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

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,327 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
A revealing look at Wall Street, the financial media, and financial regulators by David Einhorn, the President of Greenlight CapitalCould 2008's credit crisis have been minimized or even avoided? In 2002, David Einhorn-one of the country's top investors-was asked at a charity investment conference to share his best investment advice. Short sell Allied Capital. At the time, ...more
Paperback, 426 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by John Wiley & Sons (first published May 27th 2007)
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Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked 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
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
Steve Bradshaw
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: investment
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
Seth Spearman
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, politics
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
Max Stone
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: life-in-amerika
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

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
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: finance
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
David Ball
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-it
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
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carson by: Paul
Great Book! This story demonstrates primary research in an investment setting at its best.

Also, this is a great example of what happens in big government (the Small Business Administration in this story). “Let’s give career Washington-types billions of dollars and measure them on how well they are able to spend it! Let’s not hold them accountable for how well the loans ultimately perform.”

Also, for the company in questions, they should “bribe,” I mean give campaign contributions to, the politici
Ngee Poo
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
The book's essence, and the unfavourable economics of short-selling in general, can be summarised by the following quote:

"...Allied is just one position in our portfolio. But, for the company and its management, it is the whole ballgame, so they will say and do things we wouldn't consider doing in order to win."

Thomas C
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Indispensable for people wishing to experience dishonest corporate culture.
Kristjan Velbri
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
An historic account of how Einhorn shorted a stock and then went through the lengthy process of proving that the company was in bad shape. When everyone has a vested interest in looking the other way, it can be difficult to prove that a company is mismanaging its finances and lying to its customers. That is exactly what was happening and the company deserved to be shorted. The read itself is full of minute details, hence it takes some focus to chew through this interesting, but at times a little ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joseph Davin
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First few chapters were great to give context to "mark-to-market" and other account practices.

Skimmed through the rest of the book because it was so repetitive. And angry.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This just kind of makes you mad. The book is pretty technical, but the message isn't.
John Casper
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is a tale of discovering a company run by bullshit artists.
Unlike most people who would complain and move on, the author also happens to be the head of multi billion dollar hedge fund so he calls them on their BS, shorts their company and through a mixture of friends in high places and perseverance does a reasonably good job at shining a light on some of the horrific accounting and lending practices that led to the GFC.

An interesting read but unlike Barbarians at the Gate and similar
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
Marcelo Bahia
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: investing
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
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jonathan Perez
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Having learned about David Einhorn and his success I had high expectations for this book. I didn't know he was so much into shorting things. I would have liked to know in more details how he picked stocks to go long, not just the performance. I know he is a value guy but still. At the begining I found interesting the details about the sec investigation on the Allied short sale. Hackmann, Tilson and Spier have tough skins. The SEC guys know how to make you sweat even if you tell the truth lol.

Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
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,
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Trung Nguyen Dang
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. An extremely captivating story.
I found this book after watching a short video introduction by David Einhorn and I immediately was impressed by the way he made analogy and simplified his thesis.
Once I started reading, I could not put it down.
I started this book on a weekend that I am going to watch MotorGP race in Malaysia. I remember carrying the book and reading it at the racetrack while the race was going on, and only look up occasionally to see my favourite rider, Valentino
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
In short - this book is a must read, on many levels. This book is pretty much equal parts The Big Short, The Intelligent Investor and Market Wizards.

Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short (and Now Complete) Story chronicles Einhorn's long running dispute with Allied Capital and its poor accounting practices. Now as Einhorn himself admits, in the grand scheme of things, Allied is only a small company, however the response by the company, media and government to Allied's practice
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sanford Chee
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading this book compelled me to invest with David Einhorn via his listed vehicle Greenlight Capital Re (GLRE)

Book website:

Forbes review:

Some references and resources:
Joel Greenblatt Value Investor Club

Greenlight Capital

Greenlight Re (GLRE)

Yahoo Finance & Messenger Board
Charles Allan
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
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
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