While the rating tells you how good a book is according to our two core criteria, it says nothing about its particular defining features. Therefore, we use a set of 20 qualities to characterize each book by its strengths:
Applicable – You’ll get advice that can be directly applied in the workplace or in everyday situations.
Analytical – You’ll understand the inner workings of the subject matter.
Background – You’ll get contextual knowledge as a frame for informed action or analysis.
Bold – You’ll find arguments that may break with predominant views.
Comprehensive – You’ll find every aspect of the subject matter covered.
Concrete Examples – You’ll get practical advice illustrated with examples of real-world applications or anecdotes.
Controversial – You’ll be confronted with strongly debated opinions.
Eloquent – You’ll enjoy a masterfully written or presented text.
Engaging – You’ll read or watch this all the way through the end.
Eye opening – You’ll be offered highly surprising insights.
For beginners – You’ll find this to be a good primer if you’re a learner with little or no prior experience/knowledge.
For experts – You’ll get the higher-level knowledge/instructions you need as an expert.
Hot Topic – You’ll find yourself in the middle of a highly debated issue.
Innovative – You can expect some truly fresh ideas and insights on brand-new products or trends.
Insider’s take – You’ll have the privilege of learning from someone who knows her or his topic inside-out.
Inspiring – You’ll want to put into practice what you’ve read immediately.
Overview – You’ll get a broad treatment of the subject matter, mentioning all its major aspects.
Scientific – You’ll get facts and figures grounded in scientific research.
Visionary – You’ll get a glimpse of the future and what it might mean for you.
Well structured – You’ll find this to be particularly well organized to support its reception or application.
Finance is a difficult and recondite subject, perhaps second only to mathematics in its inability to inspire excitement in most readers. Yet Benoit Mandelbrot and Richard L. Hudson, co-authors of this book, manage to turn financial math into a great yarn, full of interesting characters and dramatic events. Some of what the book actually says will be old news to market professionals, but it says it quite interestingly. Mandelbrot did some of his most important financial work in the 1960s, but his ideas about leptokurtosis (which deals with the shape of probability functions), fractals (which deal with repetitive patterns) and such have received quite a bit of subsequent attention in trading rooms and in the finance departments of major universities. So, perhaps, it is merely a dramatic device that this book presents Mandelbrot as a solitary, clear-thinking prophet struggling against a blind and hostile economic orthodoxy. That presentation certainly succeeds as drama – the story races along and the reader keeps rooting harder and harder for Mandelbrot to win. The co-authors have spun an excellent saga that says important things in a new way. getAbstract thinks every investor, every business journalist and every financial professional ought to read this book.
About the Authors
Benoit Mandelbrot, the inventor of fractal geometry, is Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University and a Fellow Emeritus at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Laboratory. Richard L. Hudson is former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal’s European edition.