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Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street, by Peter Bernstein.    This is a brilliant, intellectual work describing the development of financial thinking and theories.  Bernstein, one of the most highly respected financial journalists, begins this book by focusing on the 1900 doctoral work of the French mathematician Louis Batchelier, whose pioneering work in probability and financial theory represented some of the earliest scientific work in finance.  The reader then follows a fascinating financial train of thought from Batchelier through the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics (founded in 1932 in Colorado Springs) to Harry Markowitz's pioneering 1952 "Portfolio Selection" paper, and then on to the significant contributions of Merton Miller and Franco Modigliani, William Sharpe, Paul Samuelson, Kenneth Arrow, Eugene Fama and others.  Isaac Newton is said to have remarked that he could see further than his predecessors because he "stood on the shoulders of giants."  Some of the most important work of the world's financial giants is discussed and explained in this comprehensive and highly readable book, and the reader will be able to "see" much further for having read this masterpiece.

ISBN: 029030129
Format: Paperback, 340pp
Pub. Date: May 1993
Publisher: The Free Press






"This is a great book [that] captures marvelously of the excitement of the search for new ideas."

Richard Brealey



"For the first time under one cover, Bernstein tells in layman's terms of the evolution of the prevailing theories of how the stock market works."

Bill Barnhart