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I took a course on hedge funds and wanted to learn more about them. As somebody who loves history I'm very glad I picked up this particular book, because it is essentially a history book. The language here is highly accessible to people who aren't necessarily finance professionals, and who don't care for technical lingo. Wherever Sebastian Mallaby uses technical terms, he will explain what they mean. His storytelling ability is simply fantastic and you will often see dramatic narrative in many of his descriptions of people and situations. He is one of those authors that makes you want to read all that he has ever written. I have since purchased his other great book on Alan Greenspan (The Man Who Knew).
The book begins from the first hedge fund or (hedged fund) and continues to look at various and now widespread basic strategies as they are invented and tested. It is not extremely technical, but you will generally understand how funds made their money. Although this book is by no means exhaustive, it is a great introduction to the subject and is worth your time and the price.
After going through the hard copy of the book I bought the audiobook version. Because it is not textbook-like it is very easy to listen to.
Twelve years after publication this remains an one of the better accounts of how hedge funds were conceived and the consequences - positive and negative - of their "business". The 55 pages of detailed endnotes reference interviews with key personalities. One glaring omission, however, is the failed August 1998 attack on the Hong Kong currency peg which is well-documented and of which Barton Biggs wrote, "When the hedge funds become a pack and attack a country the way they attacked Hong Kong, they are engaged in destabilising and essential immoral activity." See Joseph Yam's "Defending Hong Kong's Monetary Stability" speech at TDC Networking Luncheon, Singapore on 14 October 1998.
This is a wonderful, non-technical history of the hedge fund industry. Disclosure: I work in a large hedge fund, but in a non trading role. I purchased the book as I wanted to get a deeper insight into how these firms grew up and I am glad i have. As others have mentioned, it is a very long book but all of the information seems to be necessary. It takes you right from the first ever hedge fund up to the present. A great read for anyone who wants to work in the industry and needs a perspective on the history, or equally to someone who just has a casual interest in these firms which for the most part are quite secretive. 8.5/10.
I found this to be a very interesting read on the history of hedge funds, how they work and how they have evolved over time in times of crisis and innovation. It also gives you some background on the habits and personalities of the hedge fund magnates who made billions throughout the years. It's a fairly long book but I was never bored by it as the written style makes it very engaging. It also doesn't go into a great amount of detail on the technicalities which can be a blessing (it doesn't disrupt the narrative, this isn't an academic text after all) or a curse (if you're into the technical side), depending on how you look at it, but it is a very good insight into the industry and how hedge funds grew enough to influence global markets and even governments. Definitely recommended if you don't mind something a bit long and are into finance.
It’s fascinating how hedge funds were at the Center of all major financial events since the 1950s, either driving the crisis or escalating it - never being an insignificant force during those times. The author has been brilliant with the details and insight of each event. It was also intriguing how HFs could be a pain for large governments but were still off tough regulations.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding the various investment strategies through out-of-the-box thinking employed by HFs. It is a relevant book because I think HFs will remain a relevant force in the markers and can continually shake them in the future.