Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Emanuel Derman's "My Life as a Quant"

I got this book from the library recently because I was interested in the finiancial modeling activities that are so much on display lately and assumed I would learn a lot about that.
Now that I have started reading it, I am finding it wonderful in multiple other ways; Derman is a great writer, and his sentences balance humor and great judgment, and his story intersects early in fascinating ways with mine, common experiences in graduate school in the sciences at major US universities.
I love this early, somewhat elided, selection:
I dreamed of being another Einstein. I wanted to spend my life focusing on the discovery of truths that would live forever. Sometimes, I felt arrogantly superior to people who were headed for more mundane professions.
... I myself wuold have laughed quite disbelievingly, at age 16, 21, or 34, if someone had told me that I would be working at an investment bank at age 40.
But even by page 52 of roughly 300 there is so much wisdom and humor about his life up to getting his PhD that I am eager to get back to the remaining 250.


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