makes the book very valuable and worth reading.