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Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 19, 2002


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (February 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375405852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375405853
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,692,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

George Soros was once described as "the only private citizen [of the U.S.] who has his own foreign policy." In this penetrating biography, Michael Kaufman explores the multifaceted life of a man who instead describes himself as "a financial, philanthropic, and philosophical speculator."

Like Intel chairman Andrew Grove, whose memoir Swimming Across touches on some of the same territory, Soros grew up as the scion of a Hungarian Jewish family, many of whose members did not survive the Holocaust. Inclined toward philosophy (a field in which he sometimes writes even today, though many philosophers wish he would not), Soros escaped to England, and later America, and put his sharp mind to work making a huge fortune. Not content to live a leisurely or unexamined life, Soros put more than $1 billion to use in bettering the lives of citizens of formerly totalitarian regimes--and even in hastening the end of dictatorships around the world.

Former New York Times columnist Kaufman delivers a respectful account, closeted skeletons and all, of Soros's life and work, and his book will interest a wide range of readers. --Gregory McNamee

From Library Journal

What makes George Soros such a fascinating topic for biographers? The year 1995 saw Robert Slater's Soros: The Life, Times and Trading Secrets of the World's Greatest Investor and Soros's own Soros on Soros, written with Byron Wien and Krisztina Koenan. Now Kaufman, a former New York Times award-winning reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor, documents the life of this successful but controversial figure, drawing on unpublished manuscripts and interviews with Soros, his family, and acquaintances. The result is this wide-ranging and absorbing book. Although the work covers the full spectrum of Soros's activities, the recurring theme is of Soros the person and his never-ending pursuit of universal truths. Despite his achievements as a remarkable money manager and generous philanthropist, Soros's lifelong dream was to become a noted philosopher. Leaving his home in Budapest at 14, he eventually became a Wall Street maverick and made billions so that he could give it away. Soros has used his wealth to create a network of Open Society foundations in Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union to foster democratic institutions. More recently, he has expanded his philanthropic network to the United States, focusing on various social issues. This comprehensive biography is a good selection for business collections. Bellinda Wise, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Too much about his philanthropy.
Srabalais
I have already read this book a couple of times and I shall pick up this book every now and then and run through some of my favorite sections in the book.
Arpit
Sad to say, but that is what comes across clearly, in this very well written book.
"pedromey"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Carlos N. Velez on August 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
The book basically divides Soros' life into three phases:
1. Childhood survival against the Nazis in Hungary during WW II
2. Financial successes and philosophical failures
3. Philanthropy
What I found puzzling is how much of the text was spent on Soros' philanthropic activities. They deserve a significant portion of the text, but well over half of the text is devoted to this. I would have been interested, for example, in seeing some experts from Soros "Burden", and trying to understand a bit better what issues Soros was trying to describe in his own book, but could not.
Having said all this, this was a well researched, well written, well referenced biography. This is not a trading book, and those seeking trading advice should look elsewhere.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book has been an amazing trip for me. Just reading about his work in creating the "Open Society" foundations in various "Iron Curtain" countries was tantalizing enough for me to want to get all the books he has written and read everything. In the chapter entitled "Hungary" Mr. Soros' country of birth, the author discusses how amazed the people involved in setting up his "Open Society" foundations were when he simply puchased copy machines and had them shipped from the U.S. and installed in open areas of educational and public institutions. People had never before been able to copy and share information. Not even their own love letters and recipes. What wasn't implicitly legal in Hungary was, therefore, illegal. It makes one realize the importance of information in a free and open society. This is a very well done biography and shows Mr. Soros as a great human being.. warts and all. A very good read.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Although this book is lacking on investment/trading ideas, I feel that by reading it, invaluable lessons can be learnt that will help one become a better trader/investor. No doubt George Soros is the greatest money manager in the world, but do you think it is his investment ideas and analysis that gives him the edge over others? No! It is his personality, and this book gives you an insight look into the character of this amazing man. If you wanna know how this man can bet billions against the Bank of England and still be able to sleep at night, read this book.
Critical elements of George Soros' personality as the world's greatest trader:
1. Believe in your own fallibility. To put it in another words, be humble and always believe that you can be wrong and when that happens, don't hesitate to change your stance. You will be surprised how this man can change his mind with such ease, in all aspects of his life, just so long as there is a reason for it. It is his central philosophy in life to believe in his own fallibility, therefore, he is so self-critical.
2. The ability to compartmentalize. Which means this man has an extremely high EQ. As a trader, it is important not to let your personal affairs affect your trading performance, as mental concentration is of utmost importance. Soros has shown this trait throughout the book where he can immerse himself into his million dollar philantrophic activities just minutes after losing a couple of millions in a trade. Perhaps this man is so rational that he is devoid of emotions?
3. The ability to take risk. A life that is always on the edge and full of uncertainty is not something that everybody can live with, much less excel in it. But hey, this man survived the holocaust through his childhood living on the edge of life and death.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Simon Russo on August 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Soros is an enigma, and you'd expect to know more about this man when you bought this book. Indeed, you would, this book gives you a clear history of this man, from his childhood to his vision to his philantrophic reasons.

However, if you buy a book on Soros, you'd probably want to know a lot about what made Soros famous in the first day: The Black Wednesday, in which Soros gambled on the depreciation of British Poundsterling against the Bank of England and won US$1 billion, making his known as "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England."

Unfortunately, there is only a short chapter on this, even though I would bet people would be more curious on this than Soros's childhood days.

The author also speculated that the Queen of England profitted from the loss of the Bank of England, but it sounds more like a rumor because he could not confirm if there was some truth in it.

Anyway, this book is still good if you want to know abot Soros, but moves very slowly.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sam Johnson on March 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want a quick and easy broad overview of Soros then this is your book, but I would recommend Soros on Soros as being more useful at understanding the man.

Also if you're a trader, don't even waste your time on this book. Get Alchemy of finance. This book is a fairly quick read but as you can imagine with a man like Soros, any authorised book is going to be mostly flattery.

But it has it's amusing moments and some good pictures. I wouldn't pay more than $5 though for it. Then you can chuck it like a magazine when you're done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ev Nucci on October 1, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have read any of Chernow's biographies, such as JP Morgan or Rockefeller, and love history, then read this book. This is not a book to learn how Soros invests.

This is not a book that will teach you about fixed income, equities, derivatives, or how to hedge. If you want to sell short...go to the finance section of Amazon and buy a finance book.

This is a brilliant biography about George Soros. You learn about his life, how he grew up, where he went to school. How his character was formed...the events that helped form his work ethic, his philosophy about world markets and peak into how he may think.

You aren't going to get under the hood of his brain, but you will get to the core of what matters to this famous man and why. Brilliantly done!
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