Update: Unfortunately the first version of this post contained (too) many spelling errors. I released it too early and somehow spellchecking does not work within the WordPress editor. Apologies.
In my opinion, any investor can learn a lot about any book about financial scandals. Maybe even more compared to most “how to invest” books.
“Billion Dollar Whale” is no exception. This book tells the story of a young Malaysian guy called Jho Low who managed to steal around 5 bn USD from the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund 1MDB.
I usually do favorable reviews of book because I don’t write about the bad ones. However this book is even exceptional among the many very good books I have written about.
There are some books that give you a new idea and/or explain something that I could never explain myself. This book created so many “Aha “moments for me that I am not sure if I have gained the same amount of new knowledge from any other book in the recent years.
Over (spring and) summer, I managed to read a couple of books that might be interesting for my readers. This time a try a new format with a shorter summary on a couple of books compared to the more detailed single reviews I did in the past. I hope this is helpful nevertheless.
- The Rise of Carry
“The Rise of Carry” is a more macro oriented book written by two former Hedge Fund “dudes”. Their thesis is that a significant part of today’s market activity is driven by “Carry Trades”, which are defined as leveraged bets with an asymetric return profile (“fat tails” on the downside). It is a very interesting approach to look at markets. The book was written well before Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital collapsed due to …leveraged bets.
What do you get if one of the richest (and maybe smartest) persons on the World decides to dedicate a few years to understand Climate Change and then writes a book about it how to solve it ? In this case you you will get a very structured, non-dogmatic book with a lot of interesting insights.
By coincidence, I downloaded this book before I got interested in Play Magnus a few months ago. However this clearly motivated me to move the book to the front of the reading list…..
Garry Kasparow has been named as one of the greatest Chess players of all time and became Chess world chmapion in 1985 at the age of 22 and held the title over 15 years. After his chess carreer, he surprisingly went into politics. As a funny side note: Kasparov was involved in founding the first online chess company in 1999. In between he coached younger chess players, for instance Magnus Carlsen in 2009.
In this book, Kasparov tries to transport strategic lessons from Chess into fields like business, politics and investment. In between he also covers his greatest matches, hardest opponents (Karpov !!) and the lessons he learned both, from victories and defeats.
Joachim Klement is a native German, London based investment professional who, among other things writes one of my favorite financial blogs named “KOI – Klement on Investing”.
Despite having a full time job and a high quality, frequent blog, he also managed to write a book. Being a German of course, he doesn’t promise to make one rich quickly but it tries to identify and provide solutions for very common mistakes that indeed almost all investor make.
Although Klement is a more Macro oriented investor, his advice is great also for stock pickers or any other investment styles. He emphasizes a lot of points that I share 100%. The mistakes that he concentrates are:
Again, time flies. Exactly 10 (!!) years ago on December 15th, 2010, I started this blog.
As every year a very special “Thank You” goes to all readers, especially those who actively contribute either by comments or mails. I need to keep on mentioning that the interaction with readers is really driving the motivation to continue the blog in this format.
In this post I will reflect mostly on writing the blog, highlights and lessons over the last 10 years plus my 10 all time favorite book reviews. There will be a 10 Year investment/performance review in the beginning of January 2021.
|10 year stat
All in all, I managed to post ~1600 posts over these 10 years which created close to 4 mn visits. The drop of visits (and comments) in 2018 & 2019 was clearly the result of posting less due to a lack of time from my side.
So why I am still doing this ?
As my long term readers know, I love books about failed companies and WeWork is clearly one of the most spectacular failures in the recent times.
The book focuses initially mostly on the founder Adam Neumann, who grew up in Israel and didn’t achieve much there before going to the US. There he started a first business trying to sell baby clothing which was not too successful. He then met his co-founder Miguel McKelvey in the elevator of the building where both were working. Co-founder Miguel was intrigued by the fact that Neumann used to walk around barefoot and talked to everyone.
“Lights out” is a recently published book that covers the downfall of General Electric, which was in 2000 the world’s most valuable company with a market cap north of 500 bn USD and a proud history going back to Thomas Edison.
To the outside, the company led by “Neutron Jack” Welch looked unstoppable. With its famous management systems (Six Sigma and others) the company became a huge conglomerate, spanning business from their traditional light bulb and appliances business to turbines, financial, insurance and even TV and Movie studios. GE was most famous for continuous growth and an uninterrupted streak of quarterly profit increases until Jeffrey Immelt took over in 2001.
This is actually the second autobiography of a founder with the surname Schwab that I review. After tire trader Les Schwab, this book is written by the founder and name giver Charles “Chuck” Schwab who founded the financial services company with the same name.