An assemblage of a professional investor’s blog posts about the management of one’s financial assets.
Debut author Weil retired in 1995 from a successful career as a hedge fund manager. At the enthusiastic urging of his daughters, he started a blog about the stewardship of financial assets and maintained it for nine years, running from 2007 to 2016. By his own account, he’s a less than prolific writer. In 2008, the momentous year of the mortgage crisis, he posted 17 entries, and in 2016, only one, which covered Brexit. The author describes himself as a contrarian and essentially risk averse. He prefers an atypical “top down” approach to hedge fund management, which begins with a basic decision regarding what percentage of one’s funds will be directed to equities and what percentage will be slated for fixed income rather than starting with the selection of individual stocks. He covers a wide range of topics with confident expertise. Some of his discussions are more imminently practical: how to properly deleverage oneself, when to buy into a bear market, or how to read the market’s “sentiment indicators.” Other posts are more broadly conceived: the government’s response to the mortgage crisis, China’s future economic challenges, or how hedge funds can be a destabilizing force. Thrown in are plenty of tantalizing apercus—the author proposes a theory about Bernie Madoff’s descent into criminality and considers the condominium market in Manhattan. The writing is crisp and often infused with charming personality: “You can assume that these are the meanderings of an addlepated geezer or reflections of someone who had spent several decades as a hedge fund manager, still retains most of his brain cells, and wishes to share his experiences and observations about the current state of financial assets.” This book isn’t written for the neophyte—if you don’t know what a Fibonacci number is, he encourages you to Google it. Also, one wishes the author fleshed out the basic principles of his approach more, perhaps in place of some of the more dated discussions.
A thoughtful but scattered reflection on the last decade of the country’s financial vicissitudes.