Ali’s blog

Mostly quant stuff with occasional digressions

Paul Erdman 1932-2007

Posted by alifinmath on March 8, 2008

Where I learnt my basic finance and some of my basic economics was the financial thrillers of Paul Erdman. I read his The Billion Dollar Killing (aka “The Billion Dollar Sure Thing”) back in 1973, followed a couple of years later by The Silver Bears, and then yet later, The Crash of ’79 and The Panic of ’89, and much later Zero Coupon

In “The Billion Dollar Killing,” three bankers enter into a long-term fixed-price purchase contract with a South African gold mine, knowing full well the US government is going to go off the gold standard and that gold prices will consequently soar. In “The Silver Bears,” a group of investors — including a Mafia family(!) — corner the silver market. In some of the novels there is some hapless fall guy who ends up behind bars while being utterly innocent: this reflected the fact that Erdman himself ended up doing time in a Swiss prison for something he felt he was guiltless. I still recommend these novels not merely for the financial and economic insight but also because they shed understanding on how decisions are made at the top.

I see Erdman died last year.


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