An Economist Walks Into a Brothel PDF ´ Economist

An Economist Walks Into a Brothel A Financial Times Book of the Month pick for April Is it worth swimming in shark infested waters to surf a 50 foot career record waveIs it riskier to make an action movie or a horror movieShould sex workers forfeit 50 percent of their income for added security or take a chance and keep the extra moneyMost people wouldn't expect an economist to have an answer to these uestions—or to other uestions of daily life such as who to date or how early to leave for the airport But those people haven't met Allison Schrager an economist and award winning journalist who has spent her career examining how people manage risk in their lives and careersWhether we realize it or not we all take risks large and small every day Even the most cautious among us cannot opt out the uestion is always which risks to take not whether to take them at all What most of us don't know is how to measure those risks and maximize the chances of getting what we want out of lifeIn An Economist Walks into a Brothel Schrager euips readers with five principles for dealing with risk principles used by some of the world's most interesting risk takers For instance she interviews a professional poker player about how to stay rational when the stakes are high a paparazzo in Manhattan about how to spot different kinds of risk horse breeders in Kentucky about how to diversify risk and minimize losses and a war general who led troops in Ira about how to prepare for what we don't see comingWhen you start to look at risky decisions through Schrager's new framework you can increase the upside to any situation and better mitigate the downside This is a book by a non academic economist that explains the core ideas of financial economics in terms of non financial activities jobs and recreations that are done by real people but which all involve extraordinary amounts of risk and uncertainty The initial story line about brothels is a nice touch that gets the author’s points across well Other vignettes in later chapters cover such different topics as turning around Cinnabon planning for your trip to the airport breeding champion racehorses investing in new blockbuster movies planning your magic show big wave surfing and fighting the Irai army in the first Gulf War In addition to this fun risk ideas are also discussed in terms of financial economics and personal retirement planningThe intuition for all of these is to link risk to the process of figuring out what one wishes to do and then thinking through the details and what needs to occur or not occur for plans to be realized This all makes good sense but it is surprising how infreuently financial economic terms are presented in contexts that seem divorced from the regular choices people have to make and follow through upon everyday and over the course of a lifetimeThe book is thoughtful and even though I was familiar with much of the material I finished the book with a sense that I had learned something and enjoyed myself in the process We need to take risks to make our lives better In the 16th century people started to think about risk as something controllable not left to fate Once risk is measured it can bought or sold No institution spends time and energy on risk planning than the military Risk a Greek seafaring term rhizikón a dangerous hazard The Middle High German word rysigo means “to dare to undertake enterprise hope for economic success” Financial economics assumes risk is a critical component of valueIt was interesting to read about how risk is dealt with among brothels movie studios the paparazzi poker champions criminals race horse breeders magicians big wave surfers and the military No risk no reward risk is the input reward is the output The most important thing to figure out is what you want As Goethe wrote The dangers of life are infinite and among them is safety The author lists the following uestions to help you determine what you want1 What is your ultimate goal If you achieve it what does that look like2 How can you achieve your goal with no risk at all or as little risk as possible3 Is that no risk option possible or desirable If not how much risk do you need to take to get what you wantSome interesting facts 53% of movies don’t earn back production costs at the box officeIdiosyncratic risk—the risk uniue to a particular asset Your Apple stock might go down DiversifySystemic risk affects the larger system entire market crashesSecretariat’s heart was 21 pounds but that doesn’t translate into speed unless it meshes with the horse’s other features Simply translating a bigger heart into another horse is like putting a Ferrari engine in a SubaruFun is like life insurance; the older you get the it costs Frank Mckinney Hubbard American CartoonistAn interesting read on a great topic I'd also recommend Against the Gods by Peter Bernstein reviewed herein uite simply this book is bad The writing is unclear the examples poorly explained definitions sparse and call backs poorly integrated It feels like the author found three or four examples they wished to use and kind of relied on them for everything When an example was used to explain a phenomenon the tie wasn't obvious Some of this could have been improved by clearer writing and some of this could have been improved by spending time to talk through the logic For instance the first section of the book is on the risk premium sex workers pay to work in managed brothels The author then explains how that compares to illegal markets for sex and drugs and how the difference in price provides information on supply demand and safety This section could have used a few examples rather than just leaning on sex workThe book then talks about options but brings in Black Scholes Merton which needlessly complications the discussion of options The types of options are simply mentioned with one sentence and two sentence explanations with few examples BSM shouldn't be introduced for a number of reasons but given that it's going to be brought up flesh it out The book also talks about general risk strategies but doesn't provide enough examples to apply to life then introduces risk homeostatis to imply that it's all useless anywayI strongly preferred Thinking in Bets Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts which was focused loaded with examples and very readable This is a good INTRODUCTORY book on risk through finance world lens Still recommend this for most layman but not to advanced finance practitioners unless they want to refresh their fundamentals This book is best read as a primer on basic risk and reward analysis in economics Most concepts like the diversification of risk the difference between systematic and idiosyncratic risk the difference between hedging and insurance will not be surprising to even those reading regular business news but the treat here is the little stories Schrager tells to illustrate these ideas Schrager shows how brothels pay their women less money almost 50% less than those women would earn on the streets but these women trade off the income for risk reduction The johns pay for the safe experience though up to 300% partially because both them and the women are affected by tax rates which cuts wages and raises prices She shows how horse raising encourages high risk high reward studs like War Front who got 250000 a mating session or almost 25 million a year even though the market leads to many failures and mass in breeding almost all thoroughbreds are descended from a single male in the early 1700s the Darley Arabian Another stud in the 1980s Northern Dancer sired most all of the next generation She explains why paparazzi like Santiago Baez tried to organize photogs in the gold rush era of the early 2000s with each taking some percentage of the high income photographs but she also explains why incentives led most of these photogs to cheat and why the alliances fell apartSo there are some interesting journalistic exposes here but don't expect anything that surprising In An Economist Walks into a Brothel Allison Schrager demonstrates through real life examples how an understanding of different types of risk and risk management strategies can help people make better decisions Each chapter opens with a profile of someone whose work involves some form of risk professional poker player prostitute celebrity photographer etc and that interview is a launching point for discussion This format works well as it makes the concepts easy to understand for someone without a background in economicsThis book came out a year ago this month but reads like it was written in a much different time The intro talks about how this is a wonderful time to be alive as there are no major short terms threats to the human race and the economy is booming Fast forward to a year later when COVID 19 changed all that It is also amusing that one of success stories featured in one of the chapter is the CEO of Carnival CruisesThe author took a risk when writing this book that life would be the same a year later This serves to illustrate one of her points when discussing risk there is always a chance that the unlikely will happen This book struck a nice balance between giving an accessible survey of risk management science and sharing insightful entertaining real world examples to demonstrate the principles of risk management at work It’s ultimately an unabashed endorsement of risk management models with a reminder to never forget that they don’t capture unknown unknowns so don’t come looking for any philosophical reflections on the possible downsides to widespread financial thinking But if you want a breezy reasonably thought provoking tour this is a good place to start I was listening to the Indicator on NPR and they were interviewing Allison Schrager who is an economist and who wrote this book An Economist Walks into a Brothel I have many interests and economics is one of them Unfortunately this book won't make it to the best seller and I won't be surprised if I'm the only reviewer The information presented in the book is basic and logical to understand Anyone who grabs this book should understand clearly the basic on economics Instead of having to buy this informational book I would like to see it in the public domain so that it will reach readers Allison Schrager with her PhD in Economics rather than taking it down the academic track trained under Nobel laureate Robert Merton and with her great journalistic skills wrote this entertaining and fascinating book on the application of the cardinal principles of Risk and Reward as it is normally used with all its math methodology in the Financial sector to see how the concept works out for a sex worker at the Bunny Ranch thoroughbred stud breeders in Kentucky Big Wave surfers Poker Players and with aging folks facing retirement risk

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