Soros: The Life, Ideas, and Impact of the World's Most Influential Investor

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"A penniless survivor of the Nazi occupation of Hungary, George Soros is now one of the richest men in the world, and Robert Slater does an excellent job of helping us understand how Soros did it. . . . Slater distinguishes Soros from other great investors by explaining his mental processes . . . . He explains how Soros views markets as chaotic, not efficient, and very prone to boom-bust sequences. . . . Slater has written a fascinating volume."--Barron's

The highly acclaimed bestseller updated to reveal Soros' ...

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Soros: The Life, Ideas, and Impact of the World's Most Influential Investor

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"A penniless survivor of the Nazi occupation of Hungary, George Soros is now one of the richest men in the world, and Robert Slater does an excellent job of helping us understand how Soros did it. . . . Slater distinguishes Soros from other great investors by explaining his mental processes . . . . He explains how Soros views markets as chaotic, not efficient, and very prone to boom-bust sequences. . . . Slater has written a fascinating volume."--Barron's

The highly acclaimed bestseller updated to reveal Soros' role in our new economic and political era

As a financial genius, global philanthropist, political activist, man of conscience, and the world's only investor with his own foreign policy--it cannot be denied that Soros is an enigmatic man of enormous influence. For more than four decades he has been so successful that he has been accused of directing the course of global markets and shaping the destinies of nations.

Now, in this exhaustively updated and expanded edition of his 1996 bestseller, biographer Robert Slater separates fact from fiction to get at the truth about the mysterious figure of George Soros. Working from extensive interviews with Soros and those closest to him, Slater combines compelling biographical detail with scrupulous analysis to:

  • Detail how Soros made his billions as a global currency trader and stock operator
  • Chronicle his role in bringing down communism and establishing open societies to Eastern Europe and the former USSR
  • Demystify Soros's macroeconomic approach to investing and his oft-misunderstood theory of reflexivity
  • Explore his fanatical obsession with unseating George W. Bush in 2004 and his growing involvement with left-wing political activist groups
  • Reveal George Soros's strategies for surviving and thriving in the chaos of today's credit markets


He's been hailed as the “World's Greatest Investor” and “King of the Hedge Funds.” In the 1980s he worked tirelessly and spent lavishly to help bring down communism in Eastern Europe and establish open societies where none existed. Yet he now asserts that his life's mission is to defend democracy against capitalism and “excessive individualism”. An avowed liberal, he's vilified on the right and admired by many on the left.

George Soros has been making headlines for more than four decades, yet he remains as much an enigma as ever--especially to those who would divine the secrets behind his phenomenal success as a global investor. Now, in this thoroughly updated, substantially expanded edition of his 1996 bestseller Soros, biographer Robert Slater goes beyond the headlines and the oft-told tales to reveal the man behind the legend.

Working from extensive interviews with Soros himself, as well as Soros's business associates and friends, Slater traces his subject's life across two continents and more than seven decades. We see Soros as a Hungarian boy whose favorite game was Monopoly; a Jewish teenager on the run from the Gestapo; an émigré in England who waited tables and served as a lifeguard tp survive; a burgeoning intellectual at the London School of Economics with a flair for analytical philosoph; and as a new arrival to his adoptive homeland, the USA.

Slater also closely tracks Soros's meteoric rise from unsuccessful gold arbitrageur to “The Man Who Moves Markets.” He chronicles many of Soros's financial triumphs and missteps, digging deep to provide new insights into some of his most sensational coups, including Soros's history-making move against the Pound-a play that netted him a cool $1 billion and seemingly threatened to break The Bank of England.

And in entirely new chapters devoted to Soros's political awakening, Slater describes his growing involvement with national politics during the 1990s, his role in helping to launch the liberal political action group, Americans Coming Together, his mounting obsession with George W. Bush following 9/11 and his efforts to unseat him in the 2004 election, and his widely misunderstood involvement with

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This is Slater's 1994 bio of Soros, with its contents "refreshed" and another 25 percent or so of updated material added. Slater, who gained greater cooperation from and access to Soros and his colleagues for this edition, continues to portray him as a man of contradictions, a Jewish Hungarian survivor of the Holocaust who is ambivalent about his religious roots and makes public pronouncements but appears shy of publicity. A fabulously successful pioneer in hedge funds, Soros says he regrets not becoming a philosopher. Slater ascribes much of Soros's trading success to his ability to recognize economic trends, jump on them aggressively, and retreat when wrong before suffering irretrievable losses. He explains that Soros has emerged, since 1994, more focused on philanthropy and changing the world. Soros has donated over $5 billion to various causes and, says Slater, became active in American politics owing to his opposition to the Bush administration. It is only since 1994 that Soros has come close to fulfilling his ambition to be considered a man of ideas. Unfortunately, Slater's post-1994 section seems rushed or tacked on, and his subject's personal life remains in shadows. Nonetheless, Soros's stature makes Slater's work a required and recommended purchase for all libraries.
—Lawrence Maxted

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071608442
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/19/2008
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,481,833
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Slater is the bestselling author of 30 books, including Jack Welch and the GE Way, Saving Big Blue, The Eye of the Storm, and Microsoft Rebooted.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The World’s Greatest Investor
Chapter 2 A Boy and his Parents
Chapter 3 The Cellars of Budapest
Chapter 4 Like Freud or Einstein
Chapter 5 The Blind Leading the Blind
Chapter 6 Fascinated by Chaos
Chapter 7 Invest First and Investigate Later
Chapter 8 Putting My Money Where My Mouth Was
Chapter 9 A Quantum Leap
Chapter 10 The Identity Crisis
Chapter 11 The Imperial Circles
Chapter 12 Killing of a Lifetime
Chapter 13 Philosophical Speculator
Chapter 14 A Cheap Price for Freedom
Chapter 15 An Urge to Reveal Oneself
Chapter 16 The Big Crash
Chapter 17 It Takes Courage to Be a Pig
Chapter 18 Taming the Snake
Chapter 19 “The One-Way Bet”
Chapter 20 Black Wednesday
Chapter 21 King of the Hedge Funds
Chapter 22 The Guru
Chapter 23 A Common Virus Known as Hubris
Chapter 24 I’m a Hungarian Jew
Chapter 25 The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Chapter 26 Mr. Soros Goes to Washington
Chapter 27 Richer Than 42 Countries
Chapter 28 A Shift Toward America
Chapter 29 Financial Woes and a Foretaste of Politics
Chapter 30 George Bush in Soros’s Crosshairs
Chapter 31 Investor, Philanthropist, Philosopher, and 79 Years Old

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing tell-all about one of the world's most successful investors

    George Soros is a fascinating personality. As one of the greatest investors in history, he is worth studying for his investment ideas alone. But Soros has never dwelled on his incredible trading success or his astounding income. Instead, he has sought recognition for his worldwide philanthropies. Robert Slater intelligently presents the story of this complicated, controversial and quick-witted billionaire. His account includes details about Soros's investment strategies and achievements, as well as his vast philanthropic projects. getAbstract considers this an intriguing biography of one of the century's most interesting investors and social philosophers - a remarkably complex self-made man.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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