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Old 06-23-2013, 12:57 PM
 
4,723 posts, read 4,414,855 times
Reputation: 8481

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I am reading The Round House (thanks of course to this forum). At first I really was not feeling it, but now that I am about 1/2 way through, I am quite captivated by it.
I am hoping I can finish it as I just picked up "serving Victoria" which is REALLY calling my name. Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household: Kate Hubbard: 9780062269911: Amazon.com: Books
And Ketabcha, I have not read the right stuff but I think I have read a lot of the other books by tom wolfe and generally LOVE his books.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,044 posts, read 13,860,569 times
Reputation: 15839
I'm 2/3 of the way through "The Quants" by Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Patterson. It is a great read. There is no math in it despite the title.

Two thumbs up.

Quote:
In March of 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, but those numbers meant nothing to them. They were accustomed to risking billions.

At the card table that night was Peter Muller, an eccentric, whip-smart whiz kid who’d studied theoretical mathematics at Princeton and now managed a fabulously successful hedge fund called PDT…when he wasn’t playing his keyboard for morning commuters on the New York subway. With him was Ken Griffin, who as an undergraduate trading convertible bonds out of his Harvard dorm room had outsmarted the Wall Street pros and made money in one of the worst bear markets of all time. Now he was the tough-as-nails head of Citadel Investment Group, one of the most powerful money machines on earth. There too were Cliff Asness, the sharp-tongued, mercurial founder of the hedge fund AQR, a man as famous for his computer-smashing rages as for his brilliance, and Boaz Weinstein, chess life-master and king of the credit default swap, who while juggling $30 billion worth of positions for Deutsche Bank found time for frequent visits to Las Vegas with the famed MIT card-counting team.

On that night in 2006, these four men and their cohorts were the new kings of Wall Street. Muller, Griffin, Asness, and Weinstein were among the best and brightest of a new breed, the quants. Over the prior twenty years, this species of math whiz --technocrats who make billions not with gut calls or fundamental analysis but with formulas and high-speed computers-- had usurped the testosterone-fueled, kill-or-be-killed risk-takers who’d long been the alpha males the world’s largest casino. The quants believed that a dizzying, indecipherable-to-mere-mortals 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 unprecedented machine, men like Muller, Griffin, Asness and Weinstein had sowed the seeds for history’s greatest financial disaster.

Drawing on unprecedented access to these four number-crunching titans, The Quants tells the inside story of what they thought and felt in the days and weeks when they helplessly watched much of their net worth vaporize – and wondered just how their mind-bending formulas and genius-level IQ’s had led them so wrong, so fast. Had their years of success been dumb luck, fool’s gold, a good run that could come to an end on any given day? What if The Truth they sought -- the secret of the markets -- wasn’t knowable? Worse, what if there wasn’t any Truth?

In The Quants, Scott Patterson tells the story not just of these men, but of Jim Simons, the reclusive founder of the most successful hedge fund in history; Aaron Brown, the quant who used his math skills to humiliate Wall Street’s old guard at their trademark game of Liar’s Poker, and years later found himself with a front-row seat to the rapid emergence of mortgage-backed securities; and gadflies and dissenters such as Paul Wilmott, Nassim Taleb, and Benoit Mandelbrot.

With the immediacy of today’s NASDAQ close and the timeless power of a Greek tragedy, The Quants is at once a masterpiece of explanatory journalism, a gripping tale of ambition and hubris…and an ominous warning about Wall Street’s future.

Last edited by SportyandMisty; 06-23-2013 at 11:34 PM..
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Southern Ontario
443 posts, read 564,653 times
Reputation: 816
I finished Joyland by Stephen King on the weekend and really enjoyed so much, I didnt want it to end! I would love some kind of sequel to this. Not as much creep and gore as previous King stories. It had more of mystery and how one young man grew up in a summer working for an amusement park.
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 33,016,638 times
Reputation: 28903
Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnMTL View Post
I forgot about The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls -- I literally forgot that I was reading it (so much else was going on) but I will get back to it next (or very soon) -- and started reading The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth Silver. (I guess there's a "silver" theme, at least.)

Anyway.

From the synopsis, I could tell it wasn't really my type of story. I don't know why I chose it. It's a very fast read (it's 320 pages, and I'm already 30% in after not many hours of reading) and it seems to have a Gillian Flynn kind of voice. Maybe it's because the main character, Noa, is a VERY strong female protagonist, she has a dry sense of humor, and she's a rough-and-tumble kind of gal. The story itself is actually something that I could see Gillian Flynn writing. The style is not up to Flynn's, but this is Silver's first novel, so I'll cut her slack on that. While I'm not loving the story, I am interested enough in knowing the "why" of it, so I'll keep on reading.

And thank you (again) to Obrero for the post above mine. Three more books to add to my never-ending, never getting smaller "to read" list.
I finished The Execution of Noa P. Singleton. It was a decent read. Like I said, it had a bit of Gillian Flynn style to it, but the one way that this author -- Elizabeth Silver -- doesn't match up to Flynn is that Silver tries too hard. There are a lot of sentences that just smack of "trying too hard." A good writer makes the reading easy. Silver didn't always do that. All in all, though, not a bad read.
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:37 PM
 
1,833 posts, read 3,348,993 times
Reputation: 1795
With all the talk about The Silver Star I decided to see if my library had it in eBook. Of course not. There are also like 49 holds on it. So I checked the status of the Quick Picks section, and one was available. So I raced down to the library. Of course, it's our cities festival time so it was a pain to find parking, but I got the book! I also picked up The Light Between Oceans. I have to read The Silver Star first, though, because that is only a 7-day check out. I am also reading (still) my Linda Lael Miller fluff romance novel, A Creed in Stone Creek. It's good, but obviously I've been distracted as I have read a couple of other books while trying to read that one. We'll see if I ever finish it or if I keep checking it out from the library.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:14 PM
 
9,229 posts, read 8,544,205 times
Reputation: 14770
I just finished "All the Little Live Things," by Wallace Stegner, and frankly it took me forever to read it -- or maybe it just seemed that way.

It took me forever to read it because it was so darned depressing. A conflicted protagonist that doesn't understand or care for the world he lives in, going on forever about how he wishes things were, but are not.

Hmm, sounds like me.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:05 AM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 12,362,465 times
Reputation: 6678
Just finised Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline, it was quite good and I'm now up at 4am because I just couldn't put it down. I'd vaguely heard about the orphan trains but it certainly is a hidden history of this country.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:58 AM
 
3,493 posts, read 7,930,200 times
Reputation: 7237
Why is it that when I am in a reading slump I make such bad choices about books? I think it is a chicken and egg sort of thing. My SIL handed down a book called "War Brides" and I took her up on it because it was WWII themed and about women and she raved about it. Can't go wrong, huh? Yes - actually, you can go very, very wrong. It was dreadful. Maybe worse than that. I read the last section in 7 - 15 page chunks. Done.

Now I'm feeling a little inspired and am taking both The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Escape from Camp 41 with me to read at lunch today and see which one of these very, very different books will get my vote.

More later...
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:58 AM
 
1,833 posts, read 3,348,993 times
Reputation: 1795
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReturningWest View Post
Just finised Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline, it was quite good and I'm now up at 4am because I just couldn't put it down. I'd vaguely heard about the orphan trains but it certainly is a hidden history of this country.
I am on the wait list at my library for this one and I cannot wait to get it. I'm very intrigued by the subject manner. Always good to hear "I just couldn't put it down."
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Canada
7,309 posts, read 9,316,797 times
Reputation: 9858
Escape From Camp 41 is very interesting. Shocking, actually. I also read it while in a reading slump and it kept my attention. It was a fast read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinetreelover View Post
Why is it that when I am in a reading slump I make such bad choices about books? I think it is a chicken and egg sort of thing. My SIL handed down a book called "War Brides" and I took her up on it because it was WWII themed and about women and she raved about it. Can't go wrong, huh? Yes - actually, you can go very, very wrong. It was dreadful. Maybe worse than that. I read the last section in 7 - 15 page chunks. Done.

Now I'm feeling a little inspired and am taking both The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Escape from Camp 41 with me to read at lunch today and see which one of these very, very different books will get my vote.

More later...
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