Forecast : What Physics, Meteorology, and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us about Economics

3.91 (145 ratings by Goodreads)
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Picture an early scene from The Wizard of Oz Dorothy hurries home as a tornado gathers in what was once a clear Kansas sky. Hurriedly, she seeks shelter in the storm cellar under the house, but, finding it locked, takes cover in her bedroom. We all know how that works out for her.

Many investors these days are a bit like Dorothy, putting their faith in something as solid and trustworthy as a house (or, say, real estate). But market disruptions--storms--seem to arrive without warning, leaving us little time to react. Why are we so often blindsided by these things, left outdoors with nothing but our little dogs? More to the point: how did Kansas go from blue skies to tornadoes in such a short time?

In this deeply researched and piercingly intelligent book, physicist Mark Buchanan shows how a simple feedback loop can lead to major consequences, the kind predictable by mathematical models but hard for most people to anticipate. From his unique perspective, Buchanan argues that our basic assumptions about economic markets--that they are for the most part stable, with occasional interruptions--are simply wrong. Markets really act more like the weather: a brief heat wave can become a massive storm in a matter of a few days, or even hours.

The Physics of Finance reimagines the basics of how economics, with consequences that affect everyone.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 163 x 242 x 23mm | 517g
  • New York
  • English
  • New
  • 1608198510
  • 9781608198511
  • 437,400

Review quote

The 2008 crash created not just a crisis in the economy, but also a crisis in economic thinking. Ideas of market stability and efficiency lost their value faster than a sub-prime mortgage. In this compelling and lively account, Mark Buchanan tells the story of the new ideas that are revolutionizing the field. We may not be able to perfectly forecast the economic weather, but we can be better prepared for storms to come. "Eric Beinhocker, Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking at Oxford University and author of The Origin of Wealth"

A lucid, absorbing story "New Scientist"

The author's stimulating deconstruction of contemporary economic theory parallels a treatment of major positive developments in physical sciences and pays due respect to the functions of government and law. "Kirkus Reviews""
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About Mark Buchanan

Mark Buchanan is a physicist and science writer. He is the author of three previous books, Ubiquity, Nexus, and The Social Atom, and has been an editor of the science journal Nature as well as New Scientist. His articles have appeared in Science, Wired, the New York Times, the Independent, and the Harvard Business Review. He currently writes monthly columns for the financial media outlet Bloomberg View, as well as for Nature Physics. He lives in Dorset, England, with his wife and two dogs.
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Rating details

145 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 32% (46)
4 37% (54)
3 23% (33)
2 7% (10)
1 1% (2)
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