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This book delivers on its promotional statement. Yes, it is a personal memoir. I was a little wary, wondering how self-indulgent it might be. But I was pleasantly surprised. This skilled teacher sprinkles a few personal details across a much bigger canvas of history, institutions (universities, exchanges, various players, regulators). He builds from pretty basic nuts and bolts to deeper understandings of the instruments, the exchanges, the dynamics, etc. I like the story format if it has enough substance, as this does.
It traces very well the innovation process, from the study going in, through assembling the people and other resources, through the implementation. Along the way, we follow a brilliant man's journey and choices, from the "inside out" -- inside the universities, then considering pushing further in academia versus other career alternatives, etc. We have good view of the places, people, and situations where success was incubated. We see his choices at each juncture. So, it is like being mentored by him.
I could see an advanced student drumming his/her fingers. In audio, we can hit a wall with very advanced topics, when we start getting lots of equations, because it is hard to translate that into the format. This book doesn't have that problem. (But hey -- no downloadable supplement for the tables, etc.?) This book works best if the reader already knows a few basics in economics and a little bit of finance, the main parts. It picks up from there. This is a master explainer. This is a great step in my growing knowledge of derivatives, and the big picture in which they happen. I certainly can imagine my way onward from here. I am very grateful to this author.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Late in the book, the author describes it as a "personal memoir". That is what it is. I was drawn to the book by the promise of a cogent statement of the workings and economic and social utility of his "good" derivatives, and hoped for a contrast with "bad" derivatives.
Unfortunately this is not that book, although I am sure the author is eminently qualified to write it. Instead it is a long journey through his life, travels, lunches, and what not. There are innumerable meetings where X is discussed, but seldom a discussion of X.
I finished not really knowing very much that I did not know at the start about the topic of derivatives, while I learned a lot about Richard Sandor and his role in creating the markets he was involved in.
The most revealing moment of the book for me occurred when this multi-decade player at the upper reaches of the financial markets goes to Washington late in the last decade and is astonished by its wealth. I guess that's why the governing class is called "public servants".
1 of 1 people found this review helpful