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David Einhorn succeeds in this book in making me feel a bit more sympathetic towards short-sellers. And I've got to admire the detailed knowledge he evidently assembled on his targets. But that detail also makes this book a bit dull at times.

Nonetheless, this is a worthwhile read, and it is rather troubling to think about how many of these "rogue" companies are getting off scott-free for each one that is finally caught out.
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on 5 October 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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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2012
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 August 2010
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.

These unwarranted attacks only seemed to make Einhorn even more determined to pursue his quest and with other'whistleblowers' that came forward with further disturbing information of malpractices, presented his irrefutable findings to the Small Business Agency and the Securities Exchange Commission, the two regulatory authorities responsible to the public for the proper running of Allied. To say their response was enthusiastic, diligent or grateful was a monster over-statement and was very reminiscent of the limp-wristed, 'cold-shoulder' reaction that Harry Markopolos (No One Would Listen) got when he blew the whistle on Madoff's Ponzi Scheme - several years before Madoff walked into a police station and voluntarily confessed. The sluggish activity in listening to Markopolo's well evidenced submissions resulted in Investors losing a further estimated $40 billion.

This book is a tribute to the single-minded determination of the 'small man' against the Goliathesque federal regulatory authorities - not that David Einhorn is lacking in stature, he and those that worked with him are excellent examples of true grit and determination. Before reading this book I was very doubtful of the ethics of short selling, but now I am much less so, which is indeed a compliment to David Einhorn's candour and fairness.

A unique book and I look forward to his next book.
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on 9 March 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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on 14 November 2012
This is an excellent book that gives a fascinating insight into some of the real workings of the American market - and a glimpse into the impossibility of cleaning up Wall Street while Washington works the way it does.

Another reviewer has said the book is basically too long. The author states in his introduction that at some point the reader will say to himself "enough already, you've made your point" but goes on to say that he is just laying the facts out as they are. With any book there is the option to read some, all or none. For anyone with an interest in politics or trading, in my view this is a 'must read': reading all of it is optional, though personally I found the details interesting enough to stay with it to the end.
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on 2 January 2012
i really enjoyed this book. the writing wasn't too financially technical (or boring) and also has a great glossary.

the book itslef centres on david einhorn - who at the value investors congress (back at the beginning of the naughties) was asked to give a speech and give the audience some advice on investing. at the event he told the audience to short a company called allied capital (a company that acts as a lending arm to small businesses) - the reason was they weren't using standard gaap accounting principals (so their books were incredibly difficult to decipher) they were making bad loans to companies, and they were hiding the losses in their books where very few could question their decisions. the book tells the 5 year plus battle which took place.

first of all they tried to damage his name; stating that he was only a short trader who was trying to earn a few bucks on their share price fluctuations, they then got his wife fired from her job, they also stole his phone records. in this time the borad of directors did everything they could publically to try and hide their losses (through enron type "raptor" companies - smaller companies created to hide the losses of the bigger company.) this is only half the story...

what's more worrying is how the american government (who ultimately insured the losses allied capital were making - which was passed to the average american tax payer...) did everything they could to hide the losses as well, they also refused to listen to einhorn when he complained through the sec channels - but they also allowed them to carry on instead of intervene! why did the government turn a blind eye? the reason was that allied capital's board of directors consistently made contributions to congress - tuly frightening that a company can create billion dollar losses and get away with it because of a few cents to would be presidents...

the ending of the book is well known; allied capital went under but what is also interesting was theat einhorn told the value investing congress a few years later to short lehman brothers before the sub prime mortgage fiasco. so the reader gets 2 tales for the price of one, learns how einhorn makes his investments (not just his shorts), the investment mistakes he makes as well and gives a worrying insight to a badly run american economy. a really good book...
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on 27 December 2014
The number of reviews I've left on Amazon could probably be counted on one hand. This is one of them.

Straight off the bat it becomes clear that Einhorn is intelligent and talented at his job. Despite being written by a hedge fund manager, 'Fooling Some...' reads well and the story unfolds at a pace neither too fast causing a sense of overwhelm, nor too slowly leading you to wonder when the hell it gets started.

It could easily pass as a fiction as the events come across as so outlandish, yet Einhorn leads you through the proceedings in a friendly and matter-of-fact way. Some passages come across as dispassionate or 'cold' and, personally, this adds to the narrative because it's how I imagine Einhorn to be if you sat down and he told you the story in person. He wouldn't be animated or outraged at management's actions, he'd just tell you what he did, Allied's reactions and then proceed to justify why he went short. This built the excitement.

The 'finance' is only 1/2 the story here, so this can be enjoyed by a die-hard finance nerd interested in forensic accounting, through to the casual stock market enthusiast who likes to watch a bit of Bloomberg every now and then. After I finished, my grandfather (in his 80s) borrowed it and raced through.

Einhorn is a perfect guide through a scandalous story; by the end of the book you'll be rooting for his corner and you'll be only too tempted to re-read it.
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on 20 May 2013
Gripping, engaging, honest, brilliant, eye-opening, great story and great teller. It is not a best seller just because of the author reputation but surely for the honest, balanced and engaging report of a multi-year saga which still ended with no real losers other than the shareholders who stood by the company and the implicit vetting of its business practices and accounting by the market regulators. A great story in all respects, not just from a value investing perspective, which is what I suppose would bring most readers to this book. It is also a bitter acknowledgement/report of how the system can be corrupt to its core and how people take things for granted over and over again.
Strongly recommended to anyone, not just those with a vested interest in finance.
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on 14 March 2011
Very good read, gives a great insight into the world of people who short stocks. Einhorn describes in detail the diversionary tactics of companies in announcing quarterly and annual results.
I will be lot less trusting and will question a lot more the assumptions with which investments are valued by investors, particularly illiquid investments with no transparent to provide a useful yardstick with which to hang your coat on.
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