I read “option futures derivatives” by my pal John C. Hull … very detailed… but as far as best, I can only compare that to Don M. Chance in CFAI and these readings are just peanuts in comparison to Hull
I know of three good heavy duty introductory books, all three will give you a very thorough background in derivatives. Hull is the bible and pretty much standard in the field. Wilmott is not a bad book which is more lively to read but has no practice problems (Hull has problems with solutions) and strong PDE bias. Joshi is a good book as well. You will not go wrong with Hull. Unfortunately, I do not know any books that are easier to read and better for an absolute beginner.
Doesn’t Hull have a beginner’s book? Seems to me that there used to be a “baby Hull”
Personally I prefer McDonald to Hull: http://www.amazon.com/Derivatives-Markets-2nd-Addison-Wesley-Finance/dp/032128030X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199118063&sr=1-1 . Might be a bit easier for a beginner, and has more of a market/practitioner slant than Hull. It’s nice to have both on your shelf.
Ditto on John C. Hull took a class with that book.
Used McDonald’s Derivative Markets to study for a professional exam and used Hull’s book for a class and will be using it for another professional exam. McDonald’s Derivative Markets is easier to understand for people with a less quantitative background. It’s the required book for derivative classes in Northwestern Kellog’s MBA program where McDonald teaches. Hull’s book goes into greater depth, but at the same time will be more quantitatively demanding, especially the topics at the end. Like others said, Hull’s the traders’ bible.
Thanks and wish you all have a happy new year!
Hull does have a beginner’s derivatives book called, “Fundamental of Options and Futures Markets.”
I have not read Hull’s other book, but I found his second book more straight forward than McDonald’s. I find my self reaching for Hull’s “fundamentals book” more than McDonalds.
Dubosky Miller is a good alternative. Gives a lot of detail and lots of practice problems… though wih a narrower focus than Hull
What’s the main differences between “Options, Futures and Derivatives” and “Fundamentals of Futures and Options Markets”? (both by Hull)
EDIT: Just read the post 2 up, found the answer
Had Options, Futures, and Derivatives for a class. Can’t compare it to antyhing else, but I thought it was a great book.
Fundamentals of Futures and Options is a more basic version of "Options, Futures, and Derivatives. McDonald’s book is also far more in depth than “Fundamentals of Futures and Options”.
Great recommendation, thank you!