He proved mathematically, then in the casinos themselves, that blackjack players hold an edge over the dealer and literally wrote the book Beat the Dealer in the 1960s. He moved on from academia and gambling to make boatloads of money in the stock market, hob-nob with Warren Buffet, and generally live a fascinating life. The writing is clear and engaging, page-turning, and not overly technical nor filled with too many numbers. I’ve spent a lot of time reading books about investing and quantitative finance. This book is a train ride that stops at all of the interesting stops.
Yet a person who knows just grammar school arithmetic can learn to do mental calculations comfortably and habitually. 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. 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?
A Man for All Markets: Beating the Odds, from Las Vegas to Wall Street
His remarkable success—and mathematically unassailable method—caused such an uproar that the casinos altered the rules of the game to thwart him and the legions he inspired. They barred him from their premises, instituted new rules, and put his life in jeopardy. Here, for the first time, Thorp tells the story of what he did, how he did it, his passions and motivations, and the curiosity that has always driven him to disregard conventional wisdom and devise game-changing solutions to seemingly insoluble problems. 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.
- I like that he deliberately calls out how some people you come across in life will not hesitate to put their well being ahead of yours even when they already have what may be considered a comfortable position in life.
- 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.
- He is the author of Beat the Dealer, the first book to mathematically prove, in 1962, that the house advantage in blackjack could be overcome by card counting.
- (Thorp also discovered Madoff’s Ponzi scheme 18 years before it collapsed—of course he did nothing about it.) The book collapses in the second half, when Thorp shares his utterly pedestrian “insights” on financial markets.
However, I admired his approach to problem solving and I’m glad he wrote this book, which reviews his career, not only beating gambling games but also the financial markets. There is lots of good information for investors in the book and everyone who is investing for retirement or anything else should read this book or others like it. Thorp was on to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme long before his house of cards collapsed. Unfortunately, very few people believed that Madoff was scamming them until it all went bust.
A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market (Unabridged)
He is the author of Beat the Dealer, the first book to mathematically prove, in 1962, that the house advantage in blackjack could be overcome by card counting. He also developed and applied effective hedge fund techniques in the financial markets, and collaborated with Claude Shannon in creating the first wearable computer. 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.
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. It is now widely recognized that he derived the same options pricing formula that won a Nobel Prize as the “Black-Scholes Model”, except Thorpe had years before and kept it secret to generate millions in trading profits.
It happened because my parents became friends with the Kesters, who lived on a farm in Crete, Illinois, about forty-five miles from our home. They invited us out for two weeks every summer, starting in 1937 when I was turning five. These special days were what I most looked forward to each year. The Kesters’ oldest boy, strapping twentysomething Marvin, would carry me around on his shoulders.
” 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.
About the Author
As a very small boy I remember sitting in his lap on a humid afternoon examining the shrapnel scars on his chest and the minor mutilation of some of his fingers. He has an odd cadence and seems inhibited by something in his mouth (dentures?) that makes his reading style off-putting. On top of that finance titans tend to be rather braggadocios. The book felt even more egotistical having been read by the author. Okay now for some tidbits from the amazing professor of gambling and markets.
The knowledge that I’ve got enough.” -Joseph Heller, the author of Catch-22, to Kurt Vonnegut at a billionaire’s party. Towards the end Thorp gets a bit more specific about investment strategies (he talks about finding a subset of the S&P500 that closely tracks the S&P500 but can be more tax-efficient and lead to interesting strategies, for instance). But that’s not the point of the book, which is more about the big picture.
It is hard to write about a genius, if you are not a genius yourself (the author of “A mind at play” admitted it himself). Overall I found the first half more interesting because of his story of pulling himself up by the bootstraps and overcoming many of life’s essential unfairness. I like that he deliberately calls out how some people you come across in life will not hesitate to put their well being ahead of yours even when they already have what may be considered a comfortable position in life. What makes people successful is being able to roll with these punches to overcome what life dishes out. Having made enough money to last him and his wife comfortably for the rest of their lives, he retired to spend time with his family, traveling, and enjoying life.
Book Summary Of ‘A Man For All Markets’
Thorpe dives into any number of related topics including his own tale of spotting the Madoff fraud 20 years before it came to light….noone listened to him either.
Yet, Ed has so much primary information to share that he manages to make so much of this his own. The coverage is incredible, the perspective is priceless. He invented card counting, then by chance bacme an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway, was adamant about Bernie Madoff being a fraud in 1991, then became the first LP of Citadel, then turned down an opportunity to seed D. I mean no disrespect when I say this, but at times the book gives the impression that Thorp has been the Forrest Gump of Quantitative Finance.
My father had shown me this method and also how to use it to draw magnified or reduced versions of a figure. For example, to draw at double scale, just double the distance between the dots on the original drawing, keeping angles the same when placing the new dots. To triple the scale, triple the distance between dots, and so on.
A man for all markets
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.
A Man for All Markets is a great book and a reminder that the Achilles Heel of the rational man is the irrationality of everyone else. You can rich get off that knowledge but you can’t fix it. The irrationality of people is exactly what a man for all markets gives politicians power. The book is a great educational experience and a great narrative. 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.
Now he shares his incredible life story for the first time, revealing how he made his fortune and giving advice to the next generation of investors. An intellectual thrill ride, replete with practical wisdom, A Man for All Markets is a scarcely imaginable tale https://forexarena.net/ of ludicrous success. 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.