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4.3 out of 5 stars38
4.3 out of 5 stars
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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.
0Comment22 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 October 2010
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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on 3 November 2011
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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on 26 August 2012
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. The book covers the history of hedge funds and how they have evolved. The book credits Alfred Jones with creating the first hedge fund, although if you read Wikipedia you will find out that this is a somewhat contentious claim.

The overall history is outlined in the various stories that the book follows. The structure of the book is that each chapter looks at a particular hedge fund, or famous hedge fund manager, it then recounts some of that person's life with a keen note of wins and losses and what made them famous. It is fairly biographical and should be treated as an entertaining read. The idea of a hedge fund is explained in general, ie going long and short, but the exact details of what the latest hedge funds are doing is not printed here. Nor is it necessary that the minutiae of what the current hedge funds are doing should be featured in this book.

There is a lot of information on the web about hedge funds do, including wiki, but the biographical information on some of the key players is not as accessible as it is here. This book does a good job of presenting this information in a concise manner. If you enjoy reading about economics, finance or investing from a lay perspective then you should find this entertaining.
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on 31 August 2010
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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on 19 March 2013
Possibly goes in to more depth and covers more breadth than anything by Michael Lewis or Greg Zuckerman. Very fun (addictive) reading. Excellent style of writing providing the background, state of play and follow on to each of his scenarios. Covers things right from the beginning with Alfred Winslow Jones to the modern day age. Constantly plugs hedge funds but also provides some nice statistics towards the end to show that it isn't all golden.
Essential reading for any hedge fundie
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on 20 March 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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on 27 September 2013
This book gives a thorough history of the emergence and success of hedge funds, without assuming much prior knowledge of modern finance. While the material may be, to some, a little dry, it's a well-written book that doesn't feel like a slog. It's interesting to hear about the characters themselves running large funds, and the level of research that must have gone into writing this text is really impressive.
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on 22 May 2013
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. It contains fascinating descriptions of characters and investment approaches and it answers most of a layman's questions about these exotic investment vehicles.
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on 18 June 2012
A balanced eye-opener into hedge funds. The writing style kept me turning the pages as if it was a thriller, which is quite an achievement given the dry nature of the subject! Recommended.
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