- Paperback: 391 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 2007 or Later Printing edition (June 15, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471445495
- ISBN-13: 978-0471445494
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 107 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Alchemy of Finance 2007 or Later Printing Edition
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From the Back Cover
"An honest struggle by an independent and searching mind to break through an old and stale orthodoxy with new and meaningful insights into financial and human behavior" Paul A. Volcker
"An extraordinary . . . inside look into the decision-making process of the most successful money manager of our time. Fantastic." The Wall Street Journal
"A breathtakingly brilliant book. Soros is one of the core of masters . . . who can actually begin to digest the astonishing complexity . . . of the game of finance in recent years." Esquire
"A seminal investment book . . . it should be read, underlined, and thought about page by page, concept by idea. . . . He's the best pure investor ever . . . probably the finest analyst of the world in our time." Barton M. Biggs Director, BKF Capital Group, Inc.
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I would recommend to anyone who wanted to peer inside the Palindromes mind to go and first read "Soros on Soros" which is a kind of brief overview of the ideas offered in this book but done in an interview style so the writing is much more cogent and readable. But, once you have finished that I would definitely recommend reading "Alchemy..." The ideas and information offered inside are powerful and game changing to those who can understand them- which certainly doesn't take a PHD, just an open mind and bit of thought.
In fact, it was after reading this book that the young Stanley Drunkenmiller sought out George Soros and asked to work with him, and Paul Tudor Jones, made it a requirement to read and understand this book before joining his fund. If that is not enough of a referral then I don't know what is. Read this book, take notes, and internalize the lessons and ideas inside and you will much better off for it.
It's an important framework in thinking about oil and gas prices too.
Here's another thing. George Soros is a self-made billionaire. You aren't. Neither am I. Some have commented that he had charges of insider trading against him. This is true. But what you may not know is just how much European securities and trading regulators hate him. He broke the pound, for God's sake. To dismiss him as "a criminal" is silly at best, reactionary at worst.
Even worse are the geniuses who say Soros is "shallow" "trivial" "obvious" or "invalid". These comments smack of utter arrogance, and likely, ignorance.
Look at the problems of today. They were caused by people applying "valid" academic financial theory and "sound" models. There is a veritable mountain of data and modeling supporting the catastrophe at hand. But the academics will handwave the actual result of application of theory with some phrase like "It wasn't properly applied. If only you'd asked ME!"
I myself wonder if the underlying error is in believing that finance is a scientific discipline, and that it will yield its secrets when the method is properly applied, like the production of industrial chemicals, or something like that. The tangible results of the application of increasingly complex models and theory are, to be mild, not encouraging.
In my observation, the greatest investors apply simple concepts with great discernment and acuity. They rarely, if ever, let even a well-understood "portfolio theory" tell them what to think, let alone how to invest. It might be that such investors really can't explain how they do it, it's simply a gift from heaven. That seems entirely possible. Lots of people try to be like Warren Buffet, no one succeeds at the same level, despite Buffet being quite open about his methodology and thought processes. But let's assume you can learn something from these sports of nature.
I find many of Soros' thoughts quite penetrating, despite his often baroque ornamentation. Applying them is hard, because you can't easily throw it into a model. You have to think, analyze and understand conditions with subtlety and precision. Then you have to be incredibly brave and believe in your analysis against the weight of the world's opinion and action. You have to accurately gauge the effect of a constantly altering, and self-referential decision loop on you positions and outlook. Soros is trying to provide a method for you to do that. He may not have succeeded, but dismissing him outright is the action of an idiot.
Soros is holding back almost all of his secrets in this book. Investors in 2013 and beyond aren't going to learn much in the way of practical information but do get some philosophical questions to consider. You can learn from the mistakes of others by reading this. History is doomed to repeat (or at least rhyme) so you can learn from this investment legend's perspective. The title is intriguing but the book is very complicated and doesn't do a great job of explaining things throughout.