JCL Blog

Book Review: The Quants by Scott Patterson

This post really does not qualify as a book review.  My desire to know more about Wall Street is fading and while this is a very good book with both interesting personalities and good historical context - it is covering the same story. 

The whole thing boils down to this quote in the last chapter where Patterson makes an observation about the math geniuses at a fund raiser to benefit the teaching of math:

The quants in attendance somehow didn't think it ironic that their own profession amounted to a massive brain drain of mathematically gifted people who could otherwise find careers in developing more efficient cars, faster computers or better mousetraps, rather than devising clever methods to make money for the already rich.

Here are some other reviews

New York Times

Business Week

Here is an Article in The Wall Street Journal by Scott Patterson with a video interview where he says:

Really the genie is out of the bottle.  You are not going to be able to stop these guys.  I don't care what the Obama administration tries to do, they can crack down on the banks, but they [the quants] will just go outside of the banks.

One concept that Patterson captures often in the book is the pursuit of the "Truth" (caps are his) by the Quants.  Clearly some of them thought they actually had come to know the Truth.  Their rebound after the crash is only going to perpetuate their feelings of omnipotence.  Our bailing them out surely didn't help.