A great book for anyone with an interest in Physics, Programming, or Finance. You will accompany Emanuel Derman in his journey to NYC as a young, enthusiastic PhD student, wander around the US and UK with him as he jumps from one postdoc position to another, have a feel of what is like to abandon a research career for a "business" job at Bell Labs "penal colony" and finally enter the secret doors of the money temples in Wall Street. You will find interesting remarks and reflections on the life of academics, programmers , quants and traders and get a glimpse of interesting characters like the nobel prize winner and Columbia Physics dept Emperor T.D. Lee and Wall Street legend Fisher Black. (yes, the Black-Scholes equation guy).
It is a fascinating read, but still quite depressing...one cannot avoid the question: "why didn't Dr. Derman manage to stay in Academia"? Watching the steady decline of his enthusiasm and the gradual curbing of his hopes while he progresses through his PhD and postdocs makes a clear pictures of how helpful and nurturing academic life can be to the ones who dare to choose it. Isolation, extreme competition, lack of decent working opportunities and conditions and the need to "produce something" to sustain his academic career slowly disoriented and disgusted a truly passionate, talented and enthusiastic young physicist to the point that he found the business, money crunching world more intersting and pleasant! This paradox clearly and sadly illustrates how the "publish or perish" routine has deformed the beauty of research and academic life.
This is not a book on quantitative finance, but a story of a great life of a passionate physicist scientist and his dreams of an academic life, that became one of the most famous quant in wall street. It's a great story and contains a lot of information from a perspective of a man with a real human values.
It's full of anecdotes, people, sentiment and deep thought.
Extremely advised to whom love science, finance and story about live and work in great organizations and with brilliant and outstanding people.