Five Good Questions: William Green – The Great Minds Of InvestingVW Staff
William Green is the author of “The Great Minds of Investing.” He has written for The New Yorker, Time, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Bloomberg, and The Economist. He edited the Asian, European, Middle Eastern and African editions of Time.
William Green – The Great Minds Of Investing
The Great Minds Of Investing – Description
The Great Minds of Investing by William Green
This landmark book provides a rich array of perspectives on 33 of the greatest investors of our time. It features William Green’s extraordinary profiles of investors such as Joel Greenblatt, Howard Marks, Irving Kahn, Bill Ackman, Mario Gabelli, Mason Hawkins, Jean-Marie Eveillard, Bill Miller, Mohnish Pabrai, Thomas Russo, Marty Whitman, Bill Nygren, John Spears, Tom Gayner, and Donald Yacktman. The book also features remarkable profiles of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger based on in-depth interviews by Gisela Baur, who has known them for many years. All 33 profiles are accompanied by stunning portraits by Michael O’Brien, one of America’s preeminent photographers. Over five years, O’Brien traveled the world to produce these intimate and iconic portraits.
By combining photographs and profiles in this unique way, “The Great Minds of Investing” offers both a visual delight and a treasure trove of wisdom. It provides deep insight into the lives, minds and ideas of these famous investors, illuminating the qualities and principles that have enabled them to achieve enduring success. Any investor will benefit from this powerful financial wisdom. These legendary investors also share many personal lessons they have learned beyond investing, speaking candidly about such topics as family, faith, money, luck, philanthropy, and what it takes to build a truly successful life. The result is an enriching and inspiring book that is destined to be read for decades to come.
The Great Minds Of Investing – Review
This is a difficult book to review. Let me tell you what it is not, and then let me tell you what it is more easily as a result.
1) The book does not give you detailed biographies of the people that it features. Indeed, the writing on each person is less than the amount that Ken Fisher wrote in his book, 100 Minds That Made the Market. If you are looking for detailed biographical sketches, you will be disappointed.
2) The book does not give detailed and comparable reviews of the portfolio performance of those that it features. There’s no way from what is written to tell really how good many of the investors are. I mean, I would want to see dollar-weighted rates of return, and perhaps, measures of dollar alpha. The truly best managers have expansive strategies that can perform well managing a large amount of money.
3) The book admits that the managers selected may not be the greatest, but are some of the “greats.” Okay, fair enough, but I would argue that a few of the managers don’t deserve to be featured even as that if you review their dollar-weighted performance. A few of them showed that they did not pay adequate attention to margin of safety in the recent financial crisis, and lost a lot of money for people at the time that they should have been the most careful.
4) If you wanted to understand the strategies of the managers, this is not the book for you. They are not described, except in the broadest terms.
5) There is no integration of any common themes of what makes an investment manager great. You don’t get a necklace; you just get a jar of pretty, non-comparable beads that don’t have any holes in them.