system and the agencies who attempt to control it.
During his dozen years as an SEC attorney, author Richard Sauer opened and supervised some of its most notable financial cases-investigations that took him to a dozen countries and returned hundreds of millions of dollars to American investors. While a partner at a major law firm and, later, a hedge fund manager, he saw firsthand the follies and failures of our system. Now, in Selling America Short, he shares his extraordinary experiences with you.
Selling America Short is a gripping chronicle of crooked companies, financial philanderers and hapless enforcers told through the eyes of personal experience. Page by page, it shows the damage wrought by the deep biases and lack of worldly experience common among those who hold the reins of our capital markets.
With the capital markets in turmoil, people are fascinated with what is happening on Wall Street. This book provides a unique look at the forces and events that led directly to financial tragedy and continue to wreak havoc.
©2010 Richard Sauer (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
For those who fancy tales of corporate fraud, dodgy accounting, international permutations of same, PR manipulators, foibles of regulators, weird judges, and such, this one goes to the top of the stack. The author, though an attorney, has a light nimble step of intelligence, great nimbleness and ease with words, ready humor, and is a great explainer of fairly complex things in plain English with relentless puckishness. I found myself smiling incessantly, and repeatedly laughing out loud. The reader was well-cast, matching his effervescently amused tone with the content. Being in legal and teaching fields, I admire this presentation and content.
This book was great if you are an investment banker or securities attorney. I guess if you are a sophisticated investor it would also be of interest. Sauer gives a good explanation of short-selling hedge funds and gives the best defense of short sellers that I have ever heard: that short sellers create a self-regulating environment for the markets.
I was always curious about what exactly happened with Overstock and the CEO's crusade against short sellers. This book went into extraordinary detail on the whole affair. It also gave me insight as to the realities of an investigation by the SEC and the internal processes and politics that occur in the SEC.
I thought this book was exciting and intellectually engaging. Usually I listen to books at 1.5-2.0 speed. This book was way too complicated to do that. That's not to say that it wasn't well-written. Sauer explains complicated ideas in a relatively simple and readable format, but it's not a light read.
There isn't really anything wrong with this book, but you can probably find a better use for your credit. Contrary to the title, short selling and market contrarians play a minor role in the book. Most of it is about the author's time as an SEC enforcement attorney, and the main problem with that is that the investigations this guy participated in are still going on, with no end in sight and no relevance to most of us. It was more appalled at the ineffectiveness of the SEC than excited at a whodunit story. Short selling and market contrarians only come in when short sellers pestered him to launch investigations into the issuers they had shorted, and when he left the SEC to work for a short selling hedge fund that eventually went under. If you're looking for something captivating like The Big Short (which I was) look further.
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