Forecast by Mark Buchanan
What Physics, Meteorology, and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us About Economics

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Synopsis

Picture an early scene from The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy hurries home as a tornado gathers in what was once a clear Kansas sky. Hurriedly, she seeks shelter in the storm cellar under the house, but, finding it locked, takes cover in her bedroom. We all know how that works out for her.

Many investors these days are a bit like Dorothy, putting their faith in something as solid and trustworthy as a house (or, say, real estate). But market disruptions--storms--seem to arrive without warning, leaving us little time to react. Why are we so often blindsided by these things, left outdoors with nothing but our little dogs? More to the point: how did Kansas go from blue skies to tornadoes in such a short time?

In this deeply researched and piercingly intelligent book, physicist Mark Buchanan shows how a simple feedback loop can lead to major consequences, the kind predictable by mathematical models but hard for most people to anticipate. From his unique perspective, Buchanan argues that our basic assumptions about economic markets--that they are for the most part stable, with occasional interruptions--are simply wrong. Markets really act more like the weather: a brief heat wave can become a massive storm in a matter of a few days, or even hours.

The Physics of Finance reimagines the basics of how economics, with consequences that affect everyone.
 

About Mark Buchanan

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Mark Buchanan is a physicist and science writer. He is the author of three previous books, Ubiquity, Nexus, and The Social Atom, and has been an editor of the science journal Nature as well as New Scientist. His articles have appeared in Science, Wired, the New York Times, the Independent, and the Harvard Business Review. He currently writes monthly columns for the financial media outlet Bloomberg View, as well as for Nature Physics. He lives in Dorset, England, with his wife and two dogs.
 
Published March 26, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 272 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction

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He provides some intriguing documentation on how Nobel-winning economists like Milton Friedman and others have resorted to verbal games to defend “unrealistic assumptions.” Buchanan also features other economists who reject empirical data that doesn’t fit their theoretical models or represent “th...

Dec 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Forecast: What Physics, Meteo...

Kirkus Reviews

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Former Nature and New Scientist editor Buchanan (The Social Atom: Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught, and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You, 2007, etc.) offers his take on why economic theory breaks down when it comes to making predictions.

Mar 12 2013 | Read Full Review of Forecast: What Physics, Meteo...

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