More Money Than God Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
By Sebastian Mallaby
More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite is an extremely well researched book which provides a historical perspective of the evolution of the hedge fund industry. Sebastian Mallaby adopts a narrative writing style which grips the mind of the readers and takes them to a dramatic journey where they virtually interact with the great champions of hedge fund industry in the US.
More Money Than God has been critically acclaimed around the globe for its subtleness and dramatic style of narrating of how modern hedge funds evolved in the US industry. The Washington Post describes it as ‘splendid…the definitive history of the hedge fund, a compelling narrative full of larger-than-life characters and dramatic tales.’
The book has received many plaudits including The Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. It explains how hedge funds evolved in the US over the years through incidents, investment tools, people and development of hedge fund concepts. The book rightfully lives up to its claim of being the ‘first authoritative history of the hedge fund industry’.
More Money Than God is divided into fifteen chapters and talks about a number of personalities, institutions and concepts in every chapter. Mallaby has carefully weaved the theme of each chapter around respective personalities and institutions. For example, the first chapter ‘Big Daddy’ revolves around the real life incidents of Alfred Winslow Jones, who is credited with forming the first modern hedge fund.
Through the book, Mallaby takes the readers to the historic journey of the modern hedge funds starting from A.W. Jones’s first hedge(d) fund (later: hedge fund) creation from 1949 through the 60s and 70s into the 80s and 90s and through the recent financial ‘crisis’ in 2008/09.
In the later chapters of the book, the readers are introduced to various legends of the industry like George Soros and Stan Druckenmiller as well as to Julian Robertson (Tiger), Paul Tudor Jones, the Commodities Corporation, Citadel, Jim Simons and others. Various financial crises including the hedge-fund implosions of Long Term Capital Management, Amaranth, etc. and to the bankruptcy of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are also discussed at length. The reader is also introduced to important personalities in short selling history such as Jim Chanos and David Einhorn. Though some key people related to the hedge fund industry are missing, the book is overall a comprehensive documented collection about some of the most successful hedge funds in the world. The reader will be hooked to the revelations in several chapters that throw light on how wealthy, powerful and potentially dangerous some of the funds really are and how they have affected historical events. The book also discusses various phases of different hedge funds, how they went about their trading operations to crack the mysteries of the market and earned unprecedented rewards. Recommended reading for anyone who seeks to gain a deeper perspective of the hedge funds industry by viewing it through the lens of oral history.
Book review by Geetika Sachdeva