Front cover image for Against the gods : the remarkable story of risk

Against the gods : the remarkable story of risk

People constantly take risks. Savers buy stocks, doctors perform operations, poker players figure the odds, spaceships soar into the skies, and business managers launch new products. Without the instruments of risk management, such decisions would be impossible, because no one could figure the likelihood of successful outcomes. This book blends biography with history and science to show how the concept of risk, and tools for managing it, were developed. It traces the role of such famous thinkers as Pascal, Bernoulli, Bayes, Keynes Markowitz, Arrow and von Neumann, as well as other, less well-known but equally important men, including a few inveterate gamblers, two ministers, an anonymous group of monks, a doctor, a button salesman, and a composer of operas. The book explains such concepts as probability, uncertainty, the distinction between chance and skill, the interactions between gambling and investing, and rational versus irrational decision-making
Print Book, English, ©1996
J. Wiley, New York, ©1996
Ressources Internet
xi, 383 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
9780471121046, 9780471295631, 0471121045, 0471295639
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 TO 1200: BEGINNINGS 1. The Winds of the Greeks and the Roleof the Dice 11 2. As Easy as I, II, III 23 1200–1700: A THOUSAND OUTSTANDING FACTS 3. The Renaissance Gambler 39 4. The French Connection 57 5. The Remarkable Notions of the Remarkable Notions Man 73 1700–1900: MEASUREMENT UNLIMITED 6. Considering the Nature of Man 99 7. The Search for Moral Certainty 116 8. The Supreme Law of Unreason 135 9. The Man with the Sprained Brain 152 10. Peapods and Perils 172 11. The Fabric of Felicity 187 1900–1960: CLOUDS OF VAGUENESS AND THE DEMAND FOR PRECISION 12. The Measure of Our Ignorance 197 13. The Radically Distinct Notion 215 14. The Man Who Counted Everything Except Calories 231 15. The Strange Case of the Anonymous Stockbroker 247 DEGREES OF BELIEF:EXPLORING UNCERTAINTY 16. The Failure of Invariance 269 17. The Theory Police 284 18. The Fantastic System of Side Bets 304 19. Awaiting the Wildness 329 Notes 339 Bibliography 353 Name Index 365 Subject Index 369