Summary of A Man for All Markets

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take
  • Inspiring

Recommendation

From his unique vantage point, Edward O. Thorp – a mathematician who became a card shark and then a hedge fund manager – delivers an illuminating insider’s account of Wall Street and what ails it. He brings his singular perspective to bear on all the major financial events of recent years, giving readers an entertaining ringside view on the happenings. Besides enriching investors in his hedge fund, as well as himself, through the use of computers and mathematical models as an early quant investor, Thorp also succeeded at beating the Las Vegas casinos, whose pit bosses used fair means and foul to outdo gamblers. According to Thorp, Wall Street professionals, despite regulations, don’t always play fair, either. Both seasoned and novice investors will enjoy Thorp’s career stories and life lessons.

About the Author

Edward O. Thorp is the author of Beat the Dealer and the co-author of Beat the Market.

 

Summary

The Early Years

Fascinated by numbers as a child, Edward O. Thorp “learned to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers of any size” before the age of five. Growing up during the Great Depression inculcated in him an appreciation for frugality, and it also spawned his business sense. After working as a newspaper delivery boy, he gained wider exposure to the world by taking a grueling test at age 12 to become a ham radio operator, exchanging messages with people across the globe. He also displayed a spirit of inquiry by conducting various science experiments during his school years, even as he survived a family dynamic of discord between his parents, who eventually divorced.

At age 17, he ended up at the University of California in Berkeley, majoring in chemistry and barely making ends meet despite scholarships and part-time jobs. Ultimately, he transferred to UCLA and became interested in physics and math, going on to receive a PhD in mathematics. He also met his future wife, Vivian Sinetar, a fellow student at UCLA.

What Happened in Vegas

In 1958, during a foray into the world of Las Vegas gambling, Thorp hit on the idea of getting an edge in the...


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