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More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,413 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
"Splendid...the definitive history of the hedge fund, a compelling narrative full of larger-than-life characters and dramatic tales." -- "The Washington Post"
Wealthy, powerful, and potentially dangerous, hedge fund moguls have become the It Boys of twenty-first- century capitalism. Beating the market was long thought to be impossible, but hedge funds cracked its mysterie
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ebook, 496 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jon
Dec 16, 2015 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mallaby not only presents the definitive history of hedge funds, starting with the first one (created by A.W. Jones in 1949), and continuing through the recent financial crisis, but he also makes the argument that hedge funds are the best alternative to the megabanks on Wall Street.

That's a pretty controversial claim. Certain funds (like Long-Term Capital Management) have completely imploded, and some hedge fund managers have been fined for fraud. And yet, after reading this book, I'm sympathet
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Ilya
Jul 23, 2011 Ilya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
In 1949, an American sociologist and a former diplomat and anti-Nazi operative decided to get rich. He organized a "hedged [sic] fund" that bought shares in the companies he deemed promising, and sold short shares in the companies he deemed unpromising, doing all this on borrowed money. The top marginal income tax rate at the time being 91%, he took 20% of the profits on the investments, which were taxed at the much lower capital gains rate of 25%. If all of the original $100,000 had stayed with ...more
Henry Barry
Apr 12, 2015 Henry Barry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance
More Money Than God was one of the most educational and interesting finance books I've read. Mallaby has really done his homework here, and it shows. The history of hedge funds, by the very nature of hedge funds, gives a lot of general market history as well, and I often found myself realizing that Mallaby was telling of market incidents that I'd read about in other books. In that sense, this was a very high-level overview to both hedge funds and markets. This is a very holistic text. Not only t ...more
Ryan Stambaugh
Jul 14, 2011 Ryan Stambaugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is a first-rate piece of non-fiction. Mallaby scans the history hedge funds over the past 60 or so years, with most chapters focusing in on an economic event and particular fund manager or hedge fund responding to such. (One minor quibble is Mallaby never quite says why A.W. Jones gets credit for developing the first hedge fund over, say, Benjamin Graham or John Maynard Keynes.)

Along the way you learn quite a bit, also, about the financial scene going on at the time; from the commoditie
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Owen
Apr 11, 2014 Owen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the best descriptions of how the financial system makes money that I have read. This could stem from the fact that it built on top of the earlier information I had, but, in any event, I came away from this book with a much clearer understanding of the workings of the stock market than I had before, and I actually went back and re-read some things I had read earlier and they made more sense.

The author is quite in favor of hedge funds. I'll stop short of saying he is in thrall, but
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E
Aug 30, 2010 E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping hedge fund history lesson

As hedge funds increase in size, variety and number, they also exercise growing power over central banks and national governments, as well as companies and industries. Unfettered by a fixed investment philosophy, hedge fund managers bank on the flexibility to buy assets and sell them short as dynamic markets dictate. Some hedge funds have succeeded spectacularly and some have failed, such as those holding too many mortgage securities when the U.S. housing indu
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Mac
Jan 12, 2011 Mac rated it really liked it
Sebastian Mallaby makes a fairly convincing argument in favor of hedge funds here, and it’s hard to dismiss the romance of idiosyncratic loners going off and starting their own companies that beat out Goldman Sachs. The book follows the history of hedge funds, from their beginnings with a quasi-socialist Hemingway pal to their contemporary status as the plunderers of Wall Street, and certainly a good case is made that the biggest problems with Wall Street come from the plodding, public investmen ...more
Marc
Jan 10, 2011 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More entertaining than a history of hedge funds has any right to be. The book is chockfull of colorful anecdotes, and clearly demonstrates that some hedge fund titans are genuinely interesting people. Still, interesting though they may be, they also mostly come off as bunch of macho, immature, materialistic jerks, and Mallaby sometimes seems just a bit too awed by their money-making prowess, which strikes me as a rather sad commentary on him (and them).

I think that the more interesting aspects
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Ravi J
Jun 05, 2014 Ravi J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its insane when Hedge funds can lose hundreds of million dollars per hour in some cases and still come out on the right side of the trade.
It does try really hard to show the Hedge funds in a good light (providing liquidity, making prices more efficient etc.), But it is really hard to fathom the cases of Soros and Druckenmiller when they willfully killed the Sterling and then the Thai Baht.
Loved reading the book, these guys (hedge fund managers) are hyper alpha males, and willing to go all out to
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Simon
Aug 19, 2010 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What's that song, "I wanna be a billionaire so freakin' bad, buy all the things I never had", that would go great with this book. Good historical account about the origins and evolution of hedge funds, but was also a bit of hero worship at the same time. Entertaining read, and actually did learn some interesting new things. Would actually recommend it for both the average person and finance professional.
Ben Charoenwong
Aug 31, 2015 Ben Charoenwong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story-telling is superb. This book contains the tales (though keep in mind, all these are real, with verifiable sources) of hedge fund managers, from start with A.W. Jones all the day to the modern master of the universes. This is a narrative with both in depth insight and enthralling exposition. This mix of sound economic reasoning with institutional knowledge is rare.

The author understands the role of hedge funds, moral hazard, and the institutional details of the hedge fund industry. More
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Gary
Jul 11, 2015 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At one time this book seemed interesting so I got it to listen. And when I came back from vacation, having no books to read, I started. It's a bit dry but it does cover the nature of hedge funds and their contributions (liquidity) to society as well as the dangers (damage to the markets). It was interesting enough to get through, but I can't say it kept me riveted. I did learn quite a bit about the functions of a hedge fund and how a number of smart folks can seek out inefficiencies, irregularit ...more
Kumar Ritesh
Jul 06, 2015 Kumar Ritesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The world of mystery, intrigue and super intelligence, The world of Hedge Funds. This book is a good way to learn about how these mysterious companies called Hedge fund started and how they are different from the other Asset management company's .Starting from the first company which was started way back it has covered almost all the major market movements.Interesting to read about the methods employed by them like long/short , Micro managers, momentum players, rocket scientist and Phd holders m ...more
Deniz
Mar 05, 2015 Deniz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thestreet
Fairly comprehensive history on hedge funds since their inception at the end of the 1940's until their rise to the commanding heights of the contemporary world economy. What I take away from this story of extraordinary characters is perhaps a more positive view of hedge funds, mainly due to the fact that they are treated in the eyes of regulators as freestanding structures which can be allowed to fail without causing broad ripples across the economy and getting bailed out with taxpayer money; un ...more
Tom
Feb 14, 2016 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Other than the title may suggest, More Money Than God is, in essence, a plea against hedge fund regulation. Mallaby describes various hedge funds and their effect on markets, often explaining how these hedge funds defied the ‘laws’ of finance. Indeed, it is illustrated how hedge funds managers were able to generate above-market returns by finding statistical anomalies, patterns, asymmetrical bets, and sometimes by ‘simply’ picking the right stocks to invest in.

More Money Than God combines fine
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Cheng Dang
A history lesson on the origins of hedge funds, back when hedging was still a pre-requisite for the moniker, to George Soro's giant $10 B pound short, to the implosion of the Long Term Capital Management quants, to the misunderstood role of hedge funds during the financial crisis in 2008. The author argues that hedge funds as they are present a less systemic risk than the large public bank institutions in place where moral hazard runs rampant. Not recommended for a general audience but a worthwh ...more
Gabriel Pinkus
Aug 24, 2015 Gabriel Pinkus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I most enjoyed Sebastian's writings about Renaissance Technologies... They hired physicists, engineers, computer scientists, but never an economist hahahaha

Sebastian seems a little bit in love with the idea of a hedge fund, as if they can do no wrong... I don't feel strongly one way or the other, but I felt as though Sebastian didn't give the other side much of a rational argument in the book.

Sebastian makes a GREAT analysis in the evolution of hedge funds in that they have begun to act as quasi
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Anurag
The book is indeed a crime novel treatment of its subject. The protagonist here is Mr A.W. Jones who escapes Nazism as an early Marxist and ends up in the financial industry with his ideas on financial leverage. The treatment of later market geniuses is no less dramatic. The author's privileged access to interviewees gives us a glimpse inside the minds of ultra-rich hedge fund owners and the process of unwinding when market goes awry.

Unfortunately, Mallaby does not seem to be a supporter of quan
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Harry Barnett
Jul 10, 2010 Harry Barnett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance
The subtitle is Hedge Funds and the Making of A New Elite. I picked up this book after it was recommended by Fareed Zakaria on CNN. The author, Sebastian Mallaby, wrote for the Economist for thirteen years and now is a columnist for the Washington Post.
You might have seem the term "hedge fund" in the press but not really no what they are, who invests in them, and how they invest. This book gives you a history of hedge funds starting from the first hedge fund in 1949. Some of the more significan
...more
E
Aug 30, 2010 E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping hedge fund history lesson

As hedge funds increase in size, variety and number, they also exercise growing power over central banks and national governments, as well as companies and industries. Unfettered by a fixed investment philosophy, hedge fund managers bank on the flexibility to buy assets and sell them short as dynamic markets dictate. Some hedge funds have succeeded spectacularly and some have failed, such as those holding too many mortgage securities when the U.S. housing indu
...more
Themistocles
This is an interesting book to read, but comes with a warning: only read it if you can cut through all the ethical veneer with which the author covers fund managers.

It's interesting in that it gives some detail (not much) about how fund managers and hedge(d) funds have been operating, along with several (but not detailer) case studies. That said, it's a bit more than obvious that the author really would want to be one of them guys, drooling over the way they operate and the money they make.

Fund
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Lars
Apr 26, 2013 Lars rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vilified and admired in equal measure, hedge funds are the weirdest and most shadowy creatures of modern finance. This makes them easy targets for activists and opportunistic lawmakers alike. To give you an example close to home, one of the parties in the ruling coalition of my country recently made a proposal to ban hedge funds altogether.

In More Money Than God, Financial Times editor Sebastian Mallaby goes a long way in dispelling the mystique around hedge funds. He unravels step-by-step the
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Ramsey
If you can get past the obnoxious title, this book is actually a great history of hedge funds, from their inception in the 1960s through the financial crisis of 2008. Mallaby surveys a broad range of hedge fund investment strategies and the larger-than-life personalities that devised and perfected them. His prose is neither dumbed-down nor overly academic--narrative is interspersed with analysis to great effect. The sections dealing with George Soros and Stan Druckenmiller's short of the British ...more
Franklin
Mar 04, 2013 Franklin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read for people who want to have an introductory overview of the hedge fund industry and its development during the past century. The book is organized chronologically into a few major blocks: the founding of the first hedge fund by A. W. Jones, early hedge funds in 50s and 60s, Soros and Druckenmiller, Paul Tudor Jones, (approaching 90s and 00s) LTCM, (toward 08') Jon Paulson and a brief look at the future of hedge funds. For a lot of people in the financial industry, the names listed h ...more
Isaac Rosenberg
Jul 07, 2013 Isaac Rosenberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 9/10

A fascinating, well-researched history of the hedge fund industry. The book discusses the industry's biggest successes (Robertson, Soros, etc) and biggest failures (LTCM), and the strategies that made and lost billions. It does a good job of explaining how the different hedge fund styles (macro, arbitrage, quant, long/short, distressed debt, etc) make money and how they came about. It also discusses whether hedge funds are a force for social good or evil, with some interesting, origi
...more
Jason
Oct 30, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
Fantastic, highly recommended. Basically three books in one: history of major economic/financial events over the last fifty years, an analysis of hedge funds and the financial economics, and the motivation for a policy recommendation.

Mallaby has lots of nuance, appreciates the pro and con of every argument, but basically the main arguments of his book are: (1) hedge funds can get above market returns by exploiting information or anomalies that others do not; (2) in the process they improve the a
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Amanda
Aug 05, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, finance
An excellent history of hedge funds, overview of the ways they make money, and consideration of future regulatory questions. Mallaby packs a lot of information into relatively few pages, but his prose reads like a novel and his focus on characters helps keep the many players distinct. Newcomers to finance will find it hard to get through, but with a basic understanding of the markets you'll find this to be a handy introduction to the wild world of hedge funds.
Matt
Jan 04, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it
The main point behind Mallaby's book is that hedge funds serve a social good and that they should not be regulated by the government. In his view, hedge funds are not a threat to the economy because, as past hedge fund failures have demonstrated, they can dissolve quietly without freezing up lending markets and/or requiring taxpayer bailouts. He contends that they are not too big to fail, that they deliver value to investors, and that they are more likely to blunt trends (i.e., bubbles) than oth ...more
Tobias
Jan 06, 2015 Tobias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Mallaby's archival and interview research was excellent and really added something to his story; his accounts of various crises were written with verve and actually had my heart racing (definition of suspense - I knew what was coming); and I even found myself sympathetic to his argument that hedge funds are actually superior to banks because they're too small too bail and actually do fail in considerable numbers.
Diana
Dec 28, 2015 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as part of a book club with friends.

Fascinating story of hedge fund industry. I gained appreciation that it is not all black and white. Turns out there do exist benefits of hedge funds - they for example add liquidity to the market. Whenever a hedge fund has outperformed a marked for an extended period of time it was because they were adding liquidity to an essentially illiquid market.

Highly recommend.
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A Washington Post columnist since 1999. Worked for The Economist from 1986 - 1999.
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“He commuted to his Canadian office in a Ferrari, though sometimes snowy conditions forced him to use Bentley.” 3 likes
“Years later, (Paul) Jones described the mental gymnastics that went into writing these scripts. "Every evening I would close my eyes in a quiet place in my apartment ... I would visualize the opening and walk myself through the day and imagine the different emotional states the market would go through... Then when you get there, you are ready for it. You have been there before. You are in a mental state to take advantage of emotional extremes because you have already lived through them.” 2 likes
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