This tour of the insides of a quant fund is well-structured, with an almost mathematical style. Terms are well defined. There is no fake razzle-dazzle, which I appreciate. It uses examples well, to show what the parts do (alpha, risk, transaction costs, and execution modules, and various tasks such as research and testing models), and how they have worked and failed in particular instances. It is not a book of specific "tips" or "strategies" to pursue going forward, for the manager or investor. It is introductory; obviously, there are further details and more specific tools and implementations one would need to learn to bolt together a state-of-the-art quant fund. After this, I could intelligently question a fund manager about most any aspects of the operations. The narrator's voice fits the material ideally. I will definitely listen through this one again.
I like the coverage of a few recent years month by month in the mind of a nimble-thinking fund manager, "thinking aloud." I could compare his real-time thoughts to the actual market and other events of the time, with the ability to benchmark him (alongside my own remembered thoughts and investment calls) against the way things actually turned out. His thinking is peppered with useful little phrases and concepts that doubtless will find their place in my thinking. Too many first-person books are so heavily edited after the fact that we miss the flawed, oh-so-humanly-imperfect (if well spoken) thinking process (of any person trying to guess the future) in all its glory. Mr Biggs was consistently very hedging in his thinking and remarks, and his commitments of funds, so there is no earth-shaking oracular proclamation or "killing" made here (as in the darts thrown at boards, and sheer noise-trading luck, a less tutored investor might wish to hear and be thrilled by). It is more the deliberations of a prudent man and fiduciary, concerned with intelligently balancing a portfolio of his own and other peoples' money in the face of uncertainties we can well remember. I don't feel so dumb after reading this (compared to whatever I may have held of an internal fake image of the world-beating fund manager). His was a wise voice and I regret his passing.
I am satisfied this author has had a good look at this law, as well as its surrounding players, history and influences. He makes a very accessible summary of all these things. I don't have to agree with every opinion, to acknowledge he has done interested persons a service. A person who followed the whole story systematically in the press, and did some good long thinking, might arrive at similar knowledge. But I am happy to pay Mr Skeel to do so much of the heavy lifting. Of course, the story is unfolding as I write this, not least in the substantial additional regulations under consideration.
Buy this book if you already have decent options knowledge. If you don't speak the "options language", you might have a hard time understanding the strategies.
Not that this book isn't for a beginner, it's that the audio version isn't for a beginner. A beginner will need to see all the charts he is describing in the book to really understand how to place these trades.
Now, if you're already familiar with calls, puts, OTM, ATM, ITM, strike price, and all the other vocab you have to know to trade options, then you can probably handle the audio version.
He outlines 4 main strategies in the book:
DITM calls with a delta of .9 or higher. (The "D" in DITM stands for deep)
Option credit spreads. i.e. bull put spreads/bear call spreads
Selling naked puts.
Writing covered calls.
If you have already done all these things, the book is still worth checking out. He really explains Delta well and also gives some really good clues and insight on using volatility to your advantage.
There is also a great chapter on what life is like being a market maker. Great stuff in that chapter.
So, can you get rich doing this? Of course! Can you go to the poor house in a hurry doing this? Of course! If you're a person who is writing covered calls in order to collect high premiums without really wanting the underlying stock, you need this book. You will learn how to better hedge that strategy so you don't get hammered. Trust me, I've done that.....and I got HAMMERED! Do your homework on the underlying, hedge your position, and you won't get creamed. Honestly, if your goal is to beat the market average every year, you could easily do it with the strategies outlined in this book. I've done it for years and I'm getting better returns now that I am using the advice in this book.
He doesn't candy coat anything. He makes it very clear what the worst case scenario of each trade is. Don't selectively listen, do your homework and don't lose your retirement trading options.
One final note, he does plug a few websites that are pay sites. Reviewers on other websites nailed him for this in their reviews of this book. You do not have to have his pay site to implement his strategies. He also spends a good amount of time telling you where you can get option advice for FREE on the web so I don't know why those reviewers beat up on him so much for plugging his site. He points you to more than enough free resources to be fully informed on his strategies.