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More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of the New Elite [Hardcover]

Sebastian Mallaby
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jun 2010
Wealthy, powerful, and potentially dangerous, hedge-find managers have emerged as the stars of twenty-first century capitalism. Based on unprecedented access to the industry, "More Money Than God" provides the first authoritative history of hedge funds. This is the inside story of their origins in the 1960s and 1970s, their explosive battles with central banks in the 1980s and 1990s, and finally their role in the financial crisis of 2007-9. Hedge funds reward risk takers, so they tend to attract larger-than-life personalities. Jim Simons began life as a code-breaker and mathematician, co-authoring a paper on theoretical geometry that led to breakthroughs in string theory. Ken Griffin started out trading convertible bonds from his Harvard dorm room. Paul Tudor Jones happily declared that a 1929-style crash would be 'total rock-and-roll' for him. Michael Steinhardt was capable of reducing underlings to sobs. 'All I want to do is kill myself', one said. 'Can I watch?' Steinhardt responded. A saga of riches and rich egos, this is also a history of discovery. Drawing on insights from mathematics, economics and psychology to crack the mysteries of the market, hedge funds have transformed the world, spawning new markets in exotic financial instruments and rewriting the rules of capitalism. And while major banks, brokers, home lenders, insurers and money market funds failed or were bailed out during the crisis of 2007-9, the hedge-fund industry survived the test, proving that money can be successfully managed without taxpayer safety nets. Anybody pondering fixes to the financial system could usefully start here: the future of finance lies in the history of hedge funds.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (7 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747592276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747592273
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More Money than God shines a fascinating light on what is still the most obscure route to becoming a billionaire... --Roger Lowenstein, author of The End of Wall Street

Sebastian Mallaby takes us into the secretive world of hedge funds and the result is a wonderful story and an education in finance. --Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post American World

...crackling good read. --Dr. Alan S. Blinder, Professor of Economics, Princeton University, and Former Vice Chairman, Federal Reserve

A fascinating history. Mallaby combines vivid description of key personalities and episodes with thoughtful discussion ...
--John Y. Campbell, Chairman of the Department of Economics, Harvard University, and Partner, Arrowstreet Capital

Journalist Mallaby (The World's Banker) gives unusually lucid explanations of hedge funds and their balancing of long and short positions with complex derivatives, but what really entrances him is their freedom from regulation, high leverage, and outsized performance incentives. In his telling, they empower a heroic breed of fund managers whose inspired stock picking, currency trading, and futures contracting outsmart the efficient market. In engrossing accounts of epic trades like George Soros's 1993 shorting of the pound sterling and John Paulson's shorting of subprime mortgages, the author celebrates hedge titans' charisma, contrarianism, and market insights. Mallaby contends that hedge funds benefit the economy by correcting market anomalies; because they put managers' money on the line and are small enough to fail, they are more prudent and less disruptive than heavily regulated banks. Mallaby's enthusiasm for an old-school capitalism of unfettered risk taking isn't always persuasive, but he does offer a penetrating look into a shadowy corner of high finance. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--Publishers Weekly

`An enormously satisfying book: a gripping chronicle of the cutting edge of the financial markets and a fascinating perspective on what was going on in these shadowy institutions as the crash hit' --Observer

`A splendid account of the ups and downs of an industry in which few of the twenty-something hedge-fund wannabes know their history. They, and meddling politicians, should read this book before they are condemned to repeat it' --Financial Times

`A superbly researched history of hedge-fund heroes stretching back to the 1950s, it is a fascinating tale of the contrarian and cerebral misfits who created successful, flexible businesses in an otherwise conventional financial world'

Book Description

The first book of its kind: a fascinating and entertaining examination of hedge funds today

Shortlisted for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award

The New York Times bestseller --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book.... 16 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First and foremost its well written, with flowing prose and its told almost as a story rather than an academic text. So its a book you don't want to put down rather than a book you have to push yourself to pick up!

This book gives a great insight into what Hedge Funds really do and what the risks and rewards are. For this I would really recommend it. There are only two minor things I would be critical of. First, its entirely focused on the US. I know that international Hedge Funds are a recent development - but in the last 10 years, there have been some very large Hedge Funds outside the US. These are not mentioned. Secondly, the author may be suffering a little from Stockholm syndrome. I think he may have drank a little of the Hedge Fund kool-aid and this book isn't as balanced as it could be.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping hedge fund history lesson 30 Aug 2010
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
As hedge funds increase in size, variety and number, they also exercise growing power over central banks and national governments, as well as companies and industries. Unfettered by a fixed investment philosophy, hedge fund managers bank on the flexibility to buy assets and sell them short as dynamic markets dictate. Some hedge funds have succeeded spectacularly and some have failed, such as those holding too many mortgage securities when the U.S. housing industry collapsed in 2007. But over its history, the hedge fund industry's performance has been remarkably good. Here, business journalist Sebastian Mallaby forcefully argues that hedge funds contribute to economic stability by chasing the true value of mispriced assets. His richly detailed book centers on the successes and occasional missteps of famous hedge fund managers, including such luminaries as Stanley Druckenmiller, Paul Tudor Jones II, Michael Steinhardt, Julian Robertson and George Soros. getAbstract recommends this book as a vivid introduction to hedge funds for those who are unfamiliar with them, and as a valuable, often entertaining, reference for financial professionals. And if you want to know even more, read the illuminating footnotes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Scoundrels 3 Nov 2011
By demola
I paraphrase Herodotus, "Great fortunes are usually wrought from great risks." This book enchants us with the amazing adventures of members of the hedge fund aristocracy - their strategies, characters, successes and bombs. It's thrilling to read and I finished this book knowing that to be a hedge fund manager one would have to be a psychopath or a scoundrel. There's no other way to describe how these guys gamble with other people's money - and the scale of it!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting 31 Aug 2010
By H5050
Very interesting historical account of the biggest star hedgefund managers since the 1960s to now, well researched and with many personal anecdotes and inside testimonies, and good high-level explanations of different funds' trading strategies returns in the past 40 years. I would recommend this to anyone seeking a better-than-usual introduction to hedge funds and how the industry got from inception to today.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-have in a trader library 20 Mar 2011
This book is a gripping history of the hedge fund industry, describing legendary investors such as A W Jones, Michael Steinhardt, Paul Tudor Jones, George Soros, Julian Robertson (etc..) and even more recent fund managers like Ken Griffin or James Simons.

I gave five stars to the book for several reasons:
- The author does not only describe the hedge funds in good details but he also steps back and analyses the investing edge they have. That is the most interesting part and what makes the book so valuable.
- I enjoyed the description of those larger-than life personnalities with details and lively anecdotes on their way of life
- The book also provides an economical background and therefore it is a fun way to refresh one memories on important economic events of the XXth century.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you wants lots of biographical detail... 14 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...this could be for you. The history of hedge funds is told through pocket biographies of the main players. Trouble is, they're not an especially interesting bunch: being clever, ambitious, tyrannical, even philosophical, and making huge sums of money is no guarantee that the reader will actually care what happens to them. They rise, the competition catches on, catches up and overtakes them, and so on.

I wanted to learn what hedge funds are, what is special about them, details beyond the headlines that either glorify or vilify. I must come clean, however, and admit that I did not finish the book. Maybe in the last half of the book Mallaby relates all I wanted to read.

Alas, I got bored and being boring is a fatal, and unforgivable, flaw in any book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and informative 19 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book and read it in huge chunks. You know it is a good book when you are disappointed when you have finished it. Would recommend to anyone who is interested in financial history. For myself it was excellent history to support my interest in investing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent primer to the hedge fund industry 25 Feb 2014
By Lisa
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not as compelling as Too Big To Fail but a good primer for those interested in the market. Would recommend!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice one!
A very entertaining and informative book if you like to know how hedge funds work, waht they can do, and have done in the past. Would suggest to anyone interested in investing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tero Ojanperä
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have. Must Read. 5 Star
If History and Top Players can teach any lesson, this is the book where you can find it all as far trading masters are the topic.
Published 7 months ago by Martin Rucka
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and interesting read
This book gives a thorough history of the emergence and success of hedge funds, without assuming much prior knowledge of modern finance. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ben
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
It is a very long book but every word is a product of a long search or a very well-thought interview. I rarely give 5 stars to books and this book doesn't deserve it either. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Brad Durden
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book
A great book if you want to understand the history of hedge funds and the main players. A book that will always keep you captivated until the very end
Published 12 months ago by Paul Iyawa
5.0 out of 5 stars The history of hedge funds
For anyone wishing to begin understanding how hedge funds came about, what makes them tick and what they are, this is probably an all embracing intro. Read more
Published 13 months ago by christodoulos kyradjis
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written book
Possibly goes in to more depth and covers more breadth than anything by Michael Lewis or Greg Zuckerman. Very fun (addictive) reading. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Salman Jaffer
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived - good book
This at least has arrived and proved to be a very interesting book.
A good insight to the world of hedge(d) funds and their history.


Lajos Ludman
Published 19 months ago by praki_maci
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok content but poorly written
Poorly organised content and text-book-like writing style makes this a truly disappointing dry reading. Though if you look beyond this, there are merits to the content.
Published 20 months ago by Kolif
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
This book is about the people behind some of the most (in)famous hedge funds. It recounts the successes and failures of hedge funds over the past six decades. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Edward A. Thomson
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