PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewZuckerman says he became fixated with cracking the Simons code. And though he doesn’t entirely succeed, he divulges much more than anyone has before. More important, despite the tendency to dot his book with such daunting phrases as \'combinatorial game theory\' and \'stochastic equations,\' he tells a surprisingly captivating story. It turns out that a firm like Renaissance, filled with nerdy academics trying to solve the market’s secrets, is way more interesting than your typical greed-is-good hedge fund ... Zuckerman does a fine job of bringing not just Simons to life but most of the other \'quants\' who played key roles in creating Renaissance’s system.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewA grand, sweeping narrative of immense scope and power, the book describes a world that long ago receded from memory: the West after World War I, a time of economic fragility, of bubbles followed by busts and of a cascading series of events that led to the Great Depression ... The decision to build “Lords of Finance” around these four men is a brilliant conceit ... Because much of the book concerns decisions, for instance, to raise or lower interest rates, you need great characters to pull the story along, and Ahamed not only has them but also knows how to make them come alive ... Lords of Finance poses an unsettling question. Do we really understand the workings of that delicate machine any better than our forebears did? Or do we only think we do?
PanThe Washington PostThe New York Times Magazine’s chief national correspondent has a book-reporting strategy that consists of attending events (Tim Russert’s funeral; an NFL owners meeting), hanging around the periphery and writing what he sees, with plenty of snark and personal asides for good measure. He’s a good enough writer to keep you from wanting to throw the book against the nearest wall. But if you look closely, you’ll realize he has nothing to say ... He spent four years going to football games, interviewing owners and various NFL pooh-bahs, attending draft days and owners meetings, and writing a more than 350-page book, and he’s punting? He is, and he does ... Leibovich tackles the concussion issue by going to Hall of Fame ceremonies and talking to retired players about their physical and mental problems. Nothing wrong with that, except that the serious discussion is overwhelmed by pages of pointless narration. At the 2017 Super Bowl, Leibovich describes the parties he went to ... To be blunt, I learned nothing about the state of pro football from reading Big Game that I didn’t already know.