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Becoming Rich: The Wealth-Building Secrets of the World's Master Investors Buffett, Icahn, Soros Hardcover – March 31, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The world is full of get-rich-quick schemes, but this definitely isn't one of them. Instead, Tier, founder of World Money Analyst, a newsletter with subscribers in 119 countries, teaches readers to invest smartly by delving into the skills, philosophies and investment strategies of some of the world's richest self-made men-Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.), Carl Icahn (Ichan & Co.) and George Soros (Quantum Fund) among them. An Australian who lives in Hong Kong, Tier has written other books about finance, including Understanding Inflation and The Nature of Market Cycles, but here it's all about analyzing and replicating the habits of his idols, whom he calls "Master Investors." Part biography and part self-help, the book will appeal most to serious investors for whom investing is a near full-time job. For those enthusiasts, chapters like "The Seven Deadly Investment Sins" and "You Call That A Position" will be entertaining, and "The 23 Winning Investment Habits" in Appendix I will likely become a mantra. But even casual investors can glean some good tips from this well-organized book, which points out that the Losing Investor always aims "to make a lot of money" while the Master Investor always keeps preservation of capital as "priority No. 1."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Author

NOTE: Becoming Rich is the American hardcover edition of The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett & George Soros.  
St. Martins Press published it in paperback with the original title.  
Except for the title, it's the same book. 
While writing this book, I got to know two highly successful investors very well. Part of my research was analyzing their investment habits to check the accuracy of my analysis. 
I also met several novice investors, analyzing their poor investment habits to contrast with the successful ones. 
I gave copies the manuscript to all of them, and asked them all for their comments. 
Here's how I expected they would react: 
  • The successful investors would come back and tell me where it sucked -- where I'd made mistakes, bloopers, and so on;
  • The novice investors would use it to improve their investment results.
Boy, was I wrong! 
One point of clarification: just how successful were these two successful investors? 
Both these men had achieved independent wealth through their investing. One, then in his sixties, was twenty when he arrived on Wall Street and became a millionaire before he turned thirty -- by investing on his own account, not hustling investments to others. The second started a bit later, but was also independently wealthy. 
Both had made enough money from their investments to sit on their thumbs for the rest of their lives. 
I had learnt from them -- what could they learn from me? Nothing at all, I assumed. 
They both thought differently: 
  • "Here is a different way of looking at the investing process. Maybe I'll learn something."
They both went through all 23 Winning Investment Habits carefully, comparing my analysis with their own behaviors. They checked the 12 components of the successful investment system against their own approach. 
One of them tweaked his exit strategy, based on my exposition. 
This is, unquestionably, the greatest compliment I've ever received on this book. 
Compare that reaction to that of "Henry," whose reaction was typical of several novice investors I talked with. 
I spent enough time with Henry to get to know him reasonably well. In his early twenties, he had accumulated about $10,000 and had been investing on the stock market for about a year. His results weren't appalling, but he'd have done better if he'd left his money in a index fund. 
His reaction to the manuscript: "Interesting." 
That's it! 
Did he apply the habits, or attempt to? 
Did it make him think more deeply about his strategy or anything else related to his investments? 
Not as far as I could tell. 
Did it make any difference to his life? 
Aside from an enjoyable read, not in any discernable way. 
A psychological attack on would-be traders?
A few reviews of  the paperback edition (The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett & George Soros) are rather, how shall I put it? -- decidedly uncomplimentary. 
One (on describes The Winning Investment Habits as a "psychological attack on would-be traders." 
As far as I can tell, all I did was point out that trading is far more stressful than investing. 
When you're under pressure, you're more likely to make mistakes. 
When the pressure is unrelenting, you can burn out. 
Traders burn out; investors don't. 
Even Soros burnt out; Buffett never has. 
Soros learnt how to deal with stress, partly by delegating some or all of the responsibility to others and acting as "coach" rather than trader. The result: he can come back into the saddle when necessary, totally refreshed. 
Which is exactly what he did in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. He took back control of his Quantum Fund: while everyone else on Wall Street was losing their shirts, he was up over 30% for the year. 
If you're so good, why write a book? 
Fair question. 
I wrote this book because I'm a writer. That's what I love to do. The best way for me to learn something is to write about it. 
Writing this book was the end of a long quest for the keys to successful investing. In the process of identifying the 23 Winning Investment Habits I realized my problem wasn't a lack of knowledge; the problem was me. My own mental habits. I worked hard to change them. The result: the returns from my investments now pay the rent, send the kids to school, put food on the table, and so on. 
Every morning, I can choose to do with my day whatever I wish (including sleeping in). 
Mostly, I choose to write. 
Wouldn't you like have a life like that?
If I can do it, so can you.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312339860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312339869
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,234,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ferris on February 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I write financial newsletters for a living. I'm constantly being asked by my publisher's book subisidary to submit ideas for an investment title. I've bought every investment book with the name Buffett in the title. I've read most of them, although I've finished few of them. The best ones are The Warren Buffett Way, by Hagstrom, The Buffettology books, and Greenwald, et al's Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond. Becoming Rich, is half a notch below these, but this is the book I wish I'd written, not any of those other three.

The best thing about Becoming Rich is that Tier, a veteran newsletter writer, always SHOWS you. He never merely tells you what his point is. This book has page after page of anecdotes and examples, including material I don't remember reading elsewhere about Buffett. For example, there's a great couple of paragraphs explaining what happened to Coke before Goizueta took over, and how Goizueta dug into the business, sold of all the garbage assets previous management had bought, and introduced Diet Coke, which became an instant smash hit.

Tier does a better job of summing up Soros's style than any of the Soros books. I can't get through Alchemy of Finance, but I really enjoyed reading about Soros in Becoming Rich. Icahn material is scarce, and Becoming Rich has material I haven't seen elsewhere, although Tier did tell me by e-mail that some of it came from the now out-of-print biography, King Icahn.

If you're an individual investor, you should read this book. If you're an educated financial professional, you've probably swallowed a fair amount of pure garbage as a part of your formal education. This book can help you discard it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Moominoid on July 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't agree with absolutely everything that Mark Tier writes in this book - but the points I disagree on at least get me to think. I think there are more differences between Soros and Buffett than Tier would like. Some of the rules are relatively but not absolutely true - for example the don't diversify rule is relative. Buffett is in fact very diversified today across investments and operating businesses as a result of the pure size of Berkshire though insurance remains the primary business. Soros always diversified across individual stock investments but would take large futures positions. But the insights in the book far outweigh any of my criticisms. For the guy who says the book is worthless - the book is not very useful to someone with no experience in trading and investing. You need to come to this book with a lot of experience and maybe limited success and it will open your eyes. Having previously read biographies of Soros and Buffett and their own writings will help put things in context too. This is very much an advanced level text :)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Henry Newrick on June 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In 1969, as a youthful 23 year old I invested in Australian mineral stocks which were then running hot. Poseidon was the leader and others were in hot pursuit. 6 weeks later the market came crashing down and I virtualy lost my entire investment. For the next 36 years I never bought another stock.

Mark Tier's book has changed all that. In a little over 200 pages of well written and thoroughly reasoned text he has provided a succinct analysis of the strategies behind such successful investors as Warren Buffet and George Soros. He has converted me back to equities, and given me the encouragement to invest again. My only regret is that the book wasn't available 20 years ago.

I'd thoroughly recommend this book to anyone wanting to adopt a relatively cautious but nevertheless winning strategy for investing in the stock market. Thanks Mark, it's never too late to start over. Warren Buffet, here I come!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CB Stadler on March 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found this book very interesting and would say it lived up to its billing. I specifically bought it to read about Carl Icahn but found the other investors interesting as well. It's always a good idea to learn from the best and these guys are some of the best, give it a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daily Reckoning on June 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have spent part of the month in Ocean City, Md., enjoying the waning days of summer, the salty sea breeze and hypnotic crashing of the waves on the shore. One book I read inspired many thoughts: Becoming Rich, by Mark Tier, published last year.

Tier begins with a sound premise, one that I use myself in studying investing. It is simply that he starts by studying the greatest investors. This immediately limits the field. It eliminates the talking heads on television and radio and wipes out the authors of most books and magazine articles.

The greatest investors have long track records, measured in decades. (And don't limit yourself to the living - I've learned many things from studying the dead investors of long ago.) The subtitle of his book is "The Wealth-Building Secrets of the World's Master Investors Buffett, Icahn, Soros." This gives you some idea of his method.

The book is mainly about Buffett and Soros, two great investors that likely need no introduction. Tier's book walks through 23 winning investment habits (as well as seven deadly investment sins) that he maintains all the great investors he's studied share. Perhaps you can add these to your repertoire and start seeing immediate results.

One of Tier's habits: Bet Big. In the hands of some novice investors, this advice is financial suicide. But the fact remains that many of the great investors got that way by making big bets on their favorite ideas, instead of spreading out their money over many smaller positions.

There is a great story about George Soros that Tier relates. A trader has put on a successful trade, and Soros asks him how big his position was. "$1 billion," the trader confidently reports. Soros' next comment has since become part of Wall Street lore.
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