Popular Math and Science

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My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance
by Emanuel Derman
ISBN 0-471-39420-3

Emanuel Derman started out as a theoretical particle physicist. But after several frustrating years as a post-doc, then assistant professor, then in industry at Bell Labs, Derman followed many of his fellow physicists into the world of finance.

I enjoyed Derman's anecdotes, especially those from his graduate student days and his experiences at Bell Labs. I also found his observations of the culture of Wall Street fascinating. But my interest flagged at mid-point in the book when Derman's focus turned to finance.


The Wisdom of Crowds
by James Surowiecki
ISBN 0-385-50386-5

This intelligent book, derived from Surowiecki’s column in the New Yorker, explores how decisions are made. Surowiecki presents evidence that supports the hypothesis that better decisions are made when many people (crowds) participate in the decision-making.