Excerpted in The New Yorker and hailed by the business press, The Predictors is destined to become a classic of its generation--an antic, subversive odyssey into a universe defined by the mystical convergence of physics and finance.
How could a couple of rumpled physicists in sandals and "Eat-the-Rich" T-shirts, piling computers into an adobe house in Santa Fe, hope to take on the masters of the universe from Morgan Stanley? Doyne Farmer and Norman Packard may never have read The Wall Street Journal, but they helped invent the new sciences of chaos and complexity. Who better to find order in the apparently random chaos of the global financial markets? Thomas Bass takes us inside their start-up company, following it from its inception as a motley collection of longhaired Ph.D.s to its passage into the centers of financial power.The Predictors is a dizzying, often hilarious tale of genius and ambition.
"What an amazing adventure! Two hippie nerds set out to find the holy grail of money--a black box that can accurately predict the stock market. They encounter bizarre traders, genius wizards, and crazy renegade investors. Besides making millions, these two geeks also gain the world's best education in global finance, as you will read in this fantastic book. This is the Liar's Poker of the new global economy."
— Kevin Kelly, Founding Editor, Wired, Author of New Rules for the New Economy
"Some of the old gang that pioneered chaos theory and built a computer in a shoe that beat the roulette wheel in Las Vegas are back at it again. This time they are building a system to beat the stock market, and Thomas Bass brilliantly chronicles their trials and tribulations until finally they are betting other people's money in response to the computer's dictates. A great read."
— Walter Wriston, retired CEO of CITICORP and CITIBANK, Author of Risk and Other Four-Letter Words
"The Predictors serves up the latest arcana from chaos and high finance within a rollicking tale of cowboy entrepreneurs. This book is a blast."
— John Horgan, Author of The End of Science
"Good narrative fun, instructive and amusing.... The best description yet of how futures, options, and more esoteric derivatives have turned world finance into a casino."
— The New York Times
"One of the best books ever written about commodities, currency, and derivatives trading."
— San Francisco Chronicle
"The Predictors is [a] marvelous story.... Its strength lies in the way Bass observes and describes both the project—an amazing story in its own right—and the brilliant and fascinating people involved in it, dancing on a tightrope suspended above the frontiers of knowledge."
"A giddy tale of rational exuberance. An entrepreneurial thriller in the tradition of Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine.... It's an armchair bungee-jump for all who dream of beating the house and walking away with a cool million dollars."
"An engaging tale, a good read filled with folksy anecdotes of computer geeks, bankers, traders, and even the occasional investment luminary.... We see that science can indeed become a servant of the investing world."
— Business Week
"Exciting and remarkable.... Bass excels at making science alive and complicated ideas accessible."
"The author has to cover a lot of ground, and he does so with manlike efficiency. Bass introduces us not only to the rudiments of chaos theory but also to the intricacies of the commodities markets upon which derivatives leech, and to a large cast of characters who help make the Prediction Co. a success."
"Useful as a primer in chaos theory as well as the various challenges that face start-up firms and the complexity of financial markets, this marvelous story should interest readers in both public and academic libraries."
— Library Journal
"His narrative [teaches] readers about chaos theory as it relates to economics, about the increasingly recondite instruments of investment in the age of derivatives and, perhaps most important, about the evolution of financial markets toward automation."
— The New York Times