Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein (free ebook epub/mobi)

Risk management, which assumes that future risks can be understood, measured and to some extent predicted, is the focus of this solid, thoroughgoing history. Probability theory, pioneered by 17th-century French mathematicians Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, has made possible the design of great bridges, electric power utilities and insurance policies. The statistical sampling methods invented by dour Swiss scientist Jacob Bernoulli undergird diverse activities such as the testing of new drugs, stock-picking and wine tasting. Bernstein (Capital Ideas) animates his narrative with a colorful cast of risk-analyzers, including gambling addict Girolamo Cardano, 16th-century Italian physician to the Pope; and John Maynard Keynes, whose concerns over economic uncertainty compelled him to recommend an active, interventionist role for government. Bernstein also traces the development of business forecasting, game theory, insurance and derivatives, and surveys recent advances in risk forecasting made possible through chaos theory and by the development of neural networks. 

A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller

“Ambitious and readable . . . an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism.” -The New York Times


“An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book.” -The Wall Street Journal


“A lively panoramic book . . . Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it.” -Business Week


“Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read.” -The Economist


“[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world.” -Worth


“No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement.” -Robert Heilbroner author, The Worldly Philosophers


“With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it.” -John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University


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