Against The Gods : The Remarkable Story Of Risk

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the more distant past. Against the Gods, a narrative that reads like a novel, chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from the oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today. This is a richly-woven tale of Greek philosophers and Arab mathematicians, of merchants and scientists, gamblers and philosophers, world-renowned intellects and obscure but inspired amateurs who helped discover the modern methods of putting the future at the service of the present, replacing helplessness before the fates with choice and decision. When investors buy stocks, surgeons perform operations, engineers design bridges, entrepreneurs launch new businesses, astronauts explore the heavens, and politicians run for office, risk is their inescapable partner. Yet their actions reveal that risk today need not be feared: managing risk has become synonymous with challenge and opportunity.

Book contents:

  1. Introduction

  2. The Winds of the Greeks and the Role of the Dice

  3. As Easy as I, II, III

  4. The Renaissance Gambler

  5. The French Connection

  6. The Remarkable Notions of the Remarkable Notions Man

  7. Considering the Nature of Man

  8. The Search for Moral Certainty

  9. The Supreme Law of Unreason

  10. The Man with the Sprained Brain

  11. Peapods and Perils

  12. The Fabric of Felicity

  13. The Measure of Our Ignorance

  14. The Radically Distinct Notion

  15. The Man Who Counted Everything Except Calories

  16. The Strange Case of the Anonymous Stockbroker

  17. The Failure of Invariance

  18. The Theory Police

  19. The Fantastic System of Side Bets

  20. Awaiting the Wildness