Guest Review of The Alpha Masters by Ben Mezrich
"Maneet Ahuja's The Alpha Masters is a must-read for anyone working on Wall Street--or anyone planning to work on Wall Street. Getting even one of these titans of the industry to talk on record would be an impressive feat (and I know this because I've tried unsuccessfully to interview at least two of the people featured in here!), but getting all of them together in one place is simply herculean. Maneet quite clearly has the magic touch, and The Alpha Masters kept me busy on a round trip to Vegas, with a few extra hours on the tarmac. Great work, fun read, and a unique, fresh voice."
--Ben Mezrich is the author of twelve books including the New York Times best sellers Bringing Down the House, which was adapted into the movie 21, and The Accidental Billionaires, which was adapted into the Oscar-winning movie The Social Network.
Q & A with Maneet Ahuja, author of The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World's Top Hedge Funds
The Alpha Masters lifts the curtain on the notoriously private hedge fund industry and reveals valuable stories, secrets and lessons directly from the world's top investors. I wrote the book during one of the most volatile years in the U.S. markets. Through firsthand interviews and unprecedented access, each chapter profiles one of the biggest and most successful names in the industry, specifically including Ray Dalio, John Paulson, David Tepper, Bill Ackman, Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner, Dan Loeb, Jim Chanos, Boaz Weinstein, Pierre LaGrange and Tim Wong.
You had unprecedented access to these managers through the course of writing The Alpha Masters. Why do you think you were able to "go behind the curtain"?
As any good journalist will tell you, when you focus on the facts and developing your story, the rest will follow. My objective in writing The Alpha Masters was to dig deep into the backgrounds and investment philosophies of some of the world's greatest investors in order to really tell their stories for the first time. As a producer at CNBC for over four years, I have slowly built strong relationships and trust with these investors which I have now taken several steps further with the publishing of The Alpha Masters.
I believe I was able to "go behind the curtain," so to speak, because all of my subjects believed there were extremely valuable lessons to be learned from their extensive experiences and insights. Hopefully readers of the book will agree and be able to put some of the philosophies shared in the book into practice in their own lives and portfolios!
Why are hedge funds such a mystery?
There are a few key reasons, but foremost, the general public doesn't have the ability to invest in hedge funds because they are restricted to "accredited investors" under Regulation D of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This usually means an individual with net worth of at least $1 million or annual income over $200,000.
Also, hedge funds have only been around for less than a century. While there are a lot of mixed opinions--even among the investors profiled in the book--about what actually constitutes a hedge fund, the investment strategies are complex and believed by many to contain marks of genius. Thus, hedge fund managers have historically shied away from publicly explaining their methods, not only because they are difficult to understand, but from fear of giving away the secret sauce.
Who should read this book?
This book is for investors, market participants, business students, and anyone curious about the markets and interested in a "hedge- ucation."
You interviewed some of the top hedge fund managers in the world. What defining characteristic do you think stands out among them?
In one word? Drive.