Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Book Review: (mis)behavior of markets by Benoit Mandelbrot

This was a fantastic book if you’re interested in a very simple description of Mandelbrot’s work and its relationship to how markets work. I really had no idea until reading this book that CAPM (capital asset pricing model) was so widely regarded as incorrect yet still so widely used. While this is true, Dr. Mandelbrot misleads by making one think its just totally wrong when really it does provide a simple approximate model that is correct to a first order. What he does a great job of pointing though is the subtlety of the different methods…it’s the corner cases that matter the most (the days the market makes most of its movement up or down, those are the days that create the most gains or losses by a SIGNIFICANT margin). He does a great job of explaining intuitively, with figures he calls ‘cartoons’ to describe the multi-fractal behavior of markets.

Recommended. 5/5.

The references at the end of the book provide a compendium of a significant amount of the work Mandelbrot has touched in his lifetime.

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