©2010 Sebastian Mallaby (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
Mallaby's effort should be commended for attempting to serve as a hedge fund historian chronicling the last half century of activity in this niche of the financial world. However, the style of his writing is very encyclopedic and not very analytical. You get a trade by trade , blow by blow description of the day in the life of well known cast of characters in the hedge fund world but I was yearning for more color and "so what's" about the industry and implications on our economy and society at large. Most of what I read, I had already learned from other books or articles written on the topic to date. We finally get the author's consensus at the end of the book that hedge funds should be left alone from the regulators since their relative size and ability to absorb their own risk sequestered from the main street investor and shareholder (i.e., no need for tax payer bailouts) makes them a model for the larger too big to fail wards of the state banks of today. This is a powerful point that could have been better integrated throughout the book. Compared to the colorful Michael Lewis or the deeply analytical Niall Ferguson, this book was hardly a page turner and I had to force myself to push on to get to the "so whats". There are much better books on this topic out already and there will more to come I am sure as one of the most spectacularly disastrous periods of hubris, greed and poor judgment in our financial and economic history unfolds.
It is good to walk through the history of hedge fund. Through history, we can understand the big picture. It helps us have a birds eye view of our financial system.
The history and tactics of the major hedge fund innovators and managers is presented in a clearly written book. Is the hedge fund an invention of Wall Street "bad boys", or a legitimate investment strategy which is useful? The economic meltdown is not a direct result of these funds according to the author.
I try to read in areas which are unfamiliar. It was in this context that I picked up Sebastian Mallaby’s “More Money than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of the New Elite.” Don’t be put off by the topic, this book is valuable for any individual who simply wants to know about too big to fail, the advent and meaning of hedge funds, and the current economic situation. You do not have to have a degree in Finance or investing to benefit from this book. Essentially, Mallaby relates the history of hedge funds, how they functioned during the recent economic collapse, and how they might best be used to advantage. When banks were failing, not one hedge fund used public funding as a bailout. Mallaby tells you why and how that has become fact. Anyone with even a marginal interest in the topic or a lingering interest in public policy will more than benefit. After all, everyone in the US has a stake in this game. The reading of Alan Nebelthau is excellent.
Very well written and well narrated hedge fund history. Go to amazon.com for in-depth reviews on the print edition. It is well worth it!
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