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Sketches in Quantitative Finance

A Translation of Louis Bachelier’s Le Jeu, la Chance et le Hasard

by Edward Harding

Sketches in Quantitative Finance: A Translation of Bachelier’s Le Jeu, la Chance et le Hasard. Translated by Edward Harding. Translations 1. Leeds: Kısmet Press, 2017.

Title: Sketches in Quantitative Finance: A Translation of Bachelier’s Le Jeu, la Chance et le Hasard
Translator: Edward Harding
Series: Translations
Series number: 1
Place of publication: Leeds
Publisher: Kısmet Press
Date of publication: 2017
ISBN 978-0-9956717-8-2 (hbk)
ISBN 978-0-9956717-9-9 (ebk)
xx + 190 pages
21.6 x 14 cm

Copyright information

Copyright © 2016 Edward Harding.

Published by Kismet Press LLP under an exclusive license to publish. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited. The book is freely available online at under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

About the book

Forgotten amidst the dusty archives of French technical literature lies a delightful little gem written by Louis Bachelier in 1914 entitled Le Jeu, la chance et le hasard, or ‘The Game, Luck and Randomness’. Popular in pre-World War I France, Le Jeu, la chance et le hasard offered the general reader of the time original insights into quantifiable patterns found in both casino games and financial markets; it was perhaps one of the first “how to get rich quick” books. But its popularity did not survive the early 20th century upheavals in Europe and it was never translated and published into English.

The book in hand, Sketches in Quantitative Finance, is the only known English translation of Le Jeu, la chance et le hasard. It attempts to be a technically precise, word for word, translation of Bachelier’s work, preserving his original tone and his refreshingly readable (albeit quirky) style of writing. While this translation’s entertainment value is enhanced by the frequent nuggets of knowledge of Bachelier’s mathematical perspectives, perhaps the greater pleasure to the English reader will be to experience a freshly exposed artifact of scientific philosophy.

About the translator

Edward Harding received degrees in geography, business, and information technology from Middlebury College, Dartmouth College and the University of Massachusetts respectively. He was a Professor of Finance at Plymouth State University in the US for over thirty years, teaching, writing and self-publishing several concise course textbooks in the field of quantitative finance. In this capacity he stumbled upon the work of Louis Bachelier and was captivated by the content: the math, the finance, the philosophy, and especially the slippery nature of randomness. He currently lives a quiet life with his wife in the woods of New Hampshire, USA.

Table of contents

1. Randomness
2. Probability
3. Appreciation of Probabilities
4. Mathematical Expectation
5. Moral Expectation
6. The General Idea of Expectation
7. Luck
8. Mean Values
9. Origins of the Calculation of Probabilities
10. Martingales and Lotteries
11. Classification of Probabilities
12. Law of Large Numbers
13. Law of Bernoulli
14. The Gambler’s Ruin
15. The Illusions of Gamblers
16. New Theories of Probabilities
17. Randomness and Experiments
18. Speculation
19. Transactions of Speculation
20. Probabilities of Future Events
21. Errors of Observation
22. Principle of the Mean
23. Curves of Frequency
24. The Shot at the Target

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