I couple of days ago I enthusiastically started a long answer to a question about learning finance with Mathematica. Based on my experience in ... learning finance with Mathematica ... it is very relevant. But, as I realized later, my answer is not about Mathematica, and it's not the answer to a specific question either.

Should I finish what I started, or replace it with a brief explanation of my thoughts about the shortcomings of using Mathematica books to learn about finance? I'm voting for the latter at the moment. It took me a while to figure out that I couldn't make proper use of Mathematica without a context, and I think this will be true for everyone, but it doesn't seem that MMa SE is the place for what I intended to write.

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    on the surface of it, I'd say "the second". however, your answer is shaping up to be quite useful for someone who wants to learn finance, so it would be a shame to waste it. Still, I can't suggest anything concrete, which is why this is a comment and not an answer – acl Oct 9 '12 at 23:14
  • Did you get notified of my response to Leonid's answer? I did the @acl at the beginning, but it didn't produce the floating indicator. I'm still trying to figure out how things work. – George Wolfe Oct 10 '12 at 3:03
  • No, but I did get notified of this comment (under your question). Don't know why. – acl Oct 10 '12 at 9:39

A disclaimer is that I have zero knowledge of finance, so what follows are general considerations based on some common sense (assuming I still possess some).

I think that you should finish what you started, because by doing so you are directly answering the question, and because you are in a rather unique position, shared by only a few members of SE, to know both finance and Mathematica in their interaction. OTOH, I have no doubts that there will be lots of people wondering how they can use Mathematica to learn finance better and / or faster, since Mathematica's interactivity, high-level nature and built-in functionality makes it a perfect learning device. I actually think that this capacity of it is under-emphasized here on SE. This could be a good opportunity to start filling that gap, since for lots of people it is the learning device that is the most beneficial direction in their use of Mathematica.

But I guess the most value lies in being able to show the bridge between the two. In other words, the path you suggest and outline for those who want to learn, should be specifically tuned to their ability to use Mathematica, and I would specifically emphasize topics and approaches to learn those topics, in the context of what Mathematica can bring to the table for understanding them better and probably faster. One way to test this is to see how your resulting answer is different from the one you would generally give on learning finance. I think, it really should be different, if Mathematica has any potential to seriously help with learning finance.

  • @acl Your suggestion is thoughtful, and very good. I'll try to do it. I'll also keep watching for other opinions. – George Wolfe Oct 10 '12 at 2:58

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