In 1968, Michael Goodkin is about to graduate from Columbia University. While his classmates interview for jobs, he daydreams of seeing the world as a man of independent means. Noticing that there are no computers on Wall Street and drawing on his experiences as a failed teenage investor and successful gambler, he has an epiphany: since no one knows the right price for anything, the only way to beat the market is to make a computer that comes up with the wrong answer faster than the professionals.
And thus begins a journey that takes this provincial Midwesterner from nearly broke to opulent Park Avenue. The Wrong Answer Faster is the story of unintended consequences: how a technique originally created to minimize market risk spiraled into a multi-trillion dollar game with unparalleled risks.
Having founded and sold a firm that changed the world, Goodkin left New York to travel and play backgammon—only to return to found another groundbreaking firm, Numerix, a software company that substituted computational physics for econometrics to better manage derivative risk.