The Wisdom of Finance

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Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 240
Subject: Business, Economics & Finance, Business & Management, Current Affairs, Politics & Economics, Arts, Language & Literature

The Wisdom of Finance

Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return

Mihir Desai

9781788160049 (10 Aug 2017)

About the book

Longlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2017

Finance is shrouded in mystery for outsiders, while many insiders are uneasy with the disrepute of their profession. How can finance become more accessible and also recover its nobility?

Harvard Business School professor Mihir Desai takes up the cause of restoring humanity to finance. With deft wit, he draws upon a rich knowledge of literature, film, history, and philosophy to explain finance's inner workings. Through this creative approach, he shows that outsiders can easily access the underlying ideas and insiders can reacquaint themselves with the core values of their profession.

This combination of finance and the humanities creates unusual and illuminating pairings: Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope are guides to risk management; Jeff Koons becomes an advocate of leverage; and Mel Brooks' The Producers teaches us about fiduciary responsibility. In Desai's vision, the principles of finance also provide answers to critical questions in our lives: bankruptcy teaches us how to react to failure, the lessons of mergers apply to marriages, and the Capital Asset Pricing Model demonstrates the true value of relationships.

The Wisdom of Finance is a wholly unique book, offering an enlivening new perspective on one of the world's most complex and misunderstood professions.

About the author

Mihir Desai was born in India and raised in Hong Kong and New Jersey. As a professor and award-winning teacher at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, Desai teaches finance, tax law, entrepreneurship and has recently developed an online finance course for the HBX platform. His scholarship on corporate finance, international finance and tax policy has prompted several invitations to testify before the U.S. Congress and serves as the basis of his advisory role to leading global companies and organizations.Find him on Twitter @desaimihir


A charming, provocative and readable book.

- Financial Times

Those familiar with the world of finance will have their perspective shifted, and for the rest of us, Desai provides a welcome entry.

- The Boston Globe

A fascinating new perspective on modern finance

- Oliver Hart, 2016 Nobel Laureate in Economics

Lucid, witty and delightfully erudite...From the French revolution to film noir, from the history of probability to Jane Austen and The Simpsons, this is an astonishing intellectual feast.

- Sebastian Mallaby, author of The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan

This book is startling, a stunning, erudite, fascinating look at the world as we think we know it, but it's a world where all roads lead to finance, and in particular, insurance. Highly recommended.

- Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 240
Subject: Business, Economics & Finance, Business & Management, Current Affairs, Politics & Economics, Arts, Language & Literature

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