Reviews for A man for all markets : from Las Vegas to Wall Street, how I beat the dealer and the market

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

There is gambling, and then there is the sure thing. Somewhere in between lurks probability, chance, and risk. For Thorp (Beat the Dealer), identifying the probability of beating the house became a lifelong challenge. Here, he gives a biographical summation (think Richard Feynman's Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!) of his quest to prove the aphorism "the house always wins" is flawed. While some rules (physics) are immutable, almost anything that is devised by humans has a weak point, be it gambling, insurance, or finance. The problem for Thorp, and everyone else, is that, once discovered, the rules can and will be altered. This may require changing strategy or finding new opportunity. For Thorp, this meant moving from card counting to hedge funds. As the author describes his efforts, it is easy to oversimplify. There is a lot of brain power at work and the application of high-level math skills. The lesson is that intelligence with diligence can overcome a disadvantage. VERDICT A mixed message-illuminating for the mathematically inclined, and cautionary for would-be gamblers and day traders.-Steven Silkunas, Fernandina Beach, FL Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Meet Edward Thorp: math professor, inventor, best-selling author, hedge-fund manager, gambler. And, if this autobiography is typical of his writing skill, a masterful storyteller. A math prodigy, Thorp was a ravenous student, learning as much about anything that interested him as he could, doing advanced math and conducting scientific experiments that were years beyond his chronological age. After earning his PhD in mathematics, he began a career as a university professor; at the same time, though, he was working on ways to create a scientific method of winning at blackjack not out of avarice but because it was a challenge (although he did win large sums of money at the blackjack table). He has also made a lot of money in the stock and securities markets. He's the kind of guy you might expect to spend his autobiography telling us how awesome he is, and, while he isn't exactly modest, he comes across as an immensely likable man who figured out what he was good at and has spent his life doing it. Readers who like to read the life stories of ambitious, creative, and successful people with fascinating stories to tell should be steered in this book's direction.--Pitt, David Copyright 2016 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Thorp (Beat the Dealer), a mathematician, college professor, and millionaire hedge-fund manager, is perhaps best known as the inventor of a card-counting technique and primitive wearable computer that helped him win at the gambling tables in Las Vegas and flummox casino owners in the 1960s. His latest book, part memoir and part how-to investment guide, mashes up several narratives that don't quite work together. The book is most engaging when Thorp uses his conversational style and penchant for evocative details to recount his life story, which begins with his childhood and precocious command of numbers in the 1940s and then his years as an impoverished college student in California. Along the way, Thorp complains about state laws that prohibited his gambling tactics, detects Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme decades before its unmasking, rails against high-frequency stock market trading, and distances himself from legal troubles in his own hedge fund operations. The book is less successful when Thorp digresses into technical explanations of quantitative investment strategies, tutorials on basic accounting principles, and investment advice. In the end, Thorp seems to run out of original ideas, though his stated objective-to make readers "think differently about gambling, investments, risk, money management, wealth-building, and life"-is largely achieved. (Jan.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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