Pricing the Future and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $28.00
  • Save: $7.79 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by cmoran241
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Some edge wear to cover & dust jacket; please note that this book has a small inventory sticker for FBA on back cover that may not come off easily
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Pricing the Future: Finance, Physics, and the 300-year Journey to the Black-Scholes Equation Hardcover – November 29, 2011


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, November 29, 2011
$20.21
$3.98 $1.00
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Frequently Bought Together

Pricing the Future: Finance, Physics, and the 300-year Journey to the Black-Scholes Equation + The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable
Price for both: $40.03

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (November 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465022480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465022489
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #936,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Franklin Allen, Nippon Professor of Finance and Economics, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
“George Szpiro has written a wonderful book.  Often finance is viewed as one of the driest of fields.  Szpiro makes the history of the option pricing formula fascinating at many levels.  He starts with the history of options, bringing in the Tulipmania, the Dutch East India Company, the Amsterdam Bourse, Joseph de La Vega, John Law’s colorful life and on and on.  The mathematical tools needed for deriving the formula and the people who developed them are also heroes of the tale.  The climax is reached with Fisher Black, Myron Scholes and Robert Merton’s time together at MIT and the derivation of the formula that revolutionized finance.  It is a book that is very difficult to put down.  This will be true for beginning students of finance as well as the highest earning traders.  I thoroughly recommend it!”

Andrew Lo, Harris & Harris Group Professor of Finance and Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"This is a fascinating historical account of the origins of modern finance and the Black-Scholes/Merton option-pricing formula, by a consummate expositor who also happens to be a first-rate financial economist.  Those who think finance is a science will be surprised by the serendipitous events that delayed the discovery of the option-pricing formula by 73 years; those who think finance is an art will be shocked by the deep connections between option-pricing, physics, and probability theory.  No matter what your background, you'll want to read this book slowly—like a rare vintage port, it's meant to be sipped slowly and every drop savored."
 
Robert P. Inman, Richard K. Mellon Professor of Finance and Economics, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
“One of the major intellectual achievements of the 20th century was the theory of option pricing. This is its story, and it’s absolutely fascinating.   Options have been around since the buying and selling of tulips and the very first efforts of investors to control their downside risk. But the economic value of such protections was not finally understood until the Nobel Prize winning research of Fischer Black, Myron Scholes, and Robert Merton in the 1970’s.   It could not have happened without 350 years of serious thinking by botanists, physicists, chemists, and mathematicians.   Finally, by 1960 all the pieces were in place, and Black, Scholes, and Merton solved the puzzle. The book should be required reading of all first year PhD students in finance, and economics, simply to see what is needed for path-breaking research.   For the rest of us with an interest in the origins of important ideas, this is a great read.”
Sylvia Nasar, author of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius and A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash 
“George Szpiro’s crisp prose, clever vignettes and refreshingly concise explanations make finance history go down like gelato on a summer’s day.” 

 

Kirkus Reviews
“Szpiro unravels the complexity of the Black-Scholes equation and its fascinating relationship to Einstein’s application of statistics in explaining the random motion of molecules and to Norbert Wiener’s discovery of Cybernetics.  In the case of options, it is option prices rather than molecules that jiggle. . . . An interesting history of mathematics and its application to economics and the world of high finance.”

Booklist
“Recounting the lineage of the options pricing equation, Szpiro launches from an example of irrational exuberance that led to ruin—Holland’s tulip mania in the 1630s—into the Paris bourse of the late 1800s, when a series of math-minded characters pondered the pricing problem. As their biographies, some quite dramatic and tragic, carry his narrative forward, Szpiro covers how they borrowed from physics its formulas about the random movement of atoms, which they then applied to volatile stock prices. . . . Szpiro’s tale should fascinate readers who follow the markets.”

 

About the Author

George G. Szpiro is a mathematician, financial economist, and journalist. He is the Israel correspondent of the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung and has published in Science, Nature, and the Jerusalem Report. He is the author of Kepler’s Conjecture, The Secret Life of Numbers, Poincaré’s Prize, and Numbers Rule. He lives in Switzerland.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Except for the LTCM case and an attempt in the last chapter, limitations and failures of statistical applications are not covered.
Gderf
I found the history of financial markets very interesting, and how recenty our understanding, and the science and mathematics of the markets are.
Case Marsh
At the beginning, his studies of investment manias (tulip bubble, the Mississippi and the East Indies bubble) goes on for too long.
Gaetan Lion

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Simon Z. Benninga on January 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book. It does a great job of summarizing the intricate history of the mathematics behind the Black-Scholes formula. The biographical details were fascinating, and ultimately the reader gets a good feel for why this is such an important problem (and why several Nobel prizes were awarded for this pathbreaking achievement).

An extensive very complementary review can be found in the Economist magazine: [...] .

In the realm of full disclosure: I read an early draft of a chapter of the book and made some comments.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on December 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author has an encyclopedic knowledge about the subject. But, he does not convey the material in a user friendly way. Additionally, his attempt at explaining the basics of the Black Scholes (BS) formula within the Appendix is truly obfuscating. Within this section after 12 laborious algebraic steps, he ends up with a different trigonometric formula that does not look like the BS equation. Thus, don't buy this book to acquire a clear understanding of this formidable formula.

As a historian, the author has done superb research. He does a good job at connecting the dots of the various luminaries across time that established the theoretical preceding foundation that allowed for a team of three contemporary geniuses to put it all together in 1973 (Black, Scholes, Merton).

Yet, the author lingers on certain topics way too long for the sake of his book's rhythm. At the beginning, his studies of investment manias (tulip bubble, the Mississippi and the East Indies bubble) goes on for too long. Then, his exploration of the Brownian movement whereby particles move by the square root of time (which applies to stock price movement too) is so lengthy it dominates the entire book. He narrates how numerous scientists from many different disciplines uncovered this perplexing principle independently. By the third time that such a scientist had rediscovered that principle, I began to get cross eyed. Actually, this book is more about Brownian motion than the BS formula.

The last quarter of the book is the better one. All of a sudden the author realized he had much ground to cover and got moving. His description of the three main protagonists (Black, Scholes, Merton) is good.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gderf on October 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The title is overly pretentious. This is a fine history of the transition from the mathematics related to Brownian motion to Black-Scholes option pricing equations. The book starts with the pretentious statement that B-S is as important as Newton's laws of motion. The technical portion of the book suffers from excessively bad editing: surface for circumference, banker for baker (hedger), receives for pays and there is an instance where option buyer and writer are reversed. It's a well researched and informative history of development of statistical applications to science and finance. It's especially informative on the contributions of under appreciated scientists like Louis Bachelier and relative unknowns like Jules Regnault and Paul Levy.

There's interesting coverage of Norbert Weiner and the development of cybernetics, as related to finance. Szpiro does a good job relating how Harry Markowitz and others modernized the work of Bachelier, leading to Nobel prizes for Markowitz, Merton and Scholes. The book examines minutely the entrance of "quants" into the field of derivative finance. There's a very good history of LTCM, with its founders, methods and failure. It might be the best available, although the reason for potential bank losses provoking federal intervention is not made clear.

Except for the LTCM case and an attempt in the last chapter, limitations and failures of statistical applications are not covered. The attempt in the last chapter is based solely on statistical considerations. Brownian motion is significant only in a closed environment. In a stream or an ocean it's a small component of particle motion. A financial market is more like an ocean than like a petri dish.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Don M. Chance on September 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a very good book for anyone who has ever calculated an option price. (If you have not, don't read it.) I knew a good bit of this story but only in scattered unconnected pieces. The author has done a great job of assembling the history of the model back to its roots and tying things together. The research is the kind of meticulous work you find in historians (good ones, at least). I'm not sure why there were some negative reviews, but clearly no book can meet all expectations. I highly recommend it, though it's not a good mothers day gift (unless mom's a quant!). If you have any doubt, order this book and something completely different to hedge your risk. (That's what I did.)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on June 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I am very impressed with this book, I bought the audio version and I cannot stop listening to it. George give a detailed very exciting story of the mathematicians, physicist, philosophers and speculators who discovered the mathematics that lead to the eventual discovery of the black-scholes equation. The story is in enough detail that if you have a Calculus level education and like math you can easily wrap your mind around why the equation is so importance to finance and how it's used to "price the future". Highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search