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Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street's Largest Hedge Fund Disaster Hardcover – May 21, 2013


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Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street's Largest Hedge Fund Disaster + The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess + Flash Boys
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068398
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068395
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hedge funds, once an obscure investment vehicle confined to the ultrarich with a penchant for risk, have ballooned to a $2 trillion industry in recent years, as ordinary pension and retirement money have been poured into these unregulated funds. One of these funds, Amaranth Advisors, managed $9 billion in assets until its collapse in September 2006 owing to oversize holdings in ­natural-gas futures executed by a brash young ­Canadian trader named Brian Hunter. Wall Street analyst Dreyfuss details how Hunter’s manipulation of the natural-gas market not only lost billions of dollars for Amaranth investors but also caused speculative price spikes that took a heavy toll on consumers and business owners. Her work shines light on the little-known sector of unregulated energy trading in the wake of Enron, where reckless traders continue to take enormous risks with investors’ money and wreak havoc in energy-commodities markets, which are essential to the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Americans. --David Siegfried

Review

“Regulators, legislators and judges inclined to sympathize with the industry ought to rush out and buy a copy of Barbara Dreyfuss’s Hedge Hogs, a wonderfully instructive tale about Amaranth Advisors. . . . Dreyfuss, a Wall Street analyst turned investigative journalist, not only plowed through what turned out to be a treasure trove of official records and transcripts, but supplemented it with plenty of her own reporting. She manages to organize it all into a tight, riveting and understandable yarn.”The Washington Post
 
“If you are an avid follower of Wall Street, you’ll read [Hedge Hogs] in one sitting. . . . Dreyfuss is able to strategically select the essential elements that make for an accurate and fast-paced read laced with illuminating Wall Street lore while sparing the lay reader useless financial jargon. This riveting book gives us much to think about.”—Wall Street on Parade

“Clearly and entertainingly told . . . a salutary example of how traders who believe they are super-smart might be nothing more than lucky, and how there is nothing so intoxicating as the ability to speculate with other people’s money.”The Economist

“[Barbara T. Dreyfuss] does a great job of putting Amaranth’s out-of-control trader into historical context, explaining the blitz of deregulation that set the stage for someone like [Brian] Hunter to do maximum damage.”—Bloomberg

“A telling insider’s story on how hedge funds are playing high-stakes poker for massive personal profits and stealing the American Dream from average families . . . This is a case study that cries out for tougher crackdowns on the derivatives game.”—Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream?
 
“Brian Hunter, dubbed one of the top rogue traders of all time by The Wall Street Journal, is the only one on the list not to have gone to prison for his crimes. In Hedge Hogs, Barbara Dreyfuss reveals in forensic detail how Hunter carried out a speculative assault on the highly vulnerable U.S. energy market. Hedge Hogs is a great read for those interested in an introduction to the games often played by energy traders, as well as Wall Street veterans who think they know everything there is to know on this subject.”—Leah McGrath Goodman, author of The Asylum: Inside the Rise and Ruin of the Global Oil Market
 
Hedge Hogs is not merely the definitive take on the largest hedge fund collapse in history—it is a window into how the financial system came unstuck. Barbara Dreyfuss gets all the details right. This is Enron II, the sequel in which a thirty-year-old farm-boy from Calgary makes $113 million one year and then destroys his firm—and yet he isn’t even the highest-paid or most intriguing character his age. Once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down.”—Frank Partnoy, author of F.I.A.S.C.O. and Infectious Greed
 
“Dreyfuss smartly deploys her inside knowledge. . . . [Her] lucid, perceptive tour of the high-wire culture of hedge funds highlights how vapid Wall Street’s pretense of market expertise and risk analysis really is.”—Publishers Weekly

“A well-crafted investigation.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“[Dreyfuss’s] work shines light on the little-known sector of unregulated energy trading in the wake of Enron.”Booklist

Named One of the Top 10 Business & Economics Books of the Season by Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

In fact, the book reads almost like a thriller.
IM
This book is a must read for anyone who has a pension fund, who has investments in Wall Street, or for that matter who is affected by the US economy.
Eileen S
The author describes these complex topics in any easy to understand manner free of detailed math and confusing industry jargon.
Paul Bienstock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eileen S on May 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must read for anyone who has a pension fund, who has investments in Wall Street, or for that matter who is affected by the US economy. Through extensive research, analysis, and lucid writing, Dreyfuss takes the technical subject of hedge fund trading and makes it compelling and easy to understand. She provides a window into the high stakes gambling and trading on Wall Street that occurs separately from the actual value of companies or commodities.
The narrative is enlivened by her focus on two hedge fund energy traders who trade energy as a sport, with little concern for, or awareness of, the consequences of their actions to companies or individual citizens. As she spices the financials with vignettes about the traders' backgrounds and lifestyles, she provides beginning insights into their behaviors. The book is a page turner. Will the traders survive the riskiest trades? Will the risk managers and regulatory agencies take note? Who wins and who loses....and how do we protect ourselves from the consequences?
Read the book to find out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael on May 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The only thing that could have improved the book would have being able to interview the two main characters. It was easy to read and gave some insight into the world of hedge funds who filled a gap in the market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Kaplan VINE VOICE on April 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is the story of how the hedge fund Amaranth Advisers blew up. The hedge fund was supposed to be conservative, avoiding exactly the sort of huge (largely unhedged) bets that blew up the fund.

Barbara Dreyfuss has written a very interesting account of how Amaranth evolved and it came to pass that they allowed a single trader to take massive positions in the natural gas market.

Perhaps it goes without saying that this is a tale of massive hubris. At one point Amaranth's positions were so large that they moved the market. But since the positions comprised a significant fraction of the market there was no way out. Only events like weather could have saved the bet and by its nature weather is an unpredictable phenomena.

For those interested in finance and hedge fund excess this is definitely a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jedrury VINE VOICE on November 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once the hubris quotient and one's natural feeling that the carcass of the bankrupt Amaranth, its owner and its young villain got what they deserve is set aside, the author's journalistic build up and sense of drama delivers an informative "whiz bang" of a true story, especially at the end. While a few of the middle chapters feel like filler to lengthen out the book, Barbara Dreyfuss's "Hedge Hogs" simplifies a lot of the arcane terms of options trading and tells a good yarn about the hedge fund business, its natural inclination of greed and the need for falsehoods in the pursuit of funds from equally rapacious pension funds, unions and Wall Street. In the end, it is all about money and sharks eating what they kill; Dreyfuss makes it very clear and convincing with an admirable restraint. Because in the end, it is all about money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Faluvegi Balazs on July 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In 2006 I've read a lot about the Amaranth collapse, and learned many things about it, but I always missed a good, detailed research or book about the subject. Here it is, and it still has many new info in it. The author made a really detailed, still entertaining book. It's not only interesting, but can be very useful for investors, aspiring portfolio managers, and even for people at the authorities. As for the downside, I can only mention the sometimes populist, a bit "anti-market-like" comments, she made, but they are quite rare, and don't distort the book's well-written, fact based approach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rock Martino on July 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I initially read the first few pages of this book and couldn't get in to it. However, on my second attempt I am glad I got through it. This book is very well written and tells a lot about the rogue traders of natural gas. I hope the next book I read is like this in terms of style and subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JP on June 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone in the financial industry has heard about, and likely read at least a few articles concerning the hedge fund Amaranth. Dreyfuss does an spectacular job of researching the subject extensively and then placing it in an accessible and exciting narrative format. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to go behind the headlines of what happened at Amaranth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aditya Sivakumar on October 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author starts of with describing the background of these two traders and then describes the many face-offs which these two traders had. He also speaks about the people who are actually affected by the activities of these funds.

It feels as if you are reading a fictional thriller!
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