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Download The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It Audiobook, by Scott Patterson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,910 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Scott Patterson Narrator: Mike Chamberlain Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9780739385074
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In March 2006, the world’s richest men sipped champagne in an opulent New York hotel. They were preparing to compete in a poker tournament with million-dollar stakes. At the card table that night was Peter Muller, who managed a fabulously successful hedge fund called PDT. With him was Ken Griffin, who was the tough-as-nails head of Citadel Investment Group. There, too, were Cliff Asness, the sharp-tongued, mercurial founder of the hedge fund AQR Capital Management, and Boaz Weinstein, chess “life master” and king of the credit-default swap.

Muller, Griffin, Asness, and Weinstein were among the best and brightest of a new breed, the quants. Over the past twenty years, this species of math whiz had usurped the testosterone-fueled, kill-or-be-killed risk takers who’d long been the alpha males of the world’s largest casinos. The quants believed that a cocktail of differential calculus, quantum physics, and advanced geometry held the key to reaping riches from the financial markets. And they helped create a digitized money-trading machine that could shift billions around the globe with the click of a mouse. Few realized that night, though, that in creating this extraordinary system, men like Muller, Griffin, Asness, and Weinstein had sown the seeds for history’s greatest financial disaster.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Scott Patterson has the ability to see things you and I don’t notice. In The Quants he does an admirable job of debunking the myths of black box traders and provides a very entertaining narrative in the process.”

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Fascinating and deeply disturbing…Patterson gives faces and personalities to the quants, making their saga accessible and intriguing…[he’s] onto a big story that begs follow-up.”

    New York Times

  • “[Patterson] makes [the quants’] secretive world comprehensible…The story radiates with hubris, high stakes, and expensive toys.”

    Bloomberg.com

  • “A riveting account…There are many dramatic moments and a good dose of schadenfreude in Scott Patterson’s The Quants.”

    Financial Times

  • “Read this book if you want to understand how the collapse of the global financial system was at its core a failure of modern financial theory and its most ardent disciples. Patterson is able to gracefully explain the complex ideas underpinning our financial system through an extraordinarily engaging and insightful story.”

    Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Economy.com and author of Financial Shock

  • “Enlightening and enjoyable…Patterson masterfully recounts how brilliant mathematicians and technologists ignored the human element…If you’re serious about understanding the financial meltdown, you need to read this book.”

    David Vise, Pulitzer Prize winner, Senior Advisor for New Mountain Capital, and author of The Google Story

  • “A compelling tale of greed and conceit, The Quants tells the inside story of the Wall Street rocket scientists who couldn’t resist playing with numbers and nearly blew themselves up.”

    Michael J. Panzner, author of Financial Armageddon and When Giants Fail

  • The Quants will keep hedge fund managers on the edge of their Aeron chairs, while the rest of us read in horror about their greed and their impact on the wider economy. A gripping tale right until the last page…but I fear this is perhaps not yet the end of the story.”

    Paul Wilmott, Oxford Ph.D., founding partner of Caissa Capital, and author of Paul Wilmott Introduces Quantitative Finance 

  • “A character-rich tale of how quirky geniuses cut their teeth on gambling, then moved on to the biggest casino of all, Wall Street. From blackjack to black swans, The Quants tells how we got where we are today.”

    William Poundstone, author of Fortune’s Formula

  • Scott Patterson has the ability to see things you and I don’t notice. In The Quants he does an admirable job of debunking the myths of black box traders and provides a very entertaining narrative in the process. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times bestselling author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan
  • Fascinating and deeply disturbing…Patterson gives faces and personalities to the quants, making their saga accessible and intriguing…[he’s] onto a big story that begs follow-up. New York Times
  • Valuable…makes [the quants’] secretive world comprehensible…the story radiates with hubris, high stakes and expensive toys. Bloomberg.com
  • A riveting account…there are many dramatic moments and a good dose of schadenfreude in Scott Patterson’s THE QUANTS. Financial Times
  • Read this book if you want to understand how the collapse of the global financial system was at its core a failure of modern financial theory and its most ardent disciples. Patterson is able to gracefully explain the complex ideas underpinning our financial system through an extraordinarily engaging and insightful story. Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Economy.com and author of Financial Shock
  • Enlightening and enjoyable...Patterson masterfully recounts how brilliant mathematicians and technologists ignored the human element...If you're serious about understanding the financial meltdown, you need to read this book. David Vise, Pulitzer Prize Winner, author of The Google Story, and Senior Advisor, New Mountain Capital
  • A  compelling tale of greed and conceit, The Quants tells the inside story of the Wall Street rocket scientists who could couldn’t resist playing with numbers and nearly blew themselves up. Michael J. Panzner, author of Financial Armageddon and When Giants Fail
  • The Quants will keep hedge fund managers on the edge of their Aeron chairs, while the rest of us read in horror about their greed and their impact on the wider economy. A gripping tale right until the last page...but I fear this is perhaps not yet the end of the story. Paul Wilmott, Oxford Ph.D., founding partner of Caissa Capital, and author of Paul Wilmott Introduces Quantitative Finance
  • A character-rich tale of how quirky geniuses cut their teeth on gambling, then moved on to the biggest casino of all, Wall Street. From blackjack to black swans, The Quants tells how we got where we are today. William Poundstone, author of Fortune’s Formula

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trever | 2/20/2014

    " Great book behind great mathematical geniuses that took over Wall Street. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ajitabh Pandey | 2/12/2014

    " If you want to know how stocks are controlled by mathematicians and statisticians, read this. You need to posses some basic knowledge about how the market operates. A good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 2/10/2014

    " Back to the algorithems; no less arrogance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly Luchtel | 2/8/2014

    " Interesting topic to learn about but this is not a page turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terri | 1/29/2014

    " This is a solid layperson's assessment of the effect that mathematical modeling and the creation of new types of products based on the use of computers had on Wall Street. It specifically focuses on hedge funds and their role in creating the 2007-2008 market meltdown. Some of it is highly over-simplified, but as primer for derivative trading and the use of credit swaps I recommend this book. Patterson does a good job of explaining the basics without getting bogged down in jargon. Occasionally his metaphors get to be a but much, but his grasp of the personalities involved in the hedge fund industry seems spot-on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jay | 1/19/2014

    " "The Quants" starts with stories about mathematically breaking games of chance, like blackjack and roulette, duplicating some of the stories of Bringing Down the House. Stories on this theme are mixed in throughout the book to illustrate the growth of applied mathematics beyond gambling on "games of chance" to betting on the market. The rest of the book is as expected. I enjoyed this book because of the good storytelling. One nit, and I've noticed this in many recent non-fiction books, is that parts are repeated. I can understand re-iterating a concept to ensure one learns, but not directly repeating the concept and the supporting stories. This appears to be a collection of essays that were forced into a book format, with some cleanup missed along the way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Harshit Sharma | 1/5/2014

    " book is full of fund jargons , but story description is very good... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 1/1/2014

    " This is a great look at the rise of quantitative finance and the role it played in the recent financial crash. A must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Riordan | 12/25/2013

    " Slow start and poker metaphor focused, but a fascinating look inside the quant funds behind the meltdown and the minds that led them "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 12/20/2013

    " i learned quite a bit from this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate Cooley | 12/11/2013

    " Maybe I'm being overly simplistic but if you could assign a value to (or quantify) risk with any degree of certainty it really would be "risk" any more ... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 11/20/2013

    " Not the best book ever on the crash. Not the best book ever on anything. If you have any background in finance and you have any sort of literary taste, it might be as hard for you to get through as it was for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick Barry | 8/31/2013

    " If Wall Street scares you, reading this book will not help matters. Pretty interesting though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 3/30/2013

    " This book was a good narrative of 2008 financial meltdown and background stories of the big players in the Quant world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary | 2/15/2013

    " If you only read one book about the financial crisis, it should be this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristy | 7/14/2012

    " yes - very business-y - but really well researched and really interesting(and math-y!) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brad | 4/24/2012

    " Wildly fascinating and scary. A bit scattered and detailed with personal info but otherwise provides a solid "birds eye view" on the meltdown "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ric Gwin | 3/1/2012

    " This is a great book if you want to know how a bunch of quants almost blew up Wall Street "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aditya | 12/23/2011

    " Provides a good profile of the people it covers and also some of their work. I only wish it wasn't as long winded as it is. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emily | 10/19/2011

    " Probably the only piece of information I'll remember from this book is that "Wall Street is the biggest casino of all." But only because the writer repeated it about ten times in this book. Oh, and that people really, really like money. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garth Bishop | 6/17/2011

    " Most accounts of the financial crisis are focused on the CEOs and the big picture. None that I've read have discussed the impact of technical trading and this one was really enlightening as to the role they played. It wasn't all about sub-prime mortgages as I'd always assumed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Philip Shing | 6/1/2011

    " Fun read. Agree that image of "quant" is somewhat inflated in the book. Maybe it should be called The Magicians. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 5/22/2011

    " Interesting insider views as to what was going on during the quant revolution on Wall Street. I wish that it was more in depth but an interesting overview, nonetheless "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dwight | 4/19/2011

    " Good companion to The Big Short by Michael Lewis. Goes into detail about how a small group of investors created products that they convinced themselves could never fail, and how their implosion nearly took down the entire financial system. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 4/17/2011

    " Maybe I'm being overly simplistic but if you could assign a value to (or quantify) risk with any degree of certainty it really would be "risk" any more ... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brad | 3/30/2011

    " Wildly fascinating and scary. A bit scattered and detailed with personal info but otherwise provides a solid "birds eye view" on the meltdown "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aditya | 3/22/2011

    " Provides a good profile of the people it covers and also some of their work. I only wish it wasn't as long winded as it is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nothanks | 3/2/2011

    " First half I liked. Second half reads like a hodgepodge of newspaper clippings. No crescendo, or aha moments here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 2/27/2011

    " Pretty cool read on how a bunch of mathematicians and CS geeks dominated (and potentially wrecked) international finance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lukasz | 1/27/2011

    " Great insight into what caused the 2007 Wall Street crash which in turn caused world crisis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 1/24/2011

    " Good overview of mathematical formula trading via high speed computer. Read it and begin to understand what went wrong in with the economy in 2008. "

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About the Narrator

Mike Chamberlain is an actor and voice-over performer in Los Angeles. His voice credits range from radio commercials and television narration to animation and video game characters. Stage trained at Boston College, he has performed works from Shakespeare and the classics to contemporary drama and comedy. His audiobook narration has won four AudioFile Earphones Awards.