Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance

Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance


By (author) Perry Mehrling, Foreword by Aaron Brown

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  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 374 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 30mm | 476g
  • Publication date: 27 January 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1118203569
  • ISBN 13: 9781118203569
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, ports
  • Sales rank: 344,928

Product description

The definitive story of Fischer Black, one of the greatest financial minds of all time Besides revolutionizing finance with the Black-Scholes option pricing model, Fischer Black forever changed Wall Street by developing what is now known as quantitative finance. Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance explores Black's intellectual journey from Harvard to the offices of ADL, from the University of Chicago to MIT, and then to Goldman Sachs. This poignant book tells the story of one man's intellectual adventure at the very center of modern finance, fully describing the birth of quantitative finance and financial engineering along the way. Years of research and interviews with Black's business and academic associates, as well as family and friends, are distilled into a scholarly yet personal story of the formation and development of the extraordinary mind and unique character of this unassuming renegade Black deciphered the universe of modern finance in ways that went underappreciated for many years and would have won the Nobel Prize in Economics, if not for his untimely death in 1995 Author Perry Mehrling weaves Black's personal story with the birth of modern finance into a vignette-based business biography that captures the essence of this extraordinary man, explaining, for the first time, the ground-breaking impact Fischer Black had on the worlds of money and finance as well as world markets This compelling biography of the "Einstein of Finance" follows Fischer Black through his incredible career, from his transition from academia to one of the most elite of firms on Wall Street--Goldman Sachs--where he developed quantitative models that tens of thousands of professionals still use today. Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance demystifies this genius of finance and provides an engaging and entertaining look at a man whose life's work encapsulates modern financial theory.

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Author information

Perry Mehrling is Professor of Economics at Barnard College of Columbia University. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and is the author of The Money Interest and the Public Interest: American Monetary Thought, 1920-1970 , and The New Lombard Street: How the Fed became the Dealer of Last Resort . Dr. Mehrling's specialty is the study of financial theory and the history of economics.

Back cover copy

Praise for FISCHER BLACK AND THE REVOLUTIONARY IDEA OF FINANCE"The story of Fischer Black. . . . is remarkable both because of the creativity of the man and because of the revolution he brought to Wall Street. . . . Mehrling's book is fascinating." --"FINANCIAL TIMES""A fascinating history of things we take for granted in our everyday financial lives." --"THE NEW YORK TIMES""Mehrling's book is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of modern finance or the life of an idiosyncratic creative genius." --"PUBLISHERS WEEKLY""Fischer Black was more than a vital force in the development of finance theory. He was also a character. Perry Mehrling has captured both sides of the picture: the evolution of thinking about the pricing of risk and time, as well as the thinkers, especially this fascinating eccentric, who worked it out." --ROBERT M. SOLOW, Nobel laureate and Institute Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology"Although I worked closely with Fischer for nine years at Goldman Sachs and clearly recognized both his genius and the breadth and originality of his ideas, until I read this book, I had only the vaguest grasp of the source of his inspiration and no understanding at all of the source of his many idiosyncrasies." --BOB LITTERMAN, Partner, Kepos Capital"Perry Mehrling has done a remarkable job of tracing the intellectual and personal development of one of the most original and complex thinkers of our generation. Fischer Black deserved it: a charming and brilliant book about a charming and brilliant man." --ROBERT E. LUCAS JR., Nobel laureate and Professor of Economics, The University of Chicago

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ix Foreword xv Preface xxi Prologue The Price of Risk 1 ONE Thou Living Ray of Intellectual Fire 23 TWO An Idea in the Rough 49 THREE Some Kind of an Education 73 FOUR Living Up to the Model 99 FIVE Tortuous Economic Intuition 119 SIX The Money Wars 139 SEVEN Global Reach 165 EIGHT Stagflation 189 NINE Changing Fields 215 TEN What Do Traders Do? 231 ELEVEN Exploring General Equilibrium 255 Epilogue Nothing Is Constant 283 Appendix A A Financial Notes Chronology 299 Appendix B A Newsletter Chronology 301 Notes 303 References 327 Index 355