Saturday, May 06, 2017

"A Man For All Markets", personal experience from Edward O. Thorp

This book is subtitled "From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Best the Dealer and The Market".  From the title it is obvious from the start that this is not going to be a work of self-deprecation or an especially balanced autobiographical study.  After adjusting for that in the first chapter, and taking a pause for a week before picking the book back up, it was mostly an engaging read.

Thorp tells an interesting personal story which describes his life long skill in math, his career in academia, his successful hedge fund, and his wholesome and well meaning life.  The arc of his career is well told and interesting.  Whether it is gambling analysis or investment analysis, Thorp gives detailed descriptions of his systems of risk mitigation while making money.  At times, this detail can be tedious but understanding every nuance of what he writes is not necessary to enjoy the book.  With gambling, breezing through without taking the time to understand everything, as if I could, was easy to do while enjoying the ride.  In the financial investing portion , Thorp details all of the significant financial crises from the late 1960's until recent years and much of what he writes is an accurate understanding that many reasonably astute investors would have.  There is no groundbreaking information here but it is well done.  It could be used as a textbook that would be much more interesting than a standard recitation the market events described.  The investment advice that can be gleaned here is sound.

In its own way this was a fascinating book and kept my attention throughout.  Sometimes these days, that alone would be a great compliment.

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