Here's one for the Christmas stocking.
It's a book that explains difficult and weird concepts easily -- "Inventing Money: The Story of Long-Term Capital Management and the Legends Behind It."
Published this month, "Inventing Money" attempts to be to the murky world of options pricing and financial engineering what Dava Sobel's book "Longitude" was to the history of marine navigation.
Despite its somewhat academic appearance, the book, published by John Wiley, brings a fairly light touch to its subject matter.
Author Nicholas Dunbar examines how the Black-Scholes options pricing model was part of the jigsaw of events leading to the creation, and near-demise in September 1998, of Long-Term Capital Management LP.
The book provides insight into basic statistics, the evolution of capitalism, correlation in the financial markets and an almost day-by-day account of the goings-on at the hedge fund during the dark days of July and August 1998.
It also includes interesting insights into some of the key players in the story, such as Robert Merton, who spent his formative years building hot-rod drag racers before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and tackling the mathematics of option pricing.
Or how about John Meriwether, one of the founders of Long-Term, who began his working career at age 12 as a caddy at Flossmoor Country Club, just outside Chicago.
The book may seem strictly the stuff of quant specialists, but it is compelling -- not least for the insight it gives into some of the big names of financial engineering.