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.