The Man Who Solved the Market by Greg Zuckerman [9/10]

I wrote a murder mystery, set in the year 2000, based around the concept of an investment fund in which decisions were taken by computer algorithms devised by quants (I didn’t call my quants that, the term has really hit our dictionaries over the last decade). I wish I had been able to read something like “The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution” back then. I knew nothing of Jim Simons, the man behind the Renaissance Fund, which, according to journalist-author Greg Zuckerman, has beaten, over the long term, all the more commonly lauded investment geniuses. Simons left careers as brilliant mathematician and cryptographer behind in order to apply mathematical principles to buying and selling stocks and other tradable securities, and eventually turned himself and others into billionaires. Zuckerman’s biography of Simons and, by extension, Renaissance, is a tour de force, both easy to read and knowledge-imparting, and structured into a half-century-plus narrative that rockets at a blistering pace. Zuckerman somehow managed to pierce the notoriously effective privacy veil of Simons and to interview dozens of amazing characters. Business histories rarely compel or indeed tell much, but “The Man Who Solved the Market” is a superb exception. Buy it.

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