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Sloppy introduction to financial derivatives
am 8. Oktober 2006
Neftci provides an introductory text on the valuation of derivatives and discusses basic concepts without focussing on mathematical details. His casual and undemanding writing style allows for easy reading, and the reader quickly gains an overview of the field. To complete the somewhat superficial treatment, references and exercises are given at the end of each chapter. The book serves its goal as a primer and is apparently considered as a standard text by many financial practicioners (and recruiters).
However, the book was definitely not written with reasonable care. A great number of mistakes and typos can be found (even in the second edition), and you can never trust the formulas. Readers who feel confident of their mathematical skills will be okay, but since the book aims at beginners, this is a severe drawback. Also, the exercises do not always fit to the text and the solutions on the author's homepage are often faulty. With respect to the writing style, I normally embrace presentations that focus on insight rather than mathematical rigor. But still, handwaving is an art that goes beyond omitting proofs, and the text sometimes lacks clarity. On other occasions, statements are repeated again and again in almost the same words, which is not really helpful.