The Fisherman and the Rhinoceros: How International Finance Shapes Everyday Life


'I cannot think of another book for the general public that so successfully unravels the mysteries of Financial Engineering and International Finance. Within the framework of three parables, myths of the modern financial economy are deftly exposed and replaced with a crisp overview of modern risk management. The rocket scientist, a rhinoceros, financial institutions, blink pearl fishermen, arbitrageurs, a Genoese Merchant are carefully woven into a rich fabric providing a guide to the origins, functions and inevitability of the 'virtual economy'. The Fisherman the Rhinoceros is a jewel - a must read.' - Lester Seigel, Fromer Head of Financial Engineering, International Bank of Reconstruction and Development
'The real function of capital markets is poorly understood by most people. The parables in this book help explain the many benefits provided by international capital markets. They illustrate how important the risk management function provided by capital markets is to everyday life, This book is a lot of fun and deeply informative about financial markets as well.' - Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Economics, Yale University, author of Macro Markets and Irrational Exuberance
In this highly readable and stimulating book, the authors address the question of whether modern international finance - with its complex financial products, instant electronic trading shifting billions of dollars daily and the philosophy of the free market economy - is in fact a boon or a burden to the 'real' economy that is populated and relied upon by the vast majority of us.
Mixing traditional storytelling techniques with contemporary insights into the financial world, Briys and de Varenne have produced a thought provoking and creative book. The current trend in today's financial writing is to criticise the activities of the world's international markets over the seemingly fickle manner in which they wield their power over huge sums of money. In The Fisherman and The Rhinoceros, the authors argue convincingly against these commonly held beliefs. Using three illustrative stories as the basis of the book (The Fisherman and The Rhinoceros, the Blind Pearl Fisher and the Geronimo, The Genoese Merchant and the Molecule)the authors suggest that in fact the existence of complex and effective financial markets are actually considerable benefit to the sustainable economy in its widest sense.

ERIC BRIYS is a managing director at Deutsche Bank where he heads the Insurance Strategies Group. He has worked previously for Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. Prior to joining the investment banking world he was a Professor of Finance at the HEC School of Management. He has published six books on finance and economics and more than thirty scientific articles.
FRANCOIS DE VARENNE is vice-president at Deutsche Bank where he covers European insurance and reinsurance companies. He has worked previously for Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. Prior to joining the investment banking world he was head of financial and economics affairs at the French Federation of Insurance Companies. An engineer, an actuary and a PhD in finance by training he has published two books and more than ten scientific articles.

The Parable of the Fisherman and the Rhinoceros

The Parable of the Blind Pearl-Fisher and Geronimo

The Parable of the Genoese Merchant and the Molecule