An intellectual thrill ride, replete with practical wisdom that can guide us all in uncertain financial waters, A Man for All Markets is an instant classic—a book that challenges its readers to think logically about a seemingly irrational world. An intellectual thrill ride, replete with practical wisdom that can guide us all in uncertain financial waters, A Man for All Markets is an instant classic–a book that challenges its readers to think logically about a seemingly irrational world. A child of the Great Depression, legendary mathematician Edward O. Thorp invented card counting, proving that you could do the seemingly impossible—beat the dealer at the blackjack table—and in doing so launched a gambling renaissance.
He went on to collaborate with MIT professor Claude Shannon to determine whether it was possible to predict where a ball would land on a roulette wheel. After the casinos, the next big challenge was the stock market, which is, of course, the world’s largest casino. He describes his first three lessons, each of which cost him what was then a substantial sum of money. After that, he studied the market intensively for several months and found a way to minimize risk while maximizing returns. He originated one of the first hedge funds, and chalked up impressive results year after year.
As we sat on a bench near an elevator, two women and a man got off. Charlotte, keen to tempt me into speech, asked, “Where are the people going? ” I said clearly and distinctly, “The man is going to buy something and the two women are going to the bathroom to do pee-pee.” Charlotte and Estelle both blushed deeply at the mention of pee-pee. Far too young to have learned conventional embarrassment, I noticed this but didn’t understand why they reacted that way. I also was puzzled by the sensation I had caused with my sudden change from silence to talkativeness.
- But at the time Swift’s historical allusions and social satire mostly escaped me, despite explanations by my father.
- Few people have as good a grasp of financial issues as he does, and for that reason alone this is a valuable book.
- See, I read “A mind at play”, a biography about Claude Shannon , and I dragged myself to finish it.
- His father took him and his brother to settle in the state of Washington.
- In his case, there’s also a contrarian streak at play; told, like all of us, that the winning odds are always with the casino and that there’s no way to reliably play against the house, he took the scientific approach and tested the assertion.
- Seriously the guy taught himself Fortran in the 1960s (or 50s?) to beat Blackjack, built the first wearable device to beat roulette, created what we now call as quant-trading, and actually made money consistanly out of if.
Over the next couple of years I read books including Gulliver’s Travels, Treasure Island, and Stanley and Livingstone in Africa. When, after an eight-month arduous and dangerous search, Stanley found his quarry, the only European known to be in Central Africa, I thrilled to his incredible understatement, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume,” and I discussed the splendor of the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River with my father, who assured me that they far surpassed our own Niagara Falls. A autobiography by Ed Thorp, the man who has beaten not only the casino but also Wall Street. This book is recommended by Charlie Munger in the Daily Journal AGM in Feb 2017. Jack Sschwager also said the most impressive of all the people he met/featured for his Market Wizards series was Ed Thorp.
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She had a hard time deciding whether her son was stubborn and badly behaved or was really as unaware as he claimed. Another time, I was warned that fresh eggs would crack if they were squeezed just a little bit. Wondering what “a little bit” meant, I squeezed an egg very slowly until it cracked, then practiced squeezing another, stopping just before it would crack, to see exactly how far I could go.
We help investors build low-cost diversified portfolios, create comprehensive financial plans, and save money with a flat annual fee. After this, the campaign to get me to talk intensified. About the time of my third birthday, my mother and two of her friends, Charlotte and Estelle, took me along with them to Chicago’s then famous Montgomery Ward department store.
Cleared payment cleared payment – opens in a new window or tab. Ed Thorp beat the casino in blackjack, invented the world’s first wearable computer, and generated one of the best track records in the investment industry. The New York Times bestselling author of Dealing with China takes the reader behind closed doors to witness the creation and evolution and future of China’s state-controlled capitalism.
I next recall being taken at age two and a half to our beloved family physician, Dr. Dailey. My alarmed parents explained that I had yet to speak a single word. The doctor smiled and asked me to point to the ball on his desk.
A Man for All Markets: Beating the Odds, from Las Vegas to Wall Street
In this regard, Thorp’s autobiography is an illustrative guide to finding meaning in life – not through spirituality, but through curiosity and application of the inquisitive mind to understand the world around it. I also enjoyed the final chapters in which he moves away from memoir to talk about good investment strategies and how the 2008 market crash came about and why it is likely to happen again. I was looking forward to this book even before I knew it would be written — someone would have to write about this man’s life eventually, and I’m glad that Thorp himself did it. Estimated delivery dates – opens in a new window or tab include seller’s handling time, origin ZIP Code, destination ZIP Code and time of acceptance and will depend on shipping service selected and receipt of cleared payment. Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods.
I came away with a much better understanding of how hedge funds work which probably would have been boring or annoying in a lesser told tale. There are learnings and scattered through their are anecdotes. For instance, he tells a story about how he convinced his maid to put her money into Berkshire Hathaway in the 1960s and keep it there. “A Man for All Markets ” is firstly an Autobiography Memoir. He starts with detailed life account from the early beginnings of life in poverty through to present day.
Similarly, in our time with the ubiquity of computers and hand calculators, the ability to carry out mental calculations has largely disappeared. Yet a person who knows just grammar school arithmetic can learn to do mental calculations comfortably and habitually. From Malory’s story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, I learned about heroes and villains, romance, justice, and retribution. I admired the heroes who, through extraordinary abilities and resourcefulness, achieved great things. Introverted and thoughtful, I may have been inspired to mirror this in the future by using my mind to overcome intellectual obstacles, instead of my body to defeat human opponents. The books helped establish lifelong values of fair play, a level playing field for everyone, and treating others as I myself wish to be treated.
From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market
It made me sit back and wonder, how can he imply that HFT is not really adding anything to society, then talk about making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in other types of trading ? It was also refreshing to see the life balance mentioned explicitly https://forexarena.net/ as I think so many book glamorize the intense work dedication and ignore the often detrimental effects on home life. I know many men who, as boys, conducted chemical and rocket experiments in their back yards, but none as clever and successful as Thorp.
One man put me to an unexpected and potentially embarrassing test. Gulliver’s Travels was a special favorite, with its tiny Lilliputians, giant Brobdingnagians, talking horses, and finally the mysterious Laputa, a flying island in the sky supported by magnetic forces. I enjoyed the vivid pictures it created in my mind and the fantastical notions that spurred me to imagine for myself a man for all markets further wonders that might be. But at the time Swift’s historical allusions and social satire mostly escaped me, despite explanations by my father. Sensing this and hoping it would bring us closer, I welcomed his efforts to teach me. Born in Iowa in 1898, my father, Oakley Glenn Thorp, was the second of three children, with his brother two years older and sister two years younger.
Thorp concludes with Chapter 30 “Thoughts,” which I found fascinating. There are also five appendices, three on inflation and the dollar, historical returns, and the performance of his fantastically successful hedge fund, Princeton Newport Partners. Ed Thorpe is one of the great minds in the history of the trading business and one of the Top 5 trading legends I have been hoping to see a biography come out on. (Steven Cohen plz!!) In this case Thorpe wrote his own autobiography and that makes it all the better.
After teaching at UCLA for a year, he moved to Massachusetts to take an instructor position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . He either taught himself or he learned from others. Indeed Chapter 1 is entitled “Loving to Learn.” He began as a poor boy in Lomita, California delivering newspapers in the morning and in the afternoon. He got into UCLA and graduated with a degree in physics and then went on to grad school to study mathematics.
By Edward O. ThorpForeword by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I was surprised the author dedicated the last 1/3 or 1/4th of the book to personal finance, budgeting, and life view/work life balance. Thorp’s favorite entertainment was solving mathematical puzzles. He decided early on not to accept anyone’s opinion that something was impossible . After blackjack, he calculated a way to beat roulette, in collaboration with Claude Shannon, the father of information theory. He was, of course, barred from the Nevada casinos, and became a master of disguise as a result. The last casino game to fall to his calculations was baccarat.
His account of these activities is often hilarious; I am reminded strongly of Richard Feynman, who was, incidentally, a friend of his. Before this book, I wasn’t aware of what a super genius he is. He took a standard IQ test (he didn’t know the reason) to determine whether he should skip 6th grade . He enjoyed the first part of the test, then decided he had better things to do and drew a line down “true” for the last set of true/false questions.
The book is a wonderful tour de force of Thorp’s fascinating life. And, by all accounts, he’s been a decent and good guy for the whole ride, even as he amassed a considerable fortune. It’s fascinating to see how he develops theories and then translates them into a way to make money in fast-moving markets. The book starts with some excellent anecdotes of Thorp working with Claude Shannon. But it falls apart when Thorp starts talking about how special he is. I’m still not sure that he has done much other than make a lot of money, but to Thorp his money apparently is proof of his worth.