Summary of Plight of the Fortune Tellers

Why We Need to Manage Financial Risk Differently

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Plight of the Fortune Tellers book summary
A penetrating, skeptical analysis of the weaknesses in financial risk management – with recommendations for repair.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Reading this book is like reading the prophecies of Cassandra, whose fate was to speak the truth to the unbelieving. In the wake of the fiscal crisis, no one can question the observation that the practice of financial risk management has serious flaws. Business journalist Riccardo Rebonato’s discussion of why and how financial institutions misunderstand and mismanage risk provides valuable insights. He works to make his ideas accessible beyond the narrow circles of financial economists and quantitative risk managers. He uses no equations in the text, and his few graphs are clear and accessible. He states his case against excess reliance on statistical methods in plain language. getAbstract believes that his analysis should interest any manager or regulator whose responsibilities include oversight of finance.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What risk means;
  • Why current approaches to financial risk management are dangerous; and
  • What sort of change is necessary.


Confused Risk Managers
Financial risk managers are dangerously confused. They believe in the possibility of estimating risk with extreme precision and they think that exact, quantitative metrics provide enough information to make the right decisions about risk. This is not true, and the...
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About the Author

Riccardo Rebonato is global head of market risk, quantitative research and quantitative analysis at the Royal Bank of Scotland. He is visiting lecturer in mathematical finance at the University of Oxford and adjunct professor at the Tanaka Business School, Imperial College London.

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