Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short (and Now Complete) Story
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Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short (and Now Complete) Story

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  923 ratings  ·  70 reviews
David Einhorn is one of the investment community's fastest rising stars. He founded his hedge fund, Greenlight Capital, at the age of 27, and now has $6 billion under management. Now, Einhorn offers readers insights into the battles surrounding hedge funds and shares some of his investing techniques.
Paperback, 426 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by John Wiley & Sons (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Jacob
This is either a very in-depth case study or a tedious recounting of someone's side of the argument in a years-long battle to expose a company's wrongdoing, depending on whether or not you are interested in the topic and very familiar with how businesses and investing work. It's the story of a battle between a hedge fund manager who short sold a company's stock and publicized it and that company's reaction. The author is extremely detail oriented, which means that every time the company fails to...more
Seth Spearman
I loved this book.

This book is not just a book. It is a public service. It is very eye-opening and disheartening and heroic look at corporate greed, market manipulation, colossal regulatory and media failure, all at the same time.

If you have a naive view of the virtue of the free markets, especially as they exist in the form of publicly traded corporations, and you don't want your naivete spoiled, then don't read this book. This is a story of a real stinker of a publicly traded corporation, Alli...more
Jon
Jul 23, 2012 Jon added it
David Einhorn manages a hedge fund whose strategy partly consists of pinning incompetent or fraudulent companies and betting against them. This book centers on his fight with Allied Capital, one of the fraudulent companies.

Fraudulent data turns Einhorn on like a full-fledged disco party turned on the Bee Gees. Seriously, you can feel his excitement about the numbers bubbling over on every page, and, to be honest, much of it is skim-worthy. Because it's just data data data.

And still, this book h...more
Steve Bradshaw
This book is really two disparate parts welded together.

The first, quite enjoyable, section of the book describes Einhorn's start in the hedge fund business. If you have an interest in fund management, you'll get a lot out of how he put his first fund together and quickly rose to prominence with spectacular performance out of the gates. The book provides a detailed behind-the-scenes narrative on his early investment decisions and how each investment unfolded in the context of the overall fund. T...more
Rick
It started out so promising... The first 50 or 60 pages are really great. They lay out a classic David v Goliath tale of an investor who is challenging a large and successful company with the belief that the company is engaging in accounting fraud. The challenge, raised by the author as CEO of hedge fund Greenlight Capital is one of the classic tales in hedge fund lore where a company goes out of its way to attack and discredit an individual. Einhorn, who was betting against the company, spent t...more
James
A rather dry book, the author is right about the accounting games at Allied,
but he uses most of the book repeating particular ideas.

The book was written before the story ended.
See wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_C...

For the last word.

Allied wasn't a total fraud like Enron or global crossing,
but the people in charge goosed the accounting to make their pay and bonuses bigger.

In the end the company was sold for $5 a share in 2010,
down from the $26 when the author started battle with ma...more
Max Stone
I'm a big fan of David Einhorn, both his investing skill and his integrity. And I'm sure he is somewhere between 90% and 100% right on his fight with Allied Capital. But in general, what is the purpose of reading an extremely detailed account of a years-long scuffle between two parties which is authored by one of the parties. A book like this just cries out to be written by a third party. It might say exactly the same things, but it would be different coming from someone not in the fight.

Also i...more
A
This is the story of the author's public campaign to discredit Allied Capital, a 50 year old company that made loans to small businesses. The author, who is a hedge fund manager, shorted the stock of Allied Capital in 2002 under the thesis that there was accounting and management fraud at the company and that it's loans were carried at an inflated value. The author subsequently went public with his thesis in the hope of convincing regulators to initiate action against the company.

Einhorn's book...more
Marcelo
This is a really good book, and a perfect example of the famous Buffett's quote "There’s never just one cockroach in the kitchen". The short trade started with a call based on inadequate accounting on investments by the Allied Capital company, but evolved into an almost thriller-like investment case that included public attacks, lending frauds, corporate spying, prosecutions, among others.

In my opinion, above all the details and developments of the story, the most interesting aspect of the book...more
David Ball
The version I read of this was published in 2008, just as the financial crisis took off, and while I very much enjoyed the story, I wasn't happy with where Einhorn chose to stop writing. Being a trader, I was vaguely aware of how the Allied story ended, and if ever there was a book that needed an epilogue it was this one. But how the story unfolded was fascinating - you could almost call this an "accounting thriller". I'm shocked that it took six years for the regulators, media, and investment i...more
Scott
Although full of rather shocking revelations about the lack of Government oversight in the SEC and the SBA (Small Business Administration), the book loses it's punch for two reasons: 1 You don't deserve a medal for self-service, and 2. it's god-awfully repetetive.
David Einhorn held a short position on Allied THROUGHOUT his "crusade", and you just can't discount that fact as you consider the value of this book. It's sadly poignant, that every time a government agency turns down his MANY request...more
Brandon
I get a lot of books handed or recommended to me, most of which seem to miss what I actually enjoy in books. This one seemed one of the most egregious examples; a book about details behind short selling positions and market failure. Queue the confetti. While I had enjoyed Einhorn's takedown of GMC, this didn't seem like it would do anything for me.

I was wrong.

Halfway through, I had to stop and thank my friend for the recommendation. This is an interesting inside view of corporate (dys)function a...more
Kunal
This is overall a good book, however it does tend to get very technical and I would recommend staying away unless you are a passionate investor / want to learn how a short investor thinks. The entire book is about David Einhorn’s saga of shorting Allied Capital. The things that you find out about Allied almost makes this book seem like a movie given how many opportunities the SEC / SBA had to shut these guys down, but chose not to investigate, despite the warnings Greenlight gave them. It all st...more
Terry
I misunderstood what this book was about. The author, David Einhorn, appears in either The Big Short or Too Big to Fail and came off really well, so I thought I would read his book. I was curious about what makes his hedge fund, Greenlight Capital, so successful.

This is not that book. This is a book about Einhorn's long fight against Allied Capital, and his many attempts to convince regulators and the market that Allied and its subsidiaries were operating fraudulently. This does not interest me,...more
Matthew
Really excellent book. Not the easiest to read -- though he tries to explain the technical terms, the book is still essentially a narrative of his analysis of a complicated, publicly listed business loan issuer, one of the many denizens of America's 'shadow banking system'. Really an eye opener in terms of exposure, however brief, to the diversity of the American stock market. I picked it up mainly to understand the extent and depth of financial analysis at what is regarded as one of the world's...more
Johnsergeant
Narrated by L. J. Ganser

13 hrs and 24 mins

Publisher's Summary

A rare look inside the world of activist hedge funds from one of this country's top investors.

In 2002, David Einhorn, the president of Greenlight Capital, gave a speech at a charity investment conference and was asked to share his best investment idea. He described his reasons why Greenlight had sold short the shares of Allied Capital, a leader in the private finance industry. What followed was a firestorm of controversy.

Allied respond...more
Alkek Library
David Einhorn is a very well-regarded hedge fund manager. After finding irregularities in a company called Allied Capital's financial statements, Einhorn went short the stock. Einhorn discussed his position that Allied Capital was in trouble at public forums. Then the nightmare began. Allied Capital waged a personal war against Einhorn that involves issues of Einhorn's free speech and the perception of short selling as wrong and injurious to capitalism (it's nothing of the kind IMO).

The Securiti...more
Charles Allan
David Einhorn is a very well-regarded hedge fund manager. After finding irregularities in a company called Allied Capital's financial statements, Einhorn went short the stock. Einhorn discussed his position that Allied Capital was in trouble at public forums. Then the nightmare began. Allied Capital waged a personal war against Einhorn that involves issues of Einhorn's free speech and the perception of short selling as wrong and injurious to capitalism (it's nothing of the kind IMO).

The Securiti...more
Erwin
Book review fooling some of the people all of the time by David Einhorn.

Excellent book reminds me of when genius failed the greatest trade ever.

Interesting commentary on government in efficiency government corruption at the highest levels the way campaign finance corrupts public finance.

The story of David Einhorn doing a short sale of Allied capital primarily because of its subsidiary BLX (business loan express) it's basically the same thing as Enron but it has not blown up at the time of his wr...more
Matt
Just finished this the other night. Unless you are interested in finance and investing, it may bore you.
However, I really enjoyed it. I respect Einhorn a lot and have read the excerpts from other speeches he has given.
This book further fuels my anger towards the management of large companies, who recognize fraud or stretching numbers, or at the very least improperly accounting for valuation and revenues, as merely a hurdle to increased profits. It also made me angry that he basically gift-wrappe...more
Dayna
Einhorn tells an extremely long winded story of fraud at Allied Capital. It's pretty interesting stuff, if you're into financial fraud, but almost annoyingly biased. Still, since Einhorn was right, he gets to write the book.

I think the book could have used a stronger editor, as Einhorn insists on explaining every move in his quest to show the truth about Allied's corrupt practices and documenting every slight (from the media, the SEC, Allied, and various individuals). The same info could have b...more
Adam
Honestly 95% of this book is pretty depressing, seeing how long fraud is allowed to persist. Then the company finally collapses at the end. Amazing how so much corruption within the gov't ranks is allowed to persist. Equally sad is the comment at the end when under investigation the SBA admitted to not even wanting the money back (tax payer $) after BLX admitted to defrauding them. I guess when it is only taxpayer money and not your own money you don't have skin in the game so who really cares i...more
Harry Barnett
David Einhorn is a successful hedge fund manager who gained notoriety for shorting Allied Capital and more recently Lehman Brothers. This book chronicles his battle against Allied Capital, a business development company that made loans to small businesses. It begins with his discovery of loans being carried on Allied Capitals books at inflated prices and leads to many other more serious scams. It takes years before Einhorn is able to prevail because of the inept regulators, politicians and repor...more
Laura
While the big message in this book is good, it's delivered much like a someone who's been wronged and takes it personally by documenting every single transgression against him. This leads to a very accurate book with much documentation - transcripts, letters and news articles. Put another way: good for facts - bad for storytelling. The story would have benefited from setting a larger context of fraud. I think it would have been stronger from someone not so close to the subject. Or a stronger edi...more
Anandh Sundar
Regulated and complex industries are difficult to analyze. And finacial companies probably top that list. It is the brave analyst/reported who probes beyond the management spin and goes in depth. This book details the tale of Greenlight hedge fund which shorted Allied Capital. The author details how the SEC, US Govt SBA(which was getting defrauded), media and investors ignored the signs of fraud. The book is certainly NOT a bedtime read but for a professional investor a great read on how 'not to...more
Dareyn
Entirely about the due diligence a prominent hedge fund conducted when it shorted the stock of a financial services company. Full of interpretations of accounting standards and regulatory red tape. Sounds like just about the most boring book ever, huh? I couldn't put it down! It reads like a whodunnit and is even more fascinating because the story is true and was in the process of unfolding in the markets as the author wrote the book. A great read for anyone with an interest in finance and certa...more
Brett
This is an extremely educational and often humorous look at the ridiculous hurdles David Einhorn and his hedge fund Greenlight Capital faced, despite being 100% correct in shorting the corrupt Allied Capital.

People on CNBC called him crazy, and said he'd be proven wrong. As is often the case, those people never again appeared and were replaced by fresh idiots with new opinions.

I was fortunate to run into David at a restaurant in New York shortly after reading this book, where I shook his hand an...more
Rebecca Tian
unbelievably realistic
Jeremy Raper
I enjoyed it - but do feel it will be a little heavy on the accounting lingo for a casual reader. The first section is an illuminating look at the history of a hedge fund and Einhorns deceptively simple thought process (invaluable for budding value investors); then the breakdown of Allied Capital and its accounting shenanigans begins in earnest. Could have been 70 pages shorter with better editing.

Highly recommend to finance professionals and investors; casual readers less so.
Kaddude
Read it a couple of years ago. Really enjoyed it. The guy's a genius. Bit of a hard read in patches because he is so smart! But well worth it. Also a man of obvious integrity who used his brains and hard work for good!
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Joel Greenblatt is an American hedge fund manager and founder of Gotham Capital. He is also an academic and a writer. He is also an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is the former chairman of the board of Alliant Techsystems and founder of the New York Securities Auction Corporation.
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