Like a Cecil B. DeMille movie or an FASB accounting rule, this one is ten years in the making. Yes, the first edition came out in 1998 and I have now been coaxed and cajoled into updating this book.

Here's what we said about the first edition:

"There is no shortage of highly technical books on derivatives. Contrary to popular belief, however, there is a great deal that one can learn about derivatives without much math knowledge. This must be true because the vast majority of people who work in derivatives are not mathematicians. This book caters to beginners and those who would like to learn about derivatives without relying on math. It is a collection of 70 short, non-technical essays on a variety of topics (see below) in derivatives. The average length of an essay is 1,300 words. There is a minimum of mathematics and virtually no graphs. Everything is in plain and simple English."

Here's the dust jacket description of the second edition
written by my editor, Bill Falloon:

"Derivatives can be a painfully difficult subject to master, usually
requiring a steep learning curve. As Don Chance points out, “many legal pads are
used up, sometimes frustratingly, in working through some of the principles
covered in technical derivatives books.” This book is different. In the updated
*Second Edition* of Chance’s well-received *Essays in Derivatives*,
the author once again keeps derivatives
simple enough for the beginner, but offers enough in-depth information to
satisfy the more experienced investor.

This book provides up-to-date and detailed coverage of
various financial products related to derivatives in seven key areas:
derivatives and their markets, the basic instruments, derivative pricing,
derivative strategies, exotic instruments, and fixed income securities and
derivatives. Chance begins with the basics, defining what a derivative is,
outlining four common types—forward contracts, futures contracts, options, and
swaps—and explaining the kinds of situations in which one type might be used and
preferred over another. From there he gradually moves on to more complex
topics—all presented in the same accessible, down-to-earth style and non
technical language.

Since the first edition of this book was published in 1998,
the derivatives business has become vastly more sophisticated. Recognizing this,
the author has eliminated material that has become outdated and, in addition to
revising almost every chapter in the book, has added many completely new
chapters, covering subjects that include why derivatives are used, forward and
futures pricing, operational risk, volatility derivatives, weather derivatives,
good and bad practices, and other new topics. In addition, the end of each
chapter includes practice questions that allow you to test how much of the
material has been retained. Answers are provided at the end of the book.

The material in *Essays in Derivatives* will appeal to
individuals at all levels of expertise. Beginners will find these essays
particularly useful in gaining a fundamental grasp of the subject, and experts
will appreciate the simple manner in which such seemingly complicated subjects
can be presented. Both will agree: a basic understanding of derivatives need not
be hard . . . and can even be enjoyable."

The new and improved
**Second Edition** really tops the first. As proof I submit the following facts:

- The second edition contains 73 essays, a net gain of three. Some essays from the first edition have been removed and a few new ones have been added. All of the essays have been re-edited and some significantly re-written.
- Each essay now contains several questions at the end with answers in the back of the book.
- The second edition is in hardback. That way, the book is not likely to tear up when you and some other eager reader get into a tug of war over who gets to read it first.
- The second edition is 414 pages in contrast to the 323 of the first. The font is smaller but that just goes to show that we didn't play font games to make you only think you'd be getting a lot more book.
- The back cover contains five pithy quotes and endorsements from outstanding educators and practitioners in finance, clear evidence that at least five smart people like this book. (Surely a free copy wasn't enough to buy them off.)
- And most importantly, at least in some places I have
seen,
*it costs less than the first edition*that came out 10 years ago*.*Kudos to the publisher, John Wiley, for creating a real bargain.

The usual stats:

Copyright: New York, John Wiley (2008) (Ok, apologies
to all of you good folks in Hoboken, New Jersey, where the book is officially
considered to be published. I just thought calling it "New York" made it
sound a little closer to Wall Street. You still have Sinatra's
birthplace.)

414 pages

ISBN: 978-0-470-08625-4

For all of you serious bibliophiles:

Library of Congress #: HG6024.A3C475

And you oldtimers:

Dewey Decimal #: 332.64'57-dc22

Retail price: $55 list, but in the $30s if you shop around. Here are the
links for
Amazon,
Barnes and Noble, and the publisher's
site.

While you're looking around here, check out my other book
*
An Introduction to Derivatives and Risk Management, 7 ^{th} edition.*

Sample Essays:

Essay 3: Why Derivatives?

Essay 16: American versus European Options?

Essay 31: Risk-Neutral Pricing of Derivatives: I

Essay 65: Stock Options

And if you don't enjoy the book, it might at least save be cheaper than a prescription sleep aid.

Last updated: May 12, 2008