A successful Wall Street trader turned neuroscientist reveals how risk taking and stress transform our body chemistry
Before he became a world-class scientist, John Coates ran a derivatives trading desk in New York City. He used the expression “the hour between dog and wolf” to refer to the moment of Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation traders passed through when under pressure. They became cocky and irrationally risk-seeking when on a winning streak, tentative and risk-averse when cowering from losses. In a series of groundbreaking experiments, Coates identified a feedback loop between testosterone and success—one that can cloud men’s judgment in high-pressure decision-making. Coates demonstrates how our bodies produce the fabled gut feelings we so often rely on, how stress in the workplace can impair our judgment and even damage our health, and how sports science can help us toughen our bodies against the ravages of stress. Revealing the biology behind bubbles and crashes, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf sheds new and surprising light on issues that affect us all.
About the Author
John Coates is a senior research fellow in neuroscience and finance at the University of Cambridge. He previously worked for Goldman Sachs and ran a trading desk for Deutsche Bank in New York City. He lives in Cambridge, England.
Financial Times Best Books of 2012 – Science
Foreign Policy Must Read 2012 Books from Global Thinkers
“A profoundly unconventional book… It’s also so absorbing that I wound up reading it twice… From the first page to the last, Coates challenges deep-seated assumptions.”—Bloomberg Businessweek
“If anyone is qualified to unify the seemingly disparate subjects of financial markets and neurology, it’s John Coates…The Hour Between Dog and Wolf is a powerful distillation of his work—and an important step in the ongoing struggle to free economics from rational-actor theory.”—The Daily Beast
“[I]t makes intuitive sense that biological responses inform the mood of the markets. This book puts flesh on that idea.”—The Economist
“[A] scintillating treatise on the neurobiology of the business cycle. Coates… draws an intimate portrait of life on a trading floor …The result is a provocative and entertaining take on the irrational exuberance—and anxiety—of the modern economy.”—Publishers Weekly
“A provocative challenger to rational choice views of high finance, Coates makes an exceptionally clear, readable presentation that is bound to influence arguments about the regulation of Wall Street.”—Booklist
“An in-depth look at how financial risk-taking is linked to human biology, especially to the testosterone levels of young male traders, and the implications of this phenomenon for financial markets and the wider economy.”—Kirkus