Book Review:The Bed of Procrustes

This post is in continuation of my book review series (see here)

The Bed of Procrustes is written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

It is a slim book full of aphorisms (pithy statements) by Taleb.

Some samples are:

Someone from your social class who becomes poor affects you more than thousands of starving ones outside of it


For the robust, an error is information; for the fragile, an error is error


A more detailed and funnier review can be found here

All in all, this book is thoroughly avoidable.

Book Review:Breakout Nations

This post is in continuation of my book review series (see here).

Breakout Nations is written by Ruchir Sharma who is the Head of Emerging Markets, Equity at Morgan Stanley.

The book covers various emerging and frontier economies including China, Brazil,India,Russia,Korea,Mexico, Turkey etc

What I love about the book is that the author gives a historical context to the situation, explains whats going on currently and tells of the possible outcomes for the future.

The book is full of anecdotes and earthy wisdom.One phrase is “Locals are the first to know” i.e. locals know better than foreigners about the local markets/situations etc.

Considering the contrast in the Indian markets right now-local investors are selling and getting out of equity while foreign money is pouring money into the equity markets; “Locals are the first to know” indicates which side of the market will eventually win !!

I would strongly recommend this book to investors with a macro bent of mind.

Book Review:Whatever the odds

This post is in continuation of my Book Review series (see here)

I love reading business biographies as it gives a great insight into how businesses operate.

This book “Whatever the odds” is written by KP Singh, the Chairman of DLF.

The author gives a candid account of his personal life and loves but shies away from revealing the “trade secrets” of his business dealings.After the Robert Vadra expose, one can understand why.

Yet if one reads between the lines, one gets the sense of how business is done in India.The influence of politics and politicians to make/mar business fortunes is chronicled well.

I also liked the way KP Singh handled some tough situations-from getting out of the Army, to evicting a difficult tenant, handling farmer’s egos etc

There is a beautiful verse in the book which HD Shourie told KP Singh when his fortunes were at the nadir and he was fighting for his survival:

Kunde Mukhalif se na ghabarye eh akab


Yeh to aata hai tujhe uncha uthane ke liye


O Eagle, do not get scared by the gutsy storm coming from the opposite side


It is coming only to lift you higher


I would recommend this book to readers jinko samajne ke liye ishaara hi kaafi hai !!

Book Review:The Quants

This post is in continuation with my Book Review series (see here)

The book “The Quants” by Scott Patterson chronicles the rise of quants on Wall Street.

I especially liked the section on Ed Thorp.Ed Thorp found a way to price options way before Black Scholes did. But he kept his mouth shut and used his techniques to make money in the markets !

The author discusses in detail some of the great quant funds-Citadel,AQR Capital,LTCM etc

Some of the anecdotes in the book are simply great…there is one of how quants put an end to the legendary Liar’s Poker game in the trading halls of Solomon

Would recommend this book for those readers who want to know more of the quantitative side of trading.

Book Review:More Money than God

This post is in continuation of my book review series (see here)

The book “More Money Than God” by Sebastian Mallaby is one of my favorite books.

It traces the history of hedge funds from the time  of  Alfred Winslow Jones to present times.

I just love the way he catalogs the successes and failures of the strategies of different hedge fund managers.

For the serious investor, there are lots of learnings in this book.Why some strategies work at some point in time, why some don’t , how competition / imitation can destroy the best of strategies etc

You get a new found respect (or awe) for some of the best brains in the business, especially George Soros.

It also full of great anecdotes and one liners.One more memorable one liner is the one uttered by Robertson of Tiger Funds talking about his spectacular fund performance “It’s me and the patsies !!”

I would strongly strongly recommend to read this book…its a must have for all those managing funds/portfolios.