Muli Ben-Yehuda's journal

April 18, 2007

On Ambition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Muli Ben-Yehuda @ 5:33 AM

I had a passion for the content of physics, but I was also possessed
by a hungry ambition for its earthly rewards. Both passion and hunger
persisted over the years, despite the inevitable disappointments. Ten
years later, as a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford in 1976, I
experienced a minor epiphany about ambition’s degradation. At age 16
or 17, I had wanted to be another Einstein; at 21, I would have been
happy to be another Feynman; at 24, a future T. D. Lee would have
sufficed. By 1976, sharing an office with other postdoctoral
researchers at Oxford, I realized that I had reached the point where I
merely envied the postdoc in the office next door because he had been
invited to give a seminar in France. In much the same way, by a
process options theorists call time-decay, financial stock options
lose their potential as they approach their own expiration.

From My
Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance
, by Emanuel
Derman.

8 Comments »

  1. That seems like a physics version of this quote from Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson:
    “Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest mother—— in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”

    Comment by Anonymous — April 18, 2007 @ 3:35 PM | Reply

  2. cool user icon

    Comment by radiantsun — April 18, 2007 @ 6:36 PM | Reply

    • Hey, thanks!
      I’ve had it for a while now and I keep looking at it and going: Dang, that’s nerdy looking. So maybe I’ll keep it for a while longer now ๐Ÿ™‚

      Comment by phuff — April 18, 2007 @ 6:47 PM | Reply

      • You could revamp your personal style, and keep the user icon style if you want to reduce nerdiness

        Comment by radiantsun — April 18, 2007 @ 6:51 PM

      • and sorry– offered solution that wasn’t asked for, besides there isn’t anything wrong with being white and nerdy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Comment by radiantsun — April 18, 2007 @ 6:51 PM

      • No offense taken, no worries ๐Ÿ™‚

        Comment by phuff — April 19, 2007 @ 10:27 PM

      • Yeah, true enough. Especially since I work from home in my Pajamas most days now ๐Ÿ™‚ Update it to a more realistic representation of myself.

        Comment by phuff — April 18, 2007 @ 7:17 PM

  3. Not really. You might even say it’s comforting, in a sense.
    ืžื™ื”ื• ืžืื•ืฉืจ? ื”ืฉืžื— ื‘ื—ืœืงื•
    So you might say that going through such a process is a prerequisite for being truly happy (assuming you aren’t Einstein, or Feynman…)

    Comment by mulix — April 19, 2007 @ 10:38 AM | Reply


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