Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street

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9780029030110: Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street

When the recession of 1974 hit Wall Street, the investments profession desperately turned to the theories of a small and unlikely group of academics for guidance in finding a way to regain the value of their clients' holdings. Some of these scholars had begun to study stock prices merely as an expedient way to test the properties of large numbers, but inadvertently, they laid the intellectual foundation for a revolution in commerce. Peter L. Bernstein shows how Wall Street first fought, and then embraced, the advances wrought in the academic seminars and technical journals that ultimately transformed the art of investing.

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From the Back Cover:

CAPITAL IDEAS

Capital Ideas traces the origins of modern Wall Street, from the pioneering work of early scholars and the development of new theories in risk, valuation, and investment returns, to the actual implementation of these theories in the real world of investment management. Starting with the French mathema-tician Louis Bachelier—who wrote about the unpredictability of stock prices in the early 1900s—Bernstein brings to life a variety of brilliant academics who have contributed to modern investment theory over the years:

  • Harry Markowitz, who wrote about optimizing the tradeoff between risk and reward
  • William Sharpe, who shook the pillars of the investment establishment by asserting that the market cannot be beaten
  • Fischer Black, Myron Scholes, and Robert Merton, who paved the way for the creation of financial derivatives and new ways of controlling risk
  • Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller, who extolled the central role of arbitrage in determining the value of securities

Filled with in-depth insights and timeless advice, Capital Ideas reveals how the unique contributions of these talented individuals profoundly changed the practice of investment management as we know it today.

About the Author:

Peter L. Bernstein, one of the foremost financial writers of his generation, is the author of the bestselling, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk and The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession, both from Wiley, as well as five other books. He is President of Peter L. Bernstein, Inc., an investment consulting firm he founded in 1973 after many years of managing billions of dollars in individual and institutional portfolios. He is the founding Editor of the Journal of Investment Management. He has lectured widely throughout the United States and abroad, and has received the highest honors from his peers in the investment profession.

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