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Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short (and Now Complete) Story, Updated with New Epilogue [Paperback]

Joel Greenblatt , David Einhorn
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Jan 2011
A revealing look at Wall Street, the financial media, and financial regulators by David Einhorn, the President of Greenlight Capital Could 2008′s credit crisis have been minimized or even avoided? In 2002, David Einhorn–one of the country′s top investors–was asked at a charity investment conference to share his best investment advice. Short sell Allied Capital. At the time, Allied was a leader in the private financing industry. Einhorn claimed Allied was using questionable accounting practices to prop itself up. Sound familiar? At the time of the original version of Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short Story the outcome of his advice was unknown. Now, the story is complete and we know Einhorn was right. In 2008, Einhorn advised the same conference to short sell Lehman Brothers. And had the market been more open to his warnings, yes, the market meltdown might have been avoided, or at least minimized. Details the gripping battle between Allied Capital and Einhorn′s Greenlight Capital Illuminates how questionable company practices are maintained and, at times, even protected by Wall Street Describes the failings of investment banks, analysts, journalists, and government regulators Describes how many parts of the Allied Capital story were replayed in the debate over Lehman Brothers Fooling Some of the People All of the Time is an important call for effective government regulation, free speech, and fair play.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; Upd Rep edition (11 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470481544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470481547
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Instead of stewing in private, Einhorn wrote a book "Fooling Some of the People All of the Time" about his six–year ordeal with Allied." (Daily Mail, September 18, 2008)

“…a welcome antidote to the thousands of books written for investors that paint a sunny picture of companies”. Tuesday 10 June 2008 “Mr Einhorn’s book recounts behind–the–scenes details of the sort that are seldom made public…an instructive guide for general investors…” Financial Times Tuesday 16 June 2008 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

In 2002, David Einhorn, the President of Greenlight Capital, gave a speech at a charity investment conference to benefit a children′s cancer hospital. He was asked to share his best investment idea, so he did. He described his reasons why Greenlight had sold short the shares of Allied Capital, a leader in the private finance industry. Greenlight bet that the stock would decline because the company′s business was in trouble and its accounting was corrupt. Einhorn′s speech was so compelling that the next day, when the New York Stock Exchange opened for trading, Allied′s shares remained closed. So many investors wanted to sell or short the stock that the NYSE could not balance all the sell orders to open Allied’s trading in an orderly fashion. What followed was a firestorm of controversy. Allied responded with a Washington, D.C.–style spin–job— attacking Einhorn and disseminating half–truths and outright lies. Rather than protect investors by reviewing Einhorn′s well–documented case against Allied, the SEC—at the behest of the politically connected Allied— instead investigated Einhorn for stock manipulation. Over the ensuing six years, the SEC allowed Allied to make the problem bigger by approving more than a dozen additional stock offerings that raised over $1 billion from new investors. Undeterred by the spin–job, lies, and investigations, Greenlight continued its research after the speech and discovered Allied’s behavior was far worse than Einhorn ever suspected— and, shockingly, it continues to this day. Fooling Some of the People All of the Time is the gripping chronicle of this ongoing saga. Page by page, it delves deep inside Wall Street, showing how the $6 billion hedge fund Greenlight Capital conducts its investment research and detailing the maneuvers of an unscrupulous company. Along the way, you′ll witness feckless regulators, compromised politicians, and the barricades our capital markets have erected against exposing misconduct from important Wall Street customers. You will also discover the immense difficulties that prevent the government from sanctioning politically connected companies—making future Enrons inevitable. This revealing book shows the failings of Wall Street: its investment banks, analysts, journalists, and especially our government regulators. At its most basic level, Allied Capital is the story of Wall Street at its worst. But the story is much bigger than one little–known company. Fooling Some of the People All of the Time is an important call for effective law enforcement, free speech, and fair play. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating read 5 Oct 2009
This is without doubt one of the best books I have read for a long time. A captivating read and one of those books you dont want to put down. Not an investing book as such, because it is written in a way that describes the authors long running battle to expose highly dubious business pratices at a large financial company, but written in a way that also educates the reader at the same time (on how some companies try to manipulate the numbers, etc). Well worth reading even if you have no interest at all in investing.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PASSION FOR PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH 31 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David Einhorn is the founder and President of Greenlight Capital, "a long-short value-orientated hedge fund" which he began in 1996.

This book, his first, chronicles his 5 year battle against Allied Capital, a significant business development corporation that invests in small, mostly private businesses. In 2002 as part of normal research into potential investment opportunities, Einhorn uncovered serious flaws in Allied's accounting proceedures. He came across many examples of the valuation of certain assets held by Allied, in the accounts of the company at substantially above the quoted market prices and write-downs were only recorded when it determined that money would be permanently lost thus presenting a deliberately erroneous (some might allege fraudulent) picture to shareholders and potential investors. Guessing that when the truth was out, Allied would record losses resulting in a possible big fall in its share price, Greenlight Capital went short on Allied's stock.

When Einhorn first asked Allied to explain the incorrect overstated treatment of assets in its balance sheet, it immediately went on the offensive and Einhorn was personally vilified by senior Allied executives spearheaded by the CEO and COO. These personal attacks intensified over a number of years and included (and later admitted by Allied) an attempt to steal his phone records as well as alleged external pressure which resulted in his wife losing her job at Barrons.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much-maligned short seller has his say 4 Feb 2011
By DigiTAL
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Short sellers have been getting a lot of bad press recently.

David Einhorn runs a long-short hedge fund: this means that as well as betting on individual stocks to go up, he also bets on some stocks to go down. This benefits him as an individual investor -- as it leads to twice as many investable opportunities -- but it also benefits society as it helps prevent individual investors from losing money in overvalued or fraudulent companies.

The book starts off with the story of the early days of Einhorn's hedge fund and the details about his investment process are very interesting. The rest of the book details his very public, bitter, and above all long, fight against one company which materially misstated its accounting results: Allied Capital.

Above all, the book showcases the extensive barriers to short selling in the market. At every turn Einhorn had to battle against a management that was intent on obfuscating the truth; bending and breaking laws with the intention of privately benefiting to the cost of their duped shareholders.

Ultimately, these barriers to short selling and a general lack of transparency lead to a less efficient market as they allow some unscrupulous managers to game the market into overvaluing their companies. If something isn't done then we will keep on having high profile corporate failures such as Enron, Worldcom, and Lehman Brothers (the last of which Einhorn also shorted -- this is briefly mentioned late on).

Make sure you grab the paperback version as this book has been recently updated. Einhorn is ultimately vindicated; Allied lost most of its market value in the credit crunch and has been recently bought out at a very low price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the dedicated only 1 Feb 2012
By Ioannis Glinavos VINE VOICE
I was rather misled by the blurb on the book and thought that this revised edition will wrap Einhorn's crusade against Allied Capital with a wider message about Lehman and the financial crisis. The story of Allied indeed, as the author claims, reveals a lot about modern attitudes to corporate management and failures on many levels (supervisors, media, shareholders). The problem however is that this is a very long book and the study is too detailed. I read these kinds of books for a living and I have great interest and respect for Mr Einhorn, but I lost the will to live halfway through. I would recommend this to industry insiders, but not to the general public in search of books on the crisis. I wonder, will Mr Einhorn produce another book discussing the FSA's fine? It seems the author does attract the unwelcome attention of financial regulators internationally!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed case study of a short-seller trade 9 Mar 2011
David Einhorn is president of Greenlight Capital, a long-short value-oriented hedge fund. In this book, he relates his long battle against Allied Capital, a company that he decided to short-sell after discovering some accounting discrepancies.

The book is very interesting for several reasons:
- It provides a detailed description of the investment analysis, how Greenlight Capital dissected the Allied balance-sheet, how he hired Kroll to make further investigations etc... It is a very thorough case study for anyone interested in value investing
- It illustrates a common short-seller strategy where the first step is to perform the investment analysis (or in that example the discovery of accounting inaccuracies), the second step is to put the short on and the third step, to advertise the analysis to create a price decrease and take profit
- It sheds some light on the behavior of the SEC which chose to investigate David Einhorn for stock manipulation rather than using his well-documented thesis to enquire about Allied accounting practices and subsequently letting the company issue more than a billion worth of new shares.
- It is also a threatening account of the power of some well connected CEOs
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