11 quotes from My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance: ‘If you decide you don’t have to get A’s, you can learn an enormous amount in coll. “Derman’s memoir of his transition from mathematical physicistto expert finance whiz at Goldman Sachs and Salomon Brothers readslike a novel, but tells a lot. Last week I was in a bookstore and ran across a new book by Emanuel Derman called My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read lifr. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return quajt Book Page. My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance by Emanuel Derman. 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 drman, he also reflec In My Life as a Quant, Emanuel Quuant relives his exciting journey as one of the first high-energy particle physicists to migrate to Wall Street. Throughout this tale, he also reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets. Hardcoverpages. Published September 16th by Wiley first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about My Life as a Quantplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Like everyone else, I despise this despicable trend.
Of course, Wall Street needs to be shut down. We suant to go back to investing money the old fashioned way: Emanuel Derman came to the U. He moved on to a higher paying but creatively stifling corporate job at Bell Labs where, though you had a doctorate, your supervisor might only have a masters degreewhere he often felt subservient and demeaned.
After these auant, the relative freedom of Wall Street looked pretty drrman, and he joined the quantitative side of Goldman Sachs that side being the less prestigious one, relative to the trading side, mmy salescreating financial models and specializing in interest rate modeling.
Derman is a fluid storyteller and surprisingly literate writer. Quatn quotes Blake and discusses Schopenhauer. Quajt tells you about the plot of Humboldt’s Giftand expresses his admiration for Barfield’s History in English Words. What makes the memoir most appealing is his wry modesty and humility.
A story about his search for a PhD advisor at Columbia is particularly charming. He wanted to study with Gerald Feinberg, a young Wunderkind: Since it was premature for formal arrangements and since I was naturally reticent and shy, I simply began dermn greet him very politely whenever our paths crossed. Graduate school was a small community. In corridors and elevators and on campus, I was soon running into Feinberg several times a day, always giving him a polite hello and a nice smile.
He would reciprocate similarly with a sort of nervous curling of the lips. As time passed, this limbo of flirtatious foreplay continued unabated. I could never find the courage to broach the question of being his student; I supposed I must have hoped it would just happen wordlessly. Every time I saw him I smiled; every time I smiled he bared his lips back at me with greater awkwardness.
Our facial manipulations bore increasingly less resemblance to anything like a real smile; each of our reciprocated gestures was a caricature, a Greek theatrical mask signaling friendliness. View all 5 comments. Mar 02, Stephen rated it really liked it. I didn’t detman any expectations of this book before I read it, other than it would hopefully give me some better insight into a part of the world of investment banking that I have worked.
Towards the later part of the first half, I was starting to wonder when he would get to the finance part of his life, but once I got there I appreciated the lead-up.
I was not looking to read a book on life in academia, but now that I have, I feel somewhat enlightened. The particulars of the physics theories wer I didn’t have any expectations of this quanh before I read it, other than it would hopefully give dermzn some better insight into a part of the world of investment banking that I have worked.
The particulars of the physics theories were a bit over my head, but I grasped what he was writing about enough to understand the overall points. I think I will need to study options theory a bit more to fully appreciate the second half, but it was an interesting read and will give me more perspective while I continue to increase my knowledge in those areas.
This book may not be a good pick for those that are not into physics or finance, though my 17 month old son enjoyed it. I read this book to him over the past couple of week for his bed-time stories.
Jan 25, John rated it liked it. I picked up this book at the library because it was suggested by Goodreads or Amazon I forget which as a book I might like to read. Derman got off to a bad start in the prologue bottom of page 13 where he wrote, “How dermann a planet know that it must obey Newton’s Laws, or quznt electron perceive that it must move according to the principles of lide electrodynamics?
Planets must obey Newton’s Laws? Electrons must move according to the principles of quantum electrodynamics? This guy, it a I picked up this book at the library because it was suggested by Goodreads or Amazon I forget sa as a book I might like to read. This guy, it appears, has got things backward if he thinks nature is somehow required to follow the models science has devised to describe nature. Nature does what it does without any consideration of our qiant to describe it.
The models developed by scientists, wonderful as they may be, are not rules that nature must obey and anyone who believes otherwise is kidding himself. Then on pages he wrote, “One summer in the early seventies, during the student protests against the American invasion of Cambodia, Eva [his wife] and I went camping in the Catskills mountains with Chang-Li and his wife.
After several days in a tent, cut off from any news, we went to meet my in-laws who were vacationing quanf a nearby hotel. As we arrived, my father-in-law somberly announced to us that a small bomb had exploded in one of the physics department’s bathrooms. Without a moment’s hesitation Chang-Li and I leapt in the air for joy, whooping and cheering. It is difficult for me to comprehend the mind of qunt person who would rejoice in the bombing of his own department at a university. But as the book unfolded, it appeared that Derman was able to grow out of his z arrogance and attitudes.
I have to admire him for being willing to describe his early experiences with such honesty. He is clearly a brilliant person and I enjoyed his description of how he migrated from an academician in physics to a practitioner in finance.
I didn’t understand much of what he did as a quant, but it was nonetheless interesting to me. And I was delighted to see in the final chapter that he understands lief man-devised models are not rules that nature or financial markets follow but rather attempts to describe what happens in nature and financial markets.
Aug 12, Andrew rated it liked it.
This book was Emanuel Derman Eman dryly taking us through his life as a theoretical physicist turned quant. Though the material was fascinating, it was like listening to a boring professor — dry, bland, and ultimately, self-defeating. The one thing this book did have that was helpful is lots of context. We learn not only what Derman as a quant does, but why, and what the business context is for it. He also clearly has a passion for explaining quuant clearly as opposed to high-brow.
Overall, This book was Emanuel Derman Eman dryly taking us through his life as a theoretical physicist turned quant.
Overall, a good book, but boring. It’s closer to 4 stars than 3. I would recommend How I Became a Quant if you enjoy this kind of material. Not the most insightful of memoirs, this was more of a catalogue of professional achievements.
Buy for others
In the first half, he reveals himself to be an incredibly arrogant physicist. Full disclosure – in the bookDerman expresses scorn for both solid state physicists and experimentalists — I myself belong to both of these categories.
In the second half which addresses his financial career, his arrogance is not as noticeable, so either he was actually aas by his change in career, as he describes i Not the most az of memoirs, this was more of a catalogue of professional achievements. In the second half which addresses his financial career, his arrogance is not as noticeable, so either he was actually humbled by his change in career, as he describes in dermam book, or I have the benefit of not being in his profession.
My Life as a Quant
In the last chapter, he struggles futilely to make philosophical statements about physics and financial math and their respective abilities to describe and predict the tangible world. Despite references to God, he fails utterly in this attempt. May 12, Lyubomir rated it really liked it. The book surpassed my expectations. It provides a detailed look into the life of physics PhDs and professors in late 70s and 80s.
My Life as a Quant Quotes by Emanuel Derman
When the author switches jobs, to move to Goldman Sachs, we have the opportunity to understand how lkfe quants, physicists and mathematicians, came to set the trend on Wall Street with the invention of new models for trading complex securities, such as options, swaps and other structured products. May 20, Renan Critelli rated it it was amazing. Nov 22, Suhrob rated it really liked it. An interesting autobiography of Emanuel Derman describing his life in academia PhD and couple of post-docs, particle physics and as a quant on Wall-Street from early 80ies.
Both world are fascinating and Derman is an excellent observer. Currently “celebrating” my first year out of academia a lot of his experiences really resonated with me which is also telling – he did his postdocs in the 70ies, the situation hasn’t changed much apparently. The most interesting parts of the book for me were ne An interesting quatn of Emanuel Derman describing his life in academia PhD and couple of post-docs, particle physics and as a quant on Wall-Street from early 80ies.
The most interesting parts of the book for me were neither the particle physics or options theory, but Derman’s observations on psychology and relationships in high achievement and cognitive firepower environments, coping with failure, lfe life and so on.
Overall an excellent book! Sep 25, Siah rated it really liked it. I finally finished Emanuel Derman’s “My life as a quant” He is a great story teller. I found the stories around his life in physics much more appealing than his finance life.