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The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World's Top Hedge Funds Hardcover – May 29, 2012

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Editorial Reviews Review

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.
Ben Mezrich

Q & A with Maneet Ahuja, author of The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World's Top Hedge Funds

Maneet Ahuja
What is The Alpha Masters about?
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.


this is a well written book about some of the more colourful figures in the world of high-stakes investing. Anyone looking for a decent holiday read could do a lot worse (Money Week, June 2012)

'There is not a dull moment, and one may even come out a much wiser investor by the end of the book. (eVestment|HFN, June 2012)

Using savvy and psychological understanding she fully grasps the nature behind the secretive trade, and gives the reader guidance to replicate success. (European CEO, 1st August 2012)


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Product Details

  • Series: The Alpha Masters: Unlocking The Genius of The World's Top Hedge Funds
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118065522
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118065525
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 130 people found the following review helpful By auilachs on August 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very odd book - only suitable for pop-culture enthusiasts. "Alpha" suggests risk adjusted returns to investors - not to their investment managers. However, the whole text is a glowing tribute to the wealthiest investment managers. The wealthiest managers are those who have raised the most assets from the public, but every study on the topic indicates that smaller funds are better for investors. Why does this matter? As the old saying goes, "where are the investors' yachts?" I have been reading financial publications from a full array of sources (everything from WSJ/ pop-culture texts to juried academic publications/PhD dissertations) for 28-years. "The Alpha Masters" really belongs at or near the bottom of the quality pile. The book is largely a snap-shot biography of the wealthiest hedge-fund managers, with no regard to their clients' results. The text includes a photo-insert of billionaire investment managers enjoying hobbies like playing chess, fishing, scuba-diving, and hiking around volcanos. Maneet's photo (she is the author) incorporates a plunging neckline, and her descriptions of her interviews read like Cosmo or Vogue ("...he was dressed in...", "...we had Diet Coke and turkey sandwiches...", "... the plush carpets..."). Many readers will also find the abundance of clichés more distracting than a sound bite from a professional athlete. She writes: "The journey is the process...and it often takes a good deal of back-and forth before decisions are finalized." Good job, Maneet! Way to give 110% for the team when everything was on the line! If you are a high-school student who needs to do a book report over a weekend, OR if you need to line a cat box/bird cage - this text would be an excellent choice for either task.Read more ›
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Walter on June 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had just finished Scwager's "Hedge Fund Market Wizards" and was really looking forward to a continuation of a well written, intellectually stimulating look into the Hedge Fund world. The forward to Alpha Masters is Excellent and I was energized, but I couldn't finish the first chapter, or any other one for that matter. Schwager and Ahuja set out on a common theme ... bring the manager's persona, his strategies and methodologies to the reader. Schwager succeeded and delivered a stimulating scene setting intro, incredible dialogue and high level summary of each manager. As far as Alpha Masters, I agree with some of the other comments: it is poorly written, superficial and disjointed in its analysis and full of metaphors and anecdotes that do not serve any purpose. The books shared at least one common "Master" and / or "Wizard". The level of insight delivered by Scwager was phenomenal, Alpha Masters fell flat.

So ... If you are looking for a book that is undersold and over delivers, I cannot recommend Alpha Masters. To add some context, I have spent the last 25 years of my career in the institutional capital markets. Others may enjoy it, but I wish I had read the reviews before I "one-clicked" Alpha Masters!
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74 of 87 people found the following review helpful By David Merkel on May 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Would you like to understand the mindsets of a variety of successful hedge fund managers? This book will give that to you, but there is a catch: you will also learn how these managers developed, and this is a big plus.

Most of the managers went through rigorous experiences that made them far more effective at evaluating risk and return potentials. Have you been through anything similar to that? If not, you might read this very interesting set of accounts, but then realize that you don't have the personality/skills necessary to replicate what they have done. Don't feel bad, most people don't have that.

A large part of what makes hedge fund managers successful is their willingness to limit their activity to areas where they have genuine expertise. They gain insight beyond most into areas where they are experts in discerning value.

This book does not give you a formula for how to make money; instead, it gives you lessons in the characters of those that have made a lot of money for themselves and their clients. What are they like?

Among their many attributes, they are:

Driven/competitive -- though I have known my share of failures in investing that have that attribute.
Lifelong learners, like Buffett and Munger -- though I have known some really bright people who know a lot about investing/finance who add little to an investment process.
Opportunistic -- they recognize what their best opportunities are, and pursue them to the exclusion of others.
Focused -- they develop an edge, and try to be "best in class," whether in mathematics of the markets, understanding the legal rights of different types of securities, understanding industry dynamics, accounting nuances, etc.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Straddle1985 on September 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Normally I love reading interviews with famous traders/funds managers. The Market Wizard series Jack Schwager wrote is one of my favorite series, just as Inside the House of Money: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Profiting in the Global Markets or Money Masters of Our Time. I thought I would like this book because it's a recent book full of interviews with well known hedge funds managers I only knew slightly. I was eager to read the interviews with Tepper, Paulson and Lagrange since it's not that easy to find direct interviews with them.

To my surprise this book was one major disappointment. It starts of pretty good with a terrific forward and then the author starts her interviews. These interviews are not detailled, very easy going talk and nowhere do they get concrete. The average interview might sound like "I graduated from Harvard where I learnt how to analyse companies and understand financial events. Later on I rolled in the finance world working for Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley. I was very competitive and value driven and worked really heard. That's how I learnt to invest/trade and beat the markets". Don't expect any details or trading specifics or advanced financial topics.
I would have expected these traders to tell something concrete on their trading. For example a stock they bought, why they bought it, what went wrong with it, how they learnt from it, what they look out for right now when managing money, ... Come on, it couldn't have been that hard.
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