Top critical review
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Quite a Struggle (for Ackman and the reader)
on 5 September 2015
There is a lot of detail here. A lot. If you're looking for everything that there is to know on what went on between the release of 'Is MBIA Triple A?' and the 2008 crash then you will love this book.
Personally, I found that the narrative got lost because of the detail. At times the story was slow moving and I'd often think 'what happened in the last chapter?' There are some smaller details that don't make sense such as defining acronyms only after they've been used multiple times and then sometimes re-defining them again later on (honesty, do we need to know what CEO means by the time we're 2/3 of the way through the book!) I completely agree that these are small details, but the whole premise of the book is that the devil is in the details. I knew what I was in for, too; having watched Ackman's 3hr presentation on Herbal Life - where Christine features - the level of detail they go in to is astonishing, but paper format was materially less engaging than their presentation.
No doubt Ackman is an absolute genius, and that certainly comes across. You sympathise with his struggle to get people to listen to him and the sheer amount of effort that he puts in really in inspiring to any future HF managers or equity analysts. You'll finish the book with an appreciation for him.
All in all, it's a little too dry and Einhorn's book 'Fooling Some of the People...' is a more entertaining read whilst covering a similar-themed story albeit on a different company.