Pricing the Future

  • by George Szpiro
  • Narrated by Brian Troxell
  • 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Options have been traded for hundreds of years, but investment decisions were based on gut feelings until the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the Black-Scholes options pricing model in 1973 ushered in the era of the quants. Wall Street would never be the same.
In Pricing the Future, financial economist George G. Szpiro tells the fascinating stories of the pioneers of mathematical finance who conducted the search for the elusive options pricing formula. From the broker's assistant who published the first mathematical explanation of financial markets to Albert Einstein and other scientists who looked for a way to explain the movement of atoms and molecules, Pricing the Future retraces the historical and intellectual developments that ultimately led to the widespread use of mathematical models to drive investment strategies on Wall Street.

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What the Critics Say

"One of the major intellectual achievements of the 20th century was the theory of option pricing. This is its story, and it’s absolutely fascinating." (Robert P. Inman, Richard K. Mellon Professor of Finance and Economics, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)
"[A] fascinating historical account.... Those who think finance is a science will be surprised by the serendipitous events that delayed the discovery of the option-pricing formula by 73 years; those who think finance is an art will be shocked by the deep connections between option-pricing, physics, and probability theory." (Andrew Lo, Harris & Harris Group Professor of Finance and Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
"Szpiro’s tale should fascinate readers who follow the markets." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Petty details detract from the topic

I am disappointed. A good popularization, I think, should use colorful stories and details to support a strong, informative walk through the topic. The author who dumps in a profusion of trivia, for whatever reason, without careful editing, is using up my precious time to deliver something I didn't ask for. After a strong opening, I found myself in long stretches of petty technicalities and names of various things that do not support understanding (poorly pronounced in the case of oh-so-many foreign words). Each side-story might claim to be interesting, but please be relevant! On the other hand, a good popularization should elegantly walk me into the technicalities of the topic. Here I felt like we went from a slide show of someone's tedious vacation pictures too steeply into the technical content.
By comparison, Emanuel Derman in "My Life as a Quant," for all his digressing and wanderings, displeasing as that could be, rewarded my patience with elegant passages on Black-Scholes and related topics and personalities. When he got onto the subject, he nailed it.
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- Phil O.

Interesting story, terrible accents!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you're interested in the history of finance and financial theory, then yes this is a nice soft introduction. The author does a reasonably good job of spicing up the fairly dry material with interesting stories that help place the events in their historical setting.


What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The book is filled with names, terms and phrases from French, Spanish, Latin and other languages. The narrator absolutely butchers the pronunciation of these. I really wish they'd at least given him a language coach for these bits of the book. It would be comical if it wasn't so sad.


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- Tristan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-29-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios