HedgeHogging
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HedgeHogging

4.8 20
by Barton Biggs
     
 

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Rare is the opportunity to chat with a legendary financial figure and hear the unvarnished truth about what really goes on behind the scenes. Hedgehogging represents just such an opportunity, allowing you to step inside the world of Wall Street with Barton Biggs as he discusses investing in general, hedge funds in particular, and how he has learned to find

Overview

Rare is the opportunity to chat with a legendary financial figure and hear the unvarnished truth about what really goes on behind the scenes. Hedgehogging represents just such an opportunity, allowing you to step inside the world of Wall Street with Barton Biggs as he discusses investing in general, hedge funds in particular, and how he has learned to find and profit from the best moneymaking opportunities in an eat-what-you-kill, cutthroat investment world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…a real glimpse of the investing world…by telling individuals' stories, Biggs...reveals far more about the ups and downs of hedge fund investing than the usual numbers-heavy dissertations…reveals just what a whacky world many hedgers occupy” (Daily Telegraph, 29 December 2005)

About 10 years ago, I was sitting at lunch with Morgan Stanley's respected U.S. equity strategist Byron Wien and a number of other analysts. The bulls were running, and the media would routinely fixate on one or another rising young Wall Street strategist only to watch him burn out on a bad call or a bad year. Wall Street is notoriously a young man's game, yet year in and year out Wien and Morgan Stanley's global strategist Barton Biggs, both veterans in their 60s, werevoted the tops in their field.
An analyst asked: "Byron, why do you suppose you and Barton seem to always be running ahead of your competitors, even though they're 20 years or more your junior?"
Wien, usually not at a loss for words, paused for a few seconds. "I think it's because we love our jobs, and they hate theirs."
In 2003, Barton Biggs went on to demonstrate the point. Long past the point of needing the money, the glory or the fame, Biggs and a couple of partners left Morgan Stanley and launched a global macro hedge fund, Traxis Partners.
Being a venerated Wall Street figure did not spare Biggs the indignities of hedge-fund start-ups before him. He put on the dog and pony shows, trying to drum up capital. He suffered false promises and rejection. Hedge-fund managers' performance is typically a closely-guarded secret — the Securities and Exchange Commission does not allow marketing or bragging — but I can report from inside the business that Traxis has enjoyed very favorable returns in its young life. Biggs can most certainly walk the walk.
Hedgehogging, his account of his hedge fund and Wall Street years, is evidence that Biggs is still at his best when he is talking the talk.
Throughout his 40-plus-year career, Biggs (whom I never had the pleasure of meeting during my four years at Morgan Stanley as a research analyst) has been an innovator on both the "buy" and "sell" side of the Street. Back in the 1970s, he managed one of the early hedge funds; he later founded Morgan Stanley's equity-research department and then served as its global strategist, and was for a time a member of the Barron's Roundtable.
Hedgehogging offers us telling glimpses of the characters that populate the hedge-fund world, and the unremitting daily pressure of running a marked-to-market hedge fund.
We read about "Richard," a successful manager who had a bad habit of touting his stocks to other managers while selling as they bought, and "Grinning Gilbert" a red-hot hedge-fund manager in the go-go 1990s, whose wife "reinvested" his earnings in a share in Netjets, an expensive Greenwich home with a 5,000-bottle wine cellar, the requisite Scottish nanny and the usual charities. When Gilbert's fund flamed out, he became paralyzed with depression, closed the curtains and refused to leave his bed. Wife Sharon was left to tell his team of 12 that they no longer had jobs, and to liquidate the firm.
Maybe I've been thinking about James Frey too much, but I should add that after reading more than a half dozen of these anonymous manager profiles, I did want to scream: "Who are these friggin' people?" As it happens, it has become something of a hedge-fund parlor game to try to figure out who is whom. Personally, I suspect one character, the likeable Greg, is based on Omega Capital's Leon Cooperman. Other hedge-fund luminaries, such as Mark Kingdon, Stanley Druckenmiller, Art Samberg, Richard Chilton and George Soros, also appear to make cameos, although the "fudge factor" in Biggs' composite sketches may be huge. Most writers realize they can improve sales by naming names, but Biggs is a businessman first, and making enemies does nothing to help his business.
Biggs is at his best when he describes the misery of a manager who suffers through bad performance. Like the game of poker, managing a hedge fund requires a high level of skill, but during any given time period, a high degree of randomness can creep into one's performance.
I know, I know: Pity the plight of the poor hedge-fund manager with his ridiculous performance fees. Over the past 25 years, I have been a reporter, a research analyst and a hedge-fund manager. While all professions have their share of pressure and pain, there is simply nothing professionally that compares with the vise-like grip that takes hold of a manager's stomach when things are going badly. No one has done a better job of describing this visceral pain than Biggs:
"Winston Churchill, whose career had its up and downs and also was plagued with bouts of depression, spoke of the huge, foul-smelling black dog with breath like the sewer, which appeared uninvited and sat heavily on his chest pinning him down," Biggs writes. "There is an investment black dog, and when you are doing badly, it comes and sits on your chest in the middle of the night, and on Saturday mornings, and on sunny spring afternoons in the office. It's almost impossible to banish the black dog when he gets on you."
Thus Biggs describes, with good-natured candor, his bad bet shorting oil — including his sense that his friends were looking at him strangely at the country club. He even heard criticism from his own daughter.
Biggs takes us to places far beyond the realm of the modern-day hedge fund, as he regales us with short snippets of Margaret Thatcher, the Internet bubble, coin collecting and the folly of investing in art. Some of his diversions, such as the fable of the man who could read tomorrow's Wall Street Journal, seem a little forced. Others, such as his chapter on the life of Lord John Maynard Keynes, hit the mark.
My grandmother was not a stock-market maven, but she did have a favorite expression: "Live forever, learn forever." While we all would like to follow the first part, only a lucky few will wind up like Biggs, with an open and fertile mind through our 70s. Therein must lie the secret of his passion and success — even with the occasional foul-smelling black dog, and oil bets gone awry.
—Reviewed By Neil Barsky (Barron's, February 4-10, 2006)

"...an intelligent book on a serious subject that is also a joy to read." (Professional Investor, April 2006)

"...evokes the 'agony and ecstasy' of the frenetic and highly competitive world of hedge funds...funny and sobering" ( The Mail on Sunday, May 2006)

"...a reassuring tale for ordinary mortals..." (Financial World, May 2006)

"...legendary..." (Futures Magazine Group, July 2006)

"…is punchy, entertaining and insightful." (Money Week, December 2006)

"…a real page turner… an extremely well written, funny and fascinating book…" ( The Technical Analyst, January 2007)

"highly amusing."—Financial Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471771913
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
01/03/2006
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.15(h) x 1.15(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Highly Amusing" (Financial Times, Saturday 25th August 2007)

Meet the Author

BARTON BIGGS spent thirty years at Morgan Stanley. During that time, he formed Morgan Stanley's research department and lead it to prominence as one of the best in the world. He also formed the firm's investment management division, and served as its chairman for thirty years. By the mid-1990s, Morgan Stanley Asset Management was annually adding more new institutional accounts than any of its competitors. At various times during this period, Biggs was ranked as the number one U.S. investment strategist by the Institutional Investor magazine poll and then, from 1996 to 2003, as the top ranked global strategist. He was also a member of the five-man executive committee that ran Morgan Stanley until its merger with Dean Witter in 1996. In June 2003, Biggs left Morgan Stanley and with two other colleagues formed Traxis Partners—the largest new hedge fund of 2003. Traxis now has well over a billion dollars under its management. Biggs has spoken at forums in every major country and has appeared on CNBC and other programs on more than 300 occasions.

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Hedgehogging 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a nice day at Station Square. Our beloved hero, Sonic the Hedgehog was busy zipping in and out of shops. "What should I get for Sally's birthday?" He thought outloud. As he was running around he noticed a pink hedgehog walking down the street. He was thankful that she didn't notice him yet. He quickly turned a corner and sighed with relief. Sonic then continued his serch for a brithday present for his current girlfriend, Sally Acorn.[A few hours later] Amy hummed quietly to herself as she made her way to the park. Amy always went there every day or so to just relax and read. She entered the park and sat down on a bench and opened her book. After about 10 minutes of reading Amy heard voices behind her. The first one was Sally's. Anger made her fingers tighten their grip on the book. Sally used to be a friend of her's. Sally knew that she loved Sonic with all of her heart but Sally asked him out anyway and Sonic said yes. "No, you're the best!" Amy heard Salky cooned loudly. Amy felt a single tear slide down her cheek as she waited for her lover to answer but to her surprise it wasn't Sonic who answer. Amy got up from her seat and peeked behind a tree. She saw Sally with a red hedgehog, wearing jeans and a red shirt with a black stripe going across it. The red hedgehog had given Sally a necklace that was very expensive. "Only the best for my girl." The red hedgehog said with a smile. Amy gasped. Sally was cheating on Sonic! Amy stepped out from my hiding place. "Hey!" Amy shouted. Sally and the red hedgehog turned to her. "Uhh...babe, who's that?" The red hedgehog asked. Sally's face was pale white. Amy pulled out her hammer. "Your worst nightmare!" Amy shouted as she began to swing her hammer at both of them. Sonic, who had just finished buying Sally a gift heard the noise and ran to see what was going on. When he first got to the scene he saw Amy swinging her gaint Piko Piko Hammer at Sally and...a red hedgehog? Sonic didn't know what was going on but he dropped the wrapped gift on the ground and raced towards Amy. He snatched the hammer away from Amy. Amy turned to him. A look of bewilderness clearly on her face. "Sonic!" Amy cried. "Amy, what the h e double hockey sticks are you doing?!" Sonic yelled. Sonic knew Amy didn't approve of his and Sally's relationship which was probably why Amy was trying to hit Sally. "Sonic, Sally was..." "Amy, Sally is my girlfriend and that's that! When are you going to get it through your head that I don't like you and never will!" Sonic shouted. Amy's eyes widened in surprise. Then she turned and ran. Sonic turned back to Sally and the red hedgehog. They looked like they were arguing. Sonic picked up the gift and walked towards them. "Hey Sal! Who's your friend?" Sonic asked. Sally gave Sonic an uneasy smile. "Sonic, this is Mark. My..." "Her ex-boyfriend! " The red hedgehog yelled before he turned and walked away. Sonic noticed that Sally had a necklace around her neck. One he never bought. Sonic pulled the pieces together. "Sally, have you been cheating on me?" Sonic asked. "Well, yea. But only for a week! I was just about to break up with him but..." Sonic threw her gift on the ground. "I can't believe you would do this to me!" Sonic shouted. "WE'RE THROUGH!" Sonic yelled before he turned and speeded off. As Sonic was running he realized that that was what Amy was trying to tell him. "Oh Amy. What have I done?" He thought. "I need to find her." He thought as he raced towards her house.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There's another shadow but call me Shadow #1 and him #2. You know how REAL Shadow looks like and who he is right? Ok.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Age: 18/ species: hedgehog/ appearance: looks almost exactly like silver in female form and slightly smaller. The marks on her hands are smaller as well./ powers: phsyokinesis, telekinesis, teleportation, flying/ personnality: tomboyish, has a big crush on silver, inexplicably hates blaize(probably because she thinks blaize and silver like each other) enjoys bugging silver because she likes him. She has a nasty temper. Generally gets along with everyone other than stated above, she can and often will use dropped weapons (such as in the game 'shadow the hedgehog') against enemies if she can get them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a humman girl named harley. Boom. Burn!!! Need some ice with that? Hahaha!!!!! (Hysterical laughter guys. Just deal.) Later my hedgehog peeps!!! - harley out!!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lightning: faster than sonic Hedgehog Fur is black but turns yellow when he runs Hates sonic and his freinds. Wishes sonic was dead
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shadow: A Black and grey hedgehog with green eyes Amy: A pink hedgehog with a crush on sonic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A purple hedgehog with purple eyes a purple robe thingy with purple shoes has a dark purple jewel on her forehead and three purple strands of hair sticking up... gender:&female
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Golden the Echidna Age: 15 years old Gender: Male Personality Traits: Secretive, reserved, quiet Other Info: Golden guarded the Master Emerald before Tikal. He guards an ancient, secret Chaos Emerald with power over the Space-Time Continuum, which is how he got to the present. He has golden fur with a golden aura. He can manipulate his aura. As SuperGolden, he glows like the Brawl Ball in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He lives near Angel Island.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gunsavy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to second result
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Work work work!" She mutters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alrighty then. Meet u at "Mev" first result.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to those of us who are interested in reading a collection of Mr. Biggs¿s thoughts on the personalities of a few of the people involved in the money management business, particularly some of those who manage hedge funds. But the book goes further than that. Want to know more about Mr. Biggs¿s dismissive disdain for asset gathering and fund marketing and the people employed to perform these vile duties? He masterfully shares his frustrations throughout. Want a glimpse into the isolated world of Greenwich, country clubbing and silver spoon privilege? Too bad, the book would have been considerably more entertaining if it had more about that. How about a re-write of a clever article he wrote over thirty years ago? The sequel, the book¿s second to last chapter, isn¿t as good as the original (but isn¿t that what they always say?). Unfortunately, this book comes off as being a combination of accumulated journal entries and previously published and unpublished articles, giving one the impression Mr. Biggs lost momentum early on, never regained it and struggled to the end, pulling together a hodgepodge of loosely linked stuff¿ to some degree, just like the money management business. One useful takeaway is his listing of recommended readings.