Wealthy, powerful, and potentially dangerous, hedge-find managers have emerged as the stars of twenty-first century capitalism. Based on unprecedented access to the industry, More Money Than God provides the first authoritative history of hedge funds. This is the inside story of their origins in the 1960s and 1970s, their explosive battles with central banks in the 1980s and 1990s, and finally their role in the financial crisis of 2007-9. Hedge funds reward risk takers, so they tend to attract larger-than-life personalities. Jim Simons began life as a code-breaker and mathematician, co-authoring a paper on theoretical geometry that led to breakthroughs in string theory. Ken Griffin started out trading convertible bonds from his Harvard dorm room. Paul Tudor Jones happily declared that a 1929-style crash would be `total rock-and-roll' for him. Michael Steinhardt was capable of reducing underlings to sobs. `All I want to do is kill myself, ' one said. `Can I watch?' Steinhardt responded. A saga of riches and rich egos, this is also a history of discovery. Drawing on insights from mathematics, economics and psychology to crack the mysteries of the market, hedge funds have transformed the world, spawning new markets in exotic financial instruments and rewriting the rules of capitalism. And while major banks, brokers, home lenders, insurers and money market funds failed or were bailed out during the crisis of 2007-9, the hedge-fund industry survived the test, proving that money can be successfully managed without taxpayer safety nets. Anybody pondering fixes to the financial system could usefully start here: the future of finance lies in the history of hedge funds.
WINNER OF THE 2016 FT & McKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD, this is the biography of one of the titans of financial history over the last fifty years.
Born in 1926, Alan Greenspan was raised in Manhattan by a single mother and immigrant grandparents during the Great Depression but by quiet force of intellect, rose to become a global financial 'maestro'. Appointed by Ronald Reagan to Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a post he held for eighteen years, he presided over an unprecedented period of stability and low inflation, was revered by economists, adored by investors and consulted by leaders from Beijing to Frankfurt.
Both data-hound and eligible society bachelor, Greenspan was a man of contradictions. His great success was to prove the very idea he, an advocate of the Gold standard, doubted: that the discretionary judgements of a money-printing central bank could stabilise an economy. He resigned in 2006, having overseen tumultuous changes in the world's most powerful economy. Yet when the great crash happened only two years later many blamed him, even though he had warned early on of irrational exuberance in the market place.
Sebastian Mallaby brilliantly shows the subtlety and complexity of Alan Greenspan's legacy. Full of beautifully rendered high-octane political infighting, hard hitting dialogue and stories, The Man Who Knew is superbly researched, enormously gripping and the story of the making of modern finance.