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Fooling Some of the People All of the Time, A Long Short (and Now Complete) Story, Updated with New Epilogue [Kindle Edition]

David Einhorn , Joel Greenblatt
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A revealing look at Wall Street, the financial media, andfinancial regulators by David Einhorn, the President of GreenlightCapital

Could 2008's credit crisis have been minimized or even avoided?In 2002, David Einhorn-one of the country's top investors-was askedat a charity investment conference to share his best investmentadvice. Short sell Allied Capital. At the time, Allied was a leaderin the private financing industry. Einhorn claimed Allied was usingquestionable accounting practices to prop itself up. Soundfamiliar? At the time of the original version of Fooling Some ofthe People All of the Time: A Long Short Story the outcome ofhis advice was unknown. Now, the story is complete and we knowEinhorn was right. In 2008, Einhorn advised the same conference toshort sell Lehman Brothers. And had the market been more open tohis warnings, yes, the market meltdown might have been avoided, orat least minimized.

  • Details the gripping battle between Allied Capital andEinhorn's Greenlight Capital
  • Illuminates how questionable company practices are maintainedand, at times, even protected by Wall Street
  • Describes the failings of investment banks, analysts,journalists, and government regulators
  • Describes how many parts of the Allied Capital story werereplayed in the debate over Lehman Brothers

Fooling Some of the People All of the Time is animportant call for effective government regulation, free speech,and fair play.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Instead of stewing in private, Einhorn wrote a book "Fooling Some of the People All of the Time" about his six-year ordeal with Allied." (Daily Mail, September 18, 2008)

From the Inside Flap

In 2002, David Einhorn, the President of Greenlight Capital, gave a speech at a charity investment conference to benefit a children's cancer hospital. He was asked to share his best investment idea, so he did. He described his reasons why Greenlight had sold short the shares of Allied Capital, a leader in the private finance industry. Greenlight bet that the stock would decline because the company's business was in trouble and its accounting was corrupt. Einhorn's speech was so compelling that the next day, when the New York Stock Exchange opened for trading, Allied's shares remained closed. So many investors wanted to sell or short the stock that the NYSE could not balance all the sell orders to open Allied’s trading in an orderly fashion.

What followed was a firestorm of controversy. Allied responded with a Washington, D.C.–style spin-job— attacking Einhorn and disseminating half-truths and outright lies. Rather than protect investors by reviewing Einhorn's well-documented case against Allied, the SEC—at the behest of the politically connected Allied— instead investigated Einhorn for stock manipulation. Over the ensuing six years, the SEC allowed Allied

to make the problem bigger by approving more than a dozen additional stock offerings that raised over $1 billion from new investors. Undeterred by the spin-job, lies, and investigations, Greenlight continued its research after the speech and discovered Allied’s behavior was far worse than Einhorn ever suspected— and, shockingly, it continues to this day.

Fooling Some of the People All of the Time is the gripping chronicle of this ongoing saga. Page by page, it delves deep inside Wall Street, showing how the $6 billion hedge fund Greenlight Capital conducts its investment research and detailing the maneuvers of an unscrupulous company. Along the way, you'll witness feckless regulators, compromised politicians, and the barricades our capital markets have erected against exposing misconduct from important Wall Street customers. You will also discover the immense difficulties that prevent the government from sanctioning politically connected companies—making future Enrons inevitable. This revealing book shows the failings of Wall Street: its investment banks, analysts, journalists, and especially our government regulators.

At its most basic level, Allied Capital is the story of Wall Street at its worst. But the story is much bigger than one little-known company. Fooling Some of the People All of the Time is an important call for effective law enforcement, free speech, and fair play.


Product Details

  • File Size: 2106 KB
  • Print Length: 451 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470481544
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004D4YO6A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,512 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
113 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Mind of an Exceptional Investor May 31, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Many well-respected money managers -- some of them with track records that spanned decades -- saw their reputations utterly destroyed in 2008. One manager who came through the carnage with reputation intact, and even enhanced, was David Einhorn (the author of this book). In addition to anticipating the fall of Lehman Brothers, Einhorn's fund, Greenlight Capital, significantly outperformed the S&P (though still ended up down on the year).

I am not an investor in Greenlight (Einhorn's fund), but I always enjoy reading their quarterly letters. They are consistently detailed, forthright and insightful, the way all investor communication should be.

I also give Einhorn respect (and admiration) for his 18th place finish in the 2006 World Series of Poker -- the $659,730 winings of which he donated to charity. The guy can clearly handle himself at a poker table.

The book itself was an interesting read on multiple levels. A friend of mine, who crunches spreadsheets in his sleep, made a friendly wager I wouldn't be able to get through the whole thing, as there is a great degree of detail (some would say mind-numbing detail) covering Allied Capital's various accounting irregularities.

I won the wager by devouring the book -- moreso out of hunger to absorb a highly trained investor's deeply analytical thought processes, than from a need to understand the particulars of Allied Capital or BDCs (business development companies).

The book sheds light on a number of excellent concepts above and beyond the Allied saga. The opening chapters, which describe the origins and philosophies and thought processes behind Greenlight Capital, are extremely informative.
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88 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important work May 18, 2008
Format:Hardcover
It would suffice that this book is well-written, engaging and informative, but it is more than that. It is an important book, for two reasons. First, it shows how much of an investment edge it can be to employ deep research and critical thought. The fact that many other investors continued to be fooled by the company even after Einhorn published his analysis may seem frustrating to the reader, but as an investor I view that reaction as confirmatory that there will always be lots of ways for independent, meticulous thinkers to make money. Second, the book demonstrates how difficult and lonely it can be to engage in activist investing, especially from the short side. Consistent with the story in this book, I have almost invariably found that the more correct the activist's views are, the more likely s/he will be subjected to ad hominem attacks; and that, when presented with cogent evidence of a serious problem, government officials either do nothing or protect the malefactor. Indeed, the business news of the last nine months is replete with examples of this. I am unaware of another book on investing that captures this second element. It is all the more commendable that Einhorn can tell this incredibly frustrating tale calmly, resisting the temptation to engage in histrionics or self-righteousness.
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76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is really close to being 2 or 3 books in one. Initially heard about the book in the WSJ, I pre-ordered it on Amazon and took a few weeks to read.
In the first part Mr. Einhorn writes several chapters aimed at a non-professional investor to build the background of how a hedge fund invests, building the reader's knowledge from zero to fluent enough to understand the book. There's a glossary in the back of the book to refer to if you forget any of the terms. In fact, later on Mr. Einhorn's open and full disclosure of his investing philosophy, technique, and results contrast with those of Allied Capital and its collection of LLCs.

The second part of the book builds from a small trickle to a river of fraud, and frankly this is the hardest part to get through. You're directed to watch Mr. Einhorn's speech on the web in order to understand a dissection of reactions that follow, and I admit that I felt as if I was reading a story from somebody who was picked on too much in the schoolyard and is taking revenge by writing a book. As I kept reading the chapters the story suddenly took me by surprise (around P.200 or so).

It then becomes a story of how, if you were to implement a business poorly and needed to keep it going no matter what, you would do whatever it took to keep paying a dividend to keep your stock from tanking. You might start by fibbing on the health of the business one year, sell healthy companies to hide your true results a few years later, and start directing campaign donations to the right parties a few years later. In for a penny, in for a pound. Mr. Einhorn didn't mention, but in years past I have read, that Enron kept going for so long because they did a good job spreading their money around to both the politicians and the local community. Mr.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good History Doesn't Always Make Great Reading January 9, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Here is the best (and easiest) way to figure out whether or not you want to read this book: watch the speech by the author that started the whole controversy detailed in this book (you can find the video on the author's site or YouTube by searching "Einhorn Allied speech"). If some combination of his general sincerity, obvious enthusiasm for "what is right" and readiness to get into accounting detail hold your attention, you'll enjoy the book; if not, chances are you won't. (Of course, there is a different argument to be made about who SHOULD read the book -- regulators, legislators, investors, managers, business students -- but last time I checked, those folks aren't building required reading lists based on Amazon reviews.)

Because we have the advantage of hindsight, we know that Einhorn was right about pretty much everything, even as the story has continued to unfold after the book's publication: Allied's accounting irregularities, their unsustainable business practices (he anticipated Allied's need to sell Callidus -- see p.327), and ultimately the decision to short the stock (Allied shorted the stock at $26.25 -- it closed 2009 around $4). But the reason to read this book is for process more than outcome. You'll learn a bit about how some hedge funds operate, but you'll learn a lot more about deceptive corporate management, negligent boards of directors, lazy government regulators and easily distracted journalists. Sadly, many readers may not find much "news" in any of that.

The book is a bit dry and detailed at points, perhaps partly due to legal concerns but primarily because it is about accounting, governance and regulation. That said, it's a pretty quick and compelling read for those with any interest in the subject.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Great!
Published 15 days ago by Charles Zimmerer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a great book!
Wow, what a great book! I loved this book so much I was sorry when I came to the end of it.
Whoever would have thought that a book about accounting would read like a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David the book lover.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dumb money
Timing isn’t the most important element of securities investing, but it is very important. Over the past two decades, few investors have timed things better than David Einhorn, who... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Harry Eagar
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read!
Published 1 month ago by Yotiaud Apoutou
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent insight into activist/value investment cases
Published 3 months ago by M. Fujii
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
Book is a bit long so I'd just recommend reading the beginning, parts of the middle and then the last chapters
Published 3 months ago by can yilmaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this!
I honestly loved this book. Reading this book is probably the last time I couldn't put a 500+ page book down. And probably the only time I was so riveted by accounting practices. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ellie Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars A distrurbing tale. A must-read to understand how the world sometimes...
Just finished reading this book (e-book on Kindle Fire) and I highly recommend it. You need to be somewhat knowledgeable about capital markets to understand parts of it, but... Read more
Published 3 months ago by AC
3.0 out of 5 stars There is a good reason that DI is so well connected to a ...
The story told here is one sided. This is David's version which is IMHO, very slanted toward his point of view. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Thomas E. Lux
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but LONG (and overly detailed) account of Einhorn-Allied battle
Full disclosure: I am a big David Einhorn fan. I have followed his career from Allied to Lehman to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and I listen to or actively search for... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Banquero
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