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Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (Anglais) Broché – 29 septembre 1998

3.7 étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires client

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"...provides an excellent history about risk and it′s vital role in markets." ( Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2006)

an excellent book on what can be a dry subject (Financial World, 1st December 2005)

"A comprehensive history of man′s efforts to understand risk and probability, from ancient gamblers in Greece to modern chaos theory." (The Washington Post Book World, September 20, 1998)

"I must say that I enjoyed the book, it was written in a light–hearted manner". (Money Matters, April 2001)

No. 7 bestseller in ′Risk′ (erivativesreview.com, December 2001)

"...provides an excellent history about risk and it′s vital role in markets." ( Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2006)

an excellent book on what can be a dry subject (Financial World, 1st December 2005)

"I must say that I enjoyed the book, it was written in a light–hearted manner".(Money Matters, April 2001)

No. 7 bestseller in ′Risk′ (erivativesreview.com, December 2001)

Présentation de l'éditeur

A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller

"Ambitious and readable . . . an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism." –The New York Times

"An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book." –The Wall Street Journal

"A lively panoramic book . . . Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it." –Business Week

"Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read." –The Economist

"[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world." –Worth

"No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement." –Robert Heilbroner author, The Worldly Philosophers

"With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it." –John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.

"An extremely readable history of risk." –Barron′s

"Fascinating . . . this challenging volume will help you understand the uncertainties that every investor must face." –Money

"A singular achievement." –Times Literary Supplement

"There′s a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly–witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)–and Bernstein would mingle well in their company." –The Australian

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Commentaires en ligne

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Format: Broché
What extraordinary amount of work accomplished by the author... Incredible!... This book is a chronicle - from Human's first attempts to understand and manage Risk to the latest financial developments and debacles (LTCM). It comes as no surprise that the point of view in mainly a financial one, although the main motivation of the first "probabilist" was gambling .
This captivating story and others are developed in this ouvrage explicitely referenced by many other authors (including N.N. Taleb). It is a must-read for any risk practioneer, and such an exhaustive presentation should be part of every post-graduate program in finance.
At some point the experienced reader will find numerical examples tedious and boring as they slow the pace of reading and break the rhythm of this fascinating story.
Remarque sur ce commentaire 4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Format: Broché
Ce livre retrace l'histoire des risques et de la manière dont ils sont gérés, depuis l'Antiquité jusqu'aux âges modernes. On y voit à travers de nombreux exemples comment les théories modernes sont nées et ont évolué.

On sent que l'auteur a fait beaucoup de recherches pour écrire ce livre, ce qui donne un résultat complet mais toujours plaisant à lire. En particulier, le choix des exemples simples rend l'ouvrage accessible à tous: pas besoin de maîtriser les côtés techniques des probabilités ou du calcul de risque.

On y trouve donc une approche intéressante pour tous ceux qui sont intéressés de près où de loin par la gestion du risque. On regrettera seulement le fait que la période actuelle n'occupe pas une place plus importante à la fin du livre. De plus sa date de publication (1996) fait que l'on ne retrouve pas les événements les plus récents. Un très bon livre toutefois!
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Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Ecrit en un anglais accessible, il remonte aux origines historiques de la gestion du risque et permet d'avoir une lecture de l'évolution de nos sociétés à travers la maîtrise du risque. Un des classiques du domaine que je recommande !
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5 284 commentaires
213 internautes sur 228 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An outstanding book about the evolution of risk. 26 avril 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Against the Gods is an outstanding book about the evolution of risk and man's attempt to understand it. Bernstein begins with ancient times and traces the history of numbers and probability leading eventually to today's seemingly complex financial world of portfolio theory, derivatives, and risk management techniques. Readers will learn about revolutionary thinkers including John von Neumann (inventor of game theory), Isaac Newton, Harry Markowitz (grandfather of portfolio theory), and the late Fischer Black (Black Scholes option formula) among others. Readers will also find enlightening stories about game theory, fibonacci numbers, chaos theory, the bell curve, regression to the mean, and more. Yet despite all the intelligence, computer power, and sophisticated techniques, Bernstein presents us with the growing body of evidence discovered by researchers including the late Amos Tversky and others that "reveals repeated patterns of irrationality, inconsistency, and incompetence in the ways human beings arrive at decisions and choices when faced with uncertainty." Against the Gods was chosen as one of Business Week's top 10 books of the year for 1996.
292 internautes sur 323 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 You'll Probably Find Parts Interesting (I'm 95% certain) 18 février 2000
Par Wayne A. Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Bernstein has written a thorough book that traces the linear progression of man's understanding of probability and risk.
This is a journey that begins with the importatioin of the arabic numbering system to the West and ends with super-computer crunched chaos theory. In between lie the fathers (all men) of mathamatical understanding. These individuals are the story of AGAINST THE GODS. Bernstein survey's the intellectual contrubutions of each as man strives to understood basic probability, the law of large numbers, bell curves, regression analysis, uncertainty theory and everything else you dimly remember from college statistics classes. He spends the latter quarter of the book on risk and probability theory in the financial world, where theorists have developed portfolio analysis, volitility studies, hedging and sidebets and other quantatative market plays.
Credit to the author for balancing his story against the very high probability that much of what these thinkers sought may be unattainable. He frequently mentions the humanity that these people try to explain with laws formulated from observations in the natural world. Although rightly impressed with his intellectual frontiersmen, Bernstein has no problem recognizing that the uncertainty that has always eluded explanation is us and that it helps make life worth living and progress possible.
This book is interesting for what it is. A story of the development of theories. I would have enjoyed more of a focus on the applications of this intellectual progression that led to the development of insurance and financial markets. Though these elements are mentioned often, they provide the backdrop for Bernsteins survey of theory. I suspect another book awaits someone who will reverse the order and use theory as a backdrop for the mechanisms that have allowed the modern economy to flourish and develop. The story of insurance, speculation, the beginning of capital markets, a monied economy and the like spring from the intellectual movements so well chronicled by Bernstein. However, they are not the focus, which has the habit of making the reading dry and sometimes uninteresting to those not captivated by the actual numeric analyses and proofs which are amply offerred over the course of the book.
If you like intellectual history and are looking to tie the building blocks of probability and risk analysis together over the last four centuries than this book may well captivate you. If you are seeking an understanding of how these discoveries were applied to forge the modern economy we now take for granted you will find parts interesting but may well feel that the story is incomplete.
128 internautes sur 140 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 History of risk analysis, not of risk 28 avril 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The book is a reasonably interesting history of the mathematical analysis of risk. Bernstein discusses the development of probability and statistical analysis, and even some of the more modern concepts behind portfolio theory. However, I was disappointed overall. The cover and title misled me---I was hoping for a history of how the understanding of risk and the development of analytical tools led to the development of insurance markets, etc., and fundamentally changed how businesses operated in the face of uncertainty. When a shipper could insure his cargo, instead of just waiting for bad news, how did that change the world? I want to know! Instead, I got to read about who discovered the bell curve. I'm trained in a mathematical field, so I felt the discussion got a bit tedious.
I felt, overall, that the discussion was aimed more at explaining the math in layman's terms rather than exploring the impact of these developments on how people do business and make decisions.
99 internautes sur 120 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Mildly interesting, but not remarkable 21 mars 2001
Par J. G. Heiser - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The book was interesting in several ways. The author's central idea, that having a mature concept of risk management is a prerequisite for modern civilization, is intriguing, yet not fully substantiated by his book. Having studied Finance in business school, it was interesting for me to learn a bit of the history behind contemporary thinking on financial risk management (in other words, he explains who figured out & popularized the alpha/beta thing).
Towards the end of the book, he just began to touch on some of the non-rational behavioral aspects of humans, and I wish he had gone deeper. Some of the most interesting work in economics is being done today with the radical assumption that human behavior is driven more by emotion than by reason. Why do people make ill-conceived decisions about risk? Not really answered in this book.
The book is almost totally oriented towards financial risk, and doesn't really look at other forms of risk management. Although the writing style is engaging--this is NOT dry--there are some structural problems. The author wanders around a bit, and sometimes introduces ideas or personalities without ever explaining why.
It is important to mention that this is treated as a 'story', from the historian's point of view, and not as a text book. In this way, it is true to its title. The book cover makes no claims for this as an intellectual or academic treatment of the subject, which makes this a very accessible book. It isn't profound, and it is only mildly informative, but outside of the minor annoyances of some outline weakness, I enjoyed reading it.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Both interesting and important 9 novembre 2006
Par Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The author of this book outlines the history of the theory of risk in the last 450 years and its modern metamorphosis into risk management. The reading is fascinating, giving many historical tales and anecdotes that one could only obtain from time-consuming consultation of many different documents or books. The author confuses skepticism with cynicism at times, especially when discussing the relation between modern financial engineering and risk management, but in general the dialog is pleasant to read, and offers many different insights into the different viewpoints of risk. This is especially true for the discussion of 'prospect theory' as first proposed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky and its elaboration of risk averse behavior. Readers sympathetic with prospect theory will find its inclusion refreshing, although it would have been even more helpful to such a reader to find a discussion of the relation between prospect theory and its expression, if any, in modern risk management.

The author however seems not to be aware of the notion of 'model risk' that is embedded in modern approaches to risk management and financial engineering. This is apparent when he speaks of the inability of risk analysts to input concepts into computing machines that they themselves cannot conceive. The issue for risk management is not whether these concepts are exact representations or reality, but rather the cost or risk associated with their inaccuracy. In addition, risk analysts do not need to conceptualize on a level that is extremely far from current paradigms. They need not think the 'unthinkable" as the author believes that they do. Instead, their goal is to invent concepts, models or even new paradigms that allow risk managers to make estimates based on these concepts. But these managers do not view these models as sacrosanct, or as "oracles" as the author puts it. In fact there is typically a large amount of skepticism exhibited towards the models, and the managers at time do resort to personal intuitions and hunches.

The author though is correct in his opinion of the huge role of machines in risk management and in finance in general. With each passing day these machines are given more responsibility for doing financial analysis, forecasting, trading, and even model building. And more importantly, they are beginning to actually construct concepts and theories about how markets work, with the guidance for the time being of human experts. This trend will continue, and with faster and faster machines on the horizon, and with more trust placed in these machines, one can expect even more volatility in the financial markets. This volatility will require even smarter machines to deal with the huge risk trade-offs that will be involved, and it is likely that the machines will compete fiercely with each other as the strive to optimize the financial health of the firms that deploy them.

Thus there are very challenging times ahead for risk management, and therefore it is important to keep its role in proper context. It is not done for the sake of it, and it depends on conceptions and theories that were developed centuries ago, as the author of this book shows in great detail. It is wise to keep in mind these historical origins to the same degree that risk algorithms depend on historical data. Risk in the twenty-first century will dwarf anything that has come before, and new political ideologies. legal and regulatory frameworks, and systems of ethics will arise just to deal with its complexity. The degree to which humans are overwhelmed by this risk will be inversely proportional to their willingness to learn from history as well as depart from it, and to interact with the most complex technology ever constructed.
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