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Diary of a Hedge Fund Manager: From the Top, to the Bottom, and Back Again Paperback – August 9, 2011

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Diary of a Hedge Fund Manager: From the Top, to the Bottom, and Back Again + Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager + Money Mavericks: Confessions of a Hedge Fund Manager (2nd Edition) (Financial Times Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118017021
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118017029
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.5 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Diary of a Hedge Fund Manager is an insider's view of the high-stakes money management world. In a distinctly straightforward and, at times, humorous style, Keith McCullough and Rich Blake take you on the journey of a young and successful hedge fund manager and former junior hockey player from Thunder Bay, Ontario, as he gets recruited to the Ivy League, stumbles onto the nexus of the hedge fund universe, and then gets a crack at running his own pile—becoming one of the best young portfolio managers on the Street.

But when the young portfolio manager finds himself working for one of the world's most prestigious firms—helping to run their hedge fund operation just as the market is starting to crack in 2007—McCullough becomes a lonely voice of reason in a world that rewards groupthink and disregards the adage about past performance having no bearing on future results. When McCullough finds himself shown the door, the story takes a fascinating turn into the world of independent research and no-holds-barred criticism.

Page by page, this fast-paced ride through the world of hedge funds reveals the unvarnished truth of how Wall Street and hedge funds really operate and offers real-world investment lessons you can take away and put to good use.

Written with the authority of someone who knows how Wall Street and hedge funds work, yet accessible to even a casual follower of finance, Diary of a Hedge Fund Manager mixes a constructive critique of the investment industry with fundamental lessons that any investor will find valuable. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

An unvarnished look at how Wall Street and hedge funds really operate, offering real-world lessons that you can put to good use

"An engaging and fascinating memoir of a Wall Street insider who foresaw the crisis and lost his job for it. McCullough has written an insightful firsthand account of our modern Rome before—and after—its fall. The author stands head and shoulders above his peers with his phenomenal trading track record, personal integrity, and skill at communicating his unique experiences."—Richard L. Peterson, MD, Managing Director, MarketPsy Capital, LLC; author of Inside the Investor's Brain

"If an unholy offspring of Lester Bangs and Don Cherry traded and wrote a financial market diary, it might be something like the smart, hip, and crunching commentary hedge fund manager Keith McCullough delivers every day. Keith is on a short list of must-reads in a business filled with also-rans."—Dr. Paul Kedrosky, Editor, Infectious Greed; Managing Director, IG Holdings; Senior Fellow, Kauffman Foundation

"Diary of a Hedge Fund Manager should be added to the list of must-read books on Wall Street. It is very rare that readers get this kind of insight into the world of what Wall Street calls the 'smart money.' McCullough's exciting and inspirational story reinforces the fact that hard work pays off. The book does a great job of pointing out that, on Wall Street, common sense and hard work trump a PhD—without actually saying it. His honesty is refreshing and reminds us all that the giants of the hedge fund world are mere mortals. This story is one that both Wall Street and Main Street can relate to and learn from."—Douglas M. Famigletti, CFA, Managing Director, Griffin Asset Management, Inc.

More About the Author

Keith McCullough is the CEO of Hedgeye Risk Management (formerly known as Research Edge). Prior to founding the company, Keith McCullough built a 10-year background of managing money at The Carlyle Group's hedge fund, Magnetar Capital, Falconhenge Partners, and Dawson-Herman Capital Management. Keith got his start as an institutional equity sales analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston after earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University, where he captained the Yale Varsity Hockey Team to a Division I Ivy League Championship. Keith is also a Contributing Editor to Bloomberg Television, where he appears regularly, and his pre-market commentary morning strategy note dubbed the "Early Look", appears on Forbes.com, every trading day.

Customer Reviews

The book is an inspirational personal experience by a great risk manager.
Bennet Thonakkara
The book sends a great message about how far hard work and character can take someone in their career and personal life.
In telling his story, McCullough may end up inspiring a whole new generation of Wall Street achievers and innovators.
Michael Block

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By P. Scott Pope TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are two big takeaways to be gleaned in this book: 1) hard work can overcome a lack of innate intelligence only up to a certain point 2) investors become addicted to their bad habits.

One the first point, McCullough justifiably argues that he is incredibly hard working, often arriving at work 4:00 AM. In one of his early job interviews out of college, he asked what would make him a good candidate. McCullough asked if the interviewer has a ball. Confused, the interviewer responds "why?" McCullough responds, "If you place me in a dark room with the other candidates, throw a ball in, I will come out with the ball. [Paraphrased]" This is a continuation of his evolution from his working class upbringing to a Yale hockey player to a hedge fund manager. Yet, as the reader follows the story and synthesizes the larger picture, it is clear he has no hope of becoming a star manager.

On the second point, it is evident that McCullough held onto his strategies when they weren't working, leading to a disastrous outcome. At the same time, he talks of hiring Yale hockey players and using such criteria in the HR process. Somewhat ironically, this approach has merit due the high bar set for those who reach Yale and are able to play college sports successfully. Yet, the greatest star investors historically have not followed this paradigm even though investment bankers, traders and CEOs often do. The larger issue that managers should focus on strategies/criteria that will work today and in future - loyalty to failed strategies should play no role. We see McCullough appeal to tradition throughout the book.

There is a bit of humor in book, especially on the topic of hockey that may appeal to some readers.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David Merkel on February 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that gives a feeling for being in hedge fund management, rather than a dry description of what needs to be done if you are in the rare position of being asked to manage a hedge fund.

The author was an ambitious guy. Growing up in Canada, he wanted to play professional hockey. He played ably in youth leagues, the minors, and college. Making the pros was not to be.

So, what does a competitive guy do when he can't pursue his dream? He pursues another dream, managing money. He works hard, and gets one break after another, and eventually manages his own firm, which he sells out to a larger one. He gets a plum job at a firm that proves less than patient with his current performance, and he gets let go. Even that is a triumph for the author. He starts his own firm, which is what he is still doing today.

Think of an analogy to sports -- every player makes mistakes, but the best players recover from mistakes well and learn from them. The author definitely got his share of breaks, both good and bad, but he responded to the bad breaks well, and came out the better for it.

Though this book is about hedge funds and other areas of investing, really, this book is about the author. It tells his story, and as the story gets told, you pick up incidental points along the way:

* What is it like to be an intern at a trading firm?
* How do you learn as you go?
* What was it like inside CSFB during the dot-com bubble?
* How to interview management teams to get an edge.
* How to sense if someone is lying.
* In general, the Fund of hedge funds operators are not desirable clients.
* Get a sense of the strength of consumers
* Get a sense of the three time horizons -- days/weeks, months, and years.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Read it on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book provides some interesting insights into the world of funds management.

There are many factors that influence success in this business. I will focus on four factors highlighted in this book.

1. Hunger to win - many people think they have this, but a true hunger to win is driven by an innate competitive drive. And it is a drive to win, not a drive to merely compete, and shouldn't be confused with a drive to gain recognition or status. There is a great scene in the book where the author is interviewing for a graduate job at (the now defunct) Lehman Brothers. He asks '"Do you have a ball?" The Lehman Brothers executive met my question with a blank stare... the guy looked at me like I had just made a rude comment about his wife... "A ball?" he asked. "What do you mean?"... "That thing you throw. Tennis ball, soccer ball, any ball. Do you have one?"... The whole exchange had started with him asking me why I believed I was Lehman material... I told him "If you took every college recruit here, put us all in a room, and then shut the doors and turned off the lights, so it was pitch black, and then threw the ball in the room for us to chase around... I can guarantee you.. that I'd be the one coming out of there with the ball."' He was offered the job.

2. Hard work - there are a lot of smart people in funds management, but not all of them work hard. The author recognized this and one of the things he decided to do was to work harder than his competition. Everyday.

3. Independent thought - it is not enough to simply follow the trend, be one of the heard. As the saying goes "the trend is your friend until the bend at the end". Well it's the bend at the end where all the action happens; where fortunes are won and lost.
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