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Stochastic Calculus and Financial Applications (Stochastic Modelling and Applied Probability) Hardcover – October 12, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews: MATHEMATICAL REVIEWS "…on the whole, the results are presented carefully and thoroughly, and I expect that readers will find that this combination of a careful development of stochastic calculus with many details and examples is very useful and will enable them to apply the whole theory confidently." SHORT BOOK REVIEWS "This is a world of 'lovely exercises' that are 'very good good for the soul', 'honest martingales', 'bedrock approximations', portfolios that are 'born to lose', 'intuitive but bogus arguments', and 'embarrassingly crude insights'. In short, this is a book on stochastic calculus of a different flavour. Intuition is not sacrificed for rigour nor rigour for intuition.The main results are reinforced with simple special cases, and only when the intuitive foundations are laid does the auhtor resort to the formalism of probability. The coverage is limited to the essentials but nevertheless includes topics that will catch the eye of experts (such as the wavelet construction of Brownian motion). This is one of the most interesting and easiest reads in the discipline; a gem of a book." JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN STOCHASTIC ASSOCIATION "The book is indeed well written, with many insightful comments. I certainly would recommend it to students wishing to learn stochastic calculus and its applications to the Black-Sholes option-pricing theory…I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author is to be complimented for his efforts in providing many useful insights behind the various theories. It is a superb introduction to stochastic calculus and Brownian motion…An interesting feature in this book is its coverage of partial differential equations." "It is clear that this is a fairly comprehensive introduction to the tools of (classical) mathematical finance. … the text has much to offer. … In addition, the writing style is refreshingly informal and makes a book about a rather technical subject surprisingly enjoyable to read. In short, despite the recent deluge of textbooks in this area, I know of no better book for self-study." (Christian Kleiber, Statistical Papers, Vol. 46 (2), 2005) "Steele’s book is a sophisticated introduction to stochastic calculus with applications from basic Black-Scholes theory. … I highly recommend the book. His style is wonderful, and concepts really build on one another. … it offers one of the most elegant treatments of the subject that I know of." (www.riskbook.com, May, 2006) "As is clear from the title of this book, it is concerned with applications of stochastic calculus to finance. … one naturally judges the book by three criteria: topic selection, organization, and exposition. In all three domains the book succeeds. The topics selected are rich enough … he or she will benefit from the book. … there are innovations as well … from the pedagogic standpoint." (Philip Protter, SIAM Review, Vol. 43 (4), 2001) "This book offers rich information and a mathematically honest treatment of stochastic calculus and of its use in the theory of finance … . The author gradually builds the reader’s ability to grasp stochastic concepts and techniques … . the author’s presentation of stochastic models in finance and economy is precise and extensive … . Each chapter is accompanied by a collection of rather challenging exercises … ." (EMS Newsletter, December, 2002) "The present book ‘is designed for students who want to develop professional skill in stochastic calculus and its application to problems in finance’. … the textbook … retains a lovely lecture style focusing basic ideas and not formalities and technical details of stochastic processes needed for finance. I can strongly recommend this book to students of mathematics and physics as well as non-experts in probability theory who are interested in stochastic finance." (H. –J. Girlich, Zeitschrift für Analysis und ihre Anwendungen, Vol. 21 (4), 2002) "The last few years have been a fertile period for books on stochastic calculus and its financial implications, but this one differs from the many mainstream treatments … . The style of the book creates the atmosphere of a lively lecture … . Each chapter ends with a section of carefully chosen exercises, preceded by some motivating remarks. … I really liked the book." (R. Grübel, Statistics & Decisions, Vol. 20 (4), 2002) "This book gives an introduction to stochastic calculus … with applications in mathematical finance. … As the preface says, ‘This is a text with an attitude, and it is designed to reflect, wherever possible and appropriate, a prejudice for the concrete over the abstract’. This is also reflected in the style of writing which is unusually lively for a mathematics book. … on the whole, the results are presented carefully and thoroughly … ." (Martin Schweizer, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 962, 2001) "This is a book on stochastic calculus of a different flavour. Intuition is not sacrificed for rigour nor rigour for intuition. The main results are reinforced with simple special cases … . This is one of the most interesting and easiest reads in the discipline; a gem of a book." (D. L. McLeish, Short Book Reviews, Vol. 21 (1), 2001)
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Product Details

  • Series: Stochastic Modelling and Applied Probability (Book 45)
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; Corrected edition (October 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387950168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387950167
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,340,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. Michael Steele teaches at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His interests include probability theory, mathematical finance, financial time series, and, especially, mathematical inequalities. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute for Mathematical Statistics for which he also served as President.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Before I write this review, it's only fair to disclose that before even hearing of it I already had a very solid background in (graduate-level) analysis, which as another reader astutely pointed out is often considered "calculus" in the math community (I think the classic Calculus by Shlomo Steinberg, which can be found free online, has been used at Harvard for decades, while Tom Apostol's "Calculus," a misnomer to say the least, is the standard text at Stanford and Cal Tech - both are really books on advanced calculus and elementary real analysis). Part of the reason I am writing this is to clarify the distinction - many people aspiring towards quantitative roles on Wall Street don't know exactly what the mathematical prerequisites are for a particular subject or presentation, and hopefully I can help clarify this for other readers who, like myself, sought books like this one to learn the basics of mathematical finance.

On that note, Steele's book is a MATH book. By contrast, the wonderful book by Baxter & Rennie emphasizes core ideas with emphasis on the relationship between the three primary tools of the discipline (Martingale Representation, Ito-Doeblin Calculus, and the Feynman-Kac formula) while Shreve's classic emphasizes actual development of key models and techniques. Even Oksendal, which is aimed at a slightly more sophisticated mathematical audience, emphasizes applications at the expense of elegance.

In contrast, Steele's book is a math book aimed at Wharton (read: finance and economics doctoral students, likely in their second year) students with varied interests.
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Format: Hardcover
I knew Mike Steele from my days as a graduate student at Stanford. He is also a Stanford graduate and a first rate probabilist. When I knew him he was doing some post-doctoral teaching at Stanford. He is a great teacher and writer.

Mike Steele has used the material in this text to teach stochastic calculus to business students. The text presupposes knowledge of calculus and advanced probability. However the students are not expected to have had even a first course in stochastic processes. The book introduces the Ito calculus by first teaching about random walks and other discrete time processes. Steele uses a lecturing style and even brings in some humor and philosophy. He also presents results using more than one approach or proof. This can help the student get a deeper appreciation for the probabilitist concepts.
The gambler's ruin problem is one of the first problems that Steele tackles and he uses recursive equations as his way to introduce it.

Brownian Motion, Skorohod embedding and other advanced mathematics is introduced and emphasized. After motivating the stochastic calculus and developing martingales Steele covers arbitrage and stochastic differential equations leading up to the fundamental Black-Scholes theory that is important in financial applications. It is not fair to criticize this book for lack of applicability. It is strickly intended to develop a firm theoretical background for the students that will prepare them for a deep understanding of financial models important in applications.

I am not enough of an expert in this area to know if Professor McCauley's criticism in another amazon review of this book is valid, but I do think he is a little too harsh in criticizing the ideology that Steele presents. The ideology is what makes Steele's lectures stimulating and interesting to the students.
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Format: Hardcover
I took the author's course (at Wharton) on the subject when his book was in its early stages. I went very carefully through the notes (chapters of the book), and I learned a great deal (which is why I have purchased the final product). Given that I had previously used Musiela and Rutkowski ("Martingale Methods in Financial Modelling") in a Columbia graduate course, this was a considerable feat.
Steele, a Wharton Statistics professor, uses financial applications to motivate stochastic calculus from a particular perspective. I have no doubt that he sees stochastic calculus as a field that exists outside of finance and that he does not intend to teach the reader finance theory. His goal, I believe, is to offer a text that is more readable than the classic text of Karatzas and Shreve ("Brownian Motion and Stochastic Calculus"). In my opinion, he has accomplished this goal.
Protter ("Stochastic Integration and Differential Equations: a new approach") does an excellent job, as he is clear and develops the theory in greater generality (using semi-martingales). However, his text is highly theoretical and offers no finance applications. Duffie ("Dynamic Asset Pricing Theory") and Musiela and Rutkowski (above) do not offer the reader the necessary stochastic calculus background.
Lastly, this is a non-trivial subject. For people who do not sit down by themselves and put in the required hours, the outcome will be disappointing.
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Format: Hardcover
The book says that its only prerequisites are calculus and probability. This is not true. To be able to understand everything that's going on, you'll need to have a very good grasp of subjects like measure-theoretic probability, Hilbert spaces, and functional analysis. I quit reading the book in the early chapters, when Steele starts talking about things like "spans" and "denseness" for function spaces. I don't know where you went to school, but at my school, I didn't learn these subjects in my intro calculus and probability classes. To summarize, don't buy this book if you don't know measure theory.
If you want to learn quant finance at an elementary level, Baxter and Rennie is much, much better. Moreover, if you're comfortable with measure theory,and you want to learn the math that's necessary for option pricing, you'd be better off buying Oksendal's excellent book, which is at least as rigorous as Steele's book but much more clear.
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