Pandora's Risk: Uncertainty at the Core of Finance

Kent Osband

Columbia Business School Publishing,  July 2011

Author of the acclaimed work Iceberg Risk: An Adventure in Portfolio Theory, Kent Osband argues that uncertainty is central to finance. Markets don't trade mainly on changes in risk. They trade on changes in beliefs about risk, and in the process, markets unite, stretch, and occasionally defy beliefs. Recognizing this truth would make a world of difference in investing. Belittling uncertainty has created a rift between financial theory and practice and within finance theory itself, misguiding regulation and exaggerating safety.

Sparking a revolution in investment risk analysis, Osband recasts the market as a learning machine rather than a knowledge machine. The market continually errs, corrects itself, and makes new errors. Respecting that process, without idolizing it, will promote wiser investment, trading, and regulation. With uncertainty embedded at its core, Osband's rational approach points to a finance theory worthy of twenty-first-century investing.

| ISBN: 9780231151726 | Publication Date: July 2011

"This is an important book on financial risk, bringing together some little-known threads while adding significant new work. It is topical, actionable, and rigorous."
-- Aaron Brown, Chief Risk Officer at AQR Capital Management and author of The Poker Face of Wall Street

"While the rest of us are scrabbling around in the gutters, Kent Osband has set his sights on Mount Olympus in his latest book. Using math and imagination, he illuminates the key drivers of financial risk, the shortcomings of current risk management, and the potential for constructive reform. My one concern is that under the current system of compensation in the financial sector, even the gutters are lined with gold, and this will deter people from implementing his ideas. Still, I'm on Kent's side in his goal of educating people on the dangers and the possibilities of risk management. I want risk managers and regulators everywhere to read his work."
-- Paul Wilmott, founder of Wilmott and and author of Frequently Asked Questions in Quantitative Finance

"Pandora's Risk is a captivating book with important messages for researchers and decision makes in finance and statistics. Kent Osband combines fundamental economic insight with fresh, principled quantitative methodology to spur and demand new approaches of handling uncertainty in today's turbulent markets."
-- Tilmann Gneiting, University of Heidelberg

"With impressive breadth, Pandora's Risk, offers a tour through economic history and modern global finance and persuasively argues that the confusion between 'risk' and 'uncertainty' has been a vital feature in risk management failures. Kent Osband's writing is passionate but not doom-laden. His is a fast-paced, lively, and hugely engaging books, full of humor as well as valuable, practical insight. Everyone in the business of financial risk will enjoy reading this volume and will learn something useful in the process"
-- Mary Hardy, University of Waterloo