"Mr. Bookstaber is one of Wall Street's 'rocket scientists'--mathematicians lured from academia to help create both complex financial instruments and new computer models for making investing decisions. In the book, he makes a simple point: The turmoil in the financial markets today comes less from changes in the economy--economic growth, for example, is half as volatile as it was 50 years ago--and more from some of the financial instruments (derivatives) that were designed to control risk." (The New York Times)
"Bright sparks like Mr Bookstaber ushered in a revolution that fuelled the boom in financial derivatives and Byzantine 'structured products.' The problem, he argues, is that this wizardry has made markets more crisis-prone, not less so. It has done this in two ways: by increasing complexity, and by forging tighter links between various markets and securities, making them dangerously interdependent." (The Economist)
"He understands the inner workings of financial markets...A liberal sparkling of juicy stories from the trading floor..." (The Economist)
"…smart book…Part memoir, part market forensics, the book gives an insider's view…" (Bloomberg News)
"Like many pessimistic observers, Richard Bookstaber thinks financial derivatives, Wall Street innovation and hedge funds will lead to a financial meltdown. What sets Mr. Bookstaber apart is that he has spent his career designing derivatives, working on Wall Street and running a hedge fund." (The Wall Street Journal)
"Every so often [a book] pops out of the pile with something original to say, or an original way of saying it. Richard Bookstaber, in A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation, accomplishes both of these rare feats." (Fortune)
"a must-read amidst the current market chaos" (BusinessWeek.com)
"Bookstaber is a former academic who went on to head risk management for Morgan Stanley and now runs a large hedge fund. He knows the subject and has written a lucid and readable book. To his aid he calls mathematics (from Bertrand Russell to Godel's theorem); physics (particularly Heisenberg's uncertainty principle); and even -- meteorology." (Financial Times)
"The book covers a lot about risk management that is relevant to capital markets conditions today and the liquidity crisis." (Financial Times, Saturday 25th August)
"...an insider's guide to markets, hedge funds and the perils of financial innovation. We saw plenty of those in 2007." (The Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 25th November 2007)
"I cannot recommend this book too highly. It is a clear exposition of what the combination of derivatives, leverage and hedge funds can do to the markets.
In short, A Demon of our Own Design is a guide to the dangerous financial markets we have created for ourselves by the clever innovations of structured finance, derivatives, credit default swaps and other newfangled products that are a mystery to the ordinary investor and even plenty of the sophisticates in the investment business. To understand the demonic risks we're taking, read this book."--Forbes.com
It's Wall Street's most painful paradox. Investors are more sophisticated than ever, are enabled by unprecedented technology, and protected by more government oversight and regulation than at any other time in history. Yet Wall Street is becoming a riskier and riskier place. Crashes and catastrophic losses seem commonplace. Hedge funds wreck on the financial shoals with a disturbingly familiar pattern. Worse, today's financial crises do not arise from economic instability or acts of nature, but from the very design of the financial markets themselves.
In A Demon of Our Own Design, Richard Bookstaber paints a vivid picture of a financial world that is ever edging toward disaster. As a hedge fund 'rocket scientist,' Bookstaber provides an insider's perspective to the tumultuous management decisions made by some of the world's most powerful financial figures from Warren Buffett to Sandy Weill to John Meriwether,as well as recounting his own contribution to market calamities. He designed some of the complex options and derivatives that, combined with the globalization of the world's markets and the ever-increasing speed of transactions, allow markets to slide out of control. And he explains why the best efforts of institutions on the front lines to create safeguards, manage risk, and regulate the markets may end up contributing to instability. Bookstaber argues that many of the financial innovations and regulations that are supposed to level the playing field instead make the markets more dangerous for all the players, big and small.
Drawing on his intimate knowledge of such infamous disasters as the 1987 Crash and the demise of Long-Term Capital Management, Bookstaber identifies the key areas that make markets vulnerable: liquidity that begets greater leverage; innovation that creates greater complexity; and a structure that demands a nonhuman level of rationality. The twofold solution he suggestsreducing complexity and breaking the tight coupling of transactionsgoes against the prevailing winds of Wall Street, but will lead to a more robust and survivable market.
A final comment on style: the book is very readable, even entertaining.
Trading is defended as socially useful when it provides liquidity, when traders exploit pricing discrepancies caused by short-term supply and demand forces.
Unquestionably one of the best books on financial markets of the hundreds that I have read.
Loved this book. I cannot explain how much I've learned and how much I have highlighted and commented on this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Santiago Herrera
This book is a sleeping pill.
It's most about the hedge funds he has been working at.
For me it was boring.
This is basically classical music done to a steady beat so you can work out to it. I bought it to listen to on my iPod while exercising and it did not disappoint. Read morePublished 7 months ago by clubnev
l tells it like it is...and nails a proper description of a complex dynamical system with hidden feedbacks. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Gordon Kaufman
Richard Bookstaber published this book in 2007 indicated he wrote it well over a year before the crisis. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Steve Klein
Required reading for a class and I was intrigued because of the impact that the financial crisis has had on the economy and the lasting effects are still being felt today. Read morePublished 20 months ago by julesvern81
Reading this book five years after its release, one has to admire how prescient the author was. He gives you a brilliant insider account of all the ways our financial system has... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Gaetan Lion
This book basically covers three topics, the first consists of the dangers posed by financial instruments, particularly in terms of leverage and, related to this, liquidity crises... Read morePublished on July 29, 2012 by Yoda
Started with Black Swan, sometime around 2009, at the height of the financial crisis and while I liked that but it was still very much a Taleb's book...more prescriptive. Read morePublished on September 27, 2011 by Abhishek Gupta