Martin Lee @ Sg
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The Greatest Trade Ever

The Greatest Trade Ever is a book written by Gregory Zuckerman that tells the (true) story of how John Paulson made financial history on Wall Street by betting against the subprime.

Unlike The Big Short which gave equal emphasis to a few major characters, this book is more focused around John Paulson. We learn about his background and subsequent involvement in the biggest trade of his life.

Inevitably, the few central characters in Michael Lewis’s book were also mentioned in this book. People like Greg Lippmann and Michael Burry had their story told again, which I found consistent in both books.

However, there was a character in the book called Andrew Lahde that I wanted to talk about. 35 years of age in 2006, out of job and with little left in his savings account, he could sense the opportunity and tried to set up a hedge fund (operating from his apartment).

He was wildly successful and retired at the end of 2008 after his big bet paid off. At the end of it all, he closed the hedge fund and sent a letter to all his investors, part of which I would like to share with you:

I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest.

That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others  try to amass nine, ten or eleven-figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the nest three months, they look forward to their two-week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Black Berries or other such devices.

What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Ballmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Black Berry away and enjoy life.”

Judging from what Andrew wrote, he probably had a eight figure net worth. While I do not agree with everything that he wrote, he does have a point.

So, my question to you is this: Are you working so hard that you are ignoring the important things which are in your life right now?

Think about it.

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