Against the Gods the Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

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AGAINST THE GODS The Remarkable Story of Risk By Peter L. Bernstein I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by Against the Gods. I expected this book to be a typical dry book on a given financial subject, detailing use, application, and theory. I completely took for granted the fact that math, particularly risk, has history. The author did a fantastic job of painting a picture and explaining how, why and when concepts we use today came into being. While reading this book I became excited about risk and statistical analysis. The author is Peter L. Bernstein graduate of Harvard, economist, educator, and historian. He lived from January 1919 to June 2009. Bernstein is best remembered for his contributions in investment…show more content…
It was a very profound and eye opening moment for me to see how the author tied communism to the deliberate exclusion of risk. Any manipulation or attempt to hide risk changes the outcome and outlook of a situation. This was evidenced in the Soviet Union when their government tried to exercise control by pushing the concept of risk out of consideration. The end result was a complete stifling of social and economic progress. I personally compare this scenario to what Bernstein said earlier in the book about Greek society. Although the Greeks were great philosophers and were on the cusp of discovering risk, no great inventions or discoveries in math or science happened in their time. Another thing I liked about the book was in certain areas the discussion tied back to what I am currently working with on our StockTrak assignment specifically, the topes of options and dividends. Bernstein told the story of how in 1973 Fischer Black and Myron Scholes created an options pricing model and tried to have their work published. Although their work wasn’t accepted because neither Black nor Scholes had advanced degrees, their work went on to become very instrumental in options pricing and liabilities. With relation to dividends Bernstein explained how both investors and corporations would make more money if instead of paying dividends corporations used that money to repurchase outstanding shares of stock. In several areas of the book Bernstein

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