Can one of the world's most renowned mathematicians take on Wall Street and walk away with millions?
When award-winning writer John Allen Paulos unexpectedly receives a small chunk of money, he decides to find out. But he soon discovers that making the numbers add up is far harder (and more addictive) than even a math guru ever imagined.
In A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market, the normally hardheaded Paulos -- author of the best-selling A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper -- finds himself hopelessly infatuated with a sizzling stock: the notorious WorldCom. As he recounts the ups and (mostly) downs of this love affair, Paulos lays out the basic mathematical concepts behind the stock market. Using entertaining stories and vignettes rather than formulas and equations, he examines various approaches to investing as well as a number of financial problems, paradoxes, and puzzles.
Of the questions Paulos delves into, some are age-old and others brand new -- but all are vital to understanding today's market. Why do stock prices move the way they do? Is it really worthwhile to even try and outperform the major indexes? Can technical analysis give you an edge? Can fundamental analysis? How efficient is the market? How random? What's the best way to quantify risk? What are the most common psychological foibles of investors? What are the most common scams? What are options, portfolio theory, and short-selling? Can fractals, chaos, and other non-standard tools provide insight into the market?
Paulos answers these and other questions in a style that's wry and playful, yet always illuminating. For anyone who invests or who follows the market or anyone who wants to learn more about it, this engaging book is chock-full of wit, insight, and wisdom.