Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review of David Einhorn's Fooling Some of the People All of The Time

This is the start of a new feature for me. I'll pick a business related book and post a short review.

David Einhorn: Fooling Some of the People All Of The Time (2008)

David Einhorn is a very well-regarded hedge fund manager. After finding irregularities in a company called Allied Capital's financial statements, Einhorn went short the stock. Einhorn discussed his position that Allied Capital was in trouble at public forums. Then the nightmare began. Allied Capital waged a personal war against Einhorn that involves issues of Einhorn's free speech and the perception of short selling as wrong and injurious to capitalism (it's nothing of the kind IMO).

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) eventually caught up to Allied Capital (which has still not admitted to wrongdoing). This book is about the right to be unpopular and the integrity of the financial system.

Einhorn gives many colorful examples of his thought process in identifying accounting sleights of hand. The examples range over several different companies and decades. It's an eye opener for most of us.

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