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The Greatest Trades of All Time: Top Traders Making Big Profits from the Crash of 1929 to Today

ISBN: 978-0-470-64599-4
166 pages
October 2011
The Greatest Trades of All Time: Top Traders Making Big Profits from the Crash of 1929 to Today (0470645997) cover image
How top traders made huge profits during the most momentous market events of the past century

Financial and commodity markets are characterized by periodic crashes and upside explosions. In retrospect, the reasons behind these abrupt movements often seem very clear, but generally few people understand what's happening at the time. Top traders and investors like George Soros or Jesse Livermore have stood apart from the crowd and capitalized on their unique insights to capture huge profits.

Engaging and informative, The Greatest Trades of All Time chronicles how a select few traders anticipated market eruptions from the 1929 stock market crash to the 2008 subprime mortgage meltdown and positioned themselves to excel while a majority of others failed. Along the way, author Vincent Veneziani describes the economic and financial forces that led to each market cataclysm and how these individuals perceived what was happening beforehand and why they decided to place big bets, often at great risk and in opposition to consensus opinion at the time.

  • Traders discussed include George Soros, Jesse Livermore, Paul Tudor Jones, John Templeton, and John Paulson
  • Provide contemporary traders and investors with insights on how great traders make great trades
  • Offers insights on market forecasting, mass psychology, and the importance of personal conviction in trading

At a time when many investors are looking to the past for answers to the future, this book brings important historical moments in the financial markets to life.

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Acknowledgments xiii

About the Author xv

Introduction xvii

CHAPTER 1 J. Kyle Bass: Timing Is Everything 1

The Back Story 1

A Few Definitions 2

Bass Asks Why 4

Learning from the Past 6

Shorting Subprime Loans 7

The Best Position 8

The Effects of Abuse 11

Who Was Watching? 13

Re-creating Bass’s Trading Strategies 17

Bass’s Top Traits 17

CHAPTER 2 James Chanos: The Real King of Enron 21

Enter Enron 21

Really Looking at Enron 23

The Best Position 26

Recreating Chanos’s Trading Strategies 28

A More Recent Example 28

Chanos’s Top Traits 30

CHAPTER 3 Paul Tudor Jones II: Legendary Global Macro Trader 31

Following a Genius 31

The Path of Greatness 32

Starting Out 33

Knowing All the Markets 35

Global Macro Trading 36

Elliot Wave Theory 38

More Keys to Jones’s Success 40

Success beyond Trading 43

Recreating Jones’s Trading Strategies 43

Jones’s Top Traits 44

CHAPTER 4 John Templeton: Legendary Mutual Fund Manager 47

What Made Templeton Famous 47

Templeton’s Life before Investing 49

Educational Aspirations 50

The Married Life 52

Templeton’s Big Move 53

Back to New York 54

Looking to the Future, and the Templeton Growth Fund 55

Templeton’s Second Marriage and Fund 56

The Bahamas 57

Recreating Templeton’s Trading Strategies 58

Templeton’s Top Traits 59

CHAPTER 5 Jesse Livermore: Legendary Speculator 61

Livermore’s History 61

At Home in New York 63

Fame and Fortune 63

The Panic of 1907 64

The Crash of 1929 65

Livermore’s Tragic End 66

An Example of Livermore’s Influence Today 68

Recreating Livermore’s Trading Strategies 69

Livermore’s Top Traits 69

CHAPTER 6 John Paulson: The Greatest Trade of All Time 73

Paulson’s Early Career 73

Paulson & Co. 74

The Greatest Trade 74

Recreating Paulson’s Trading Strategies 79

Paulson’s Top Traits 81

CHAPTER 7 George Soros: From Humble Beginnings to World Trader 83

Soros’s Famous Trades 84

The Hardships of a Trading Genius 87

Going to School in London 88

Work in New York 90

Joining the Big Leagues 91

Finding Himself 93

Crashing from Success 95

A New Prot´eg´e 97

Onto the World Stage 98

The Backlash 100

A Conflicted Mind 101

A New Era 101

Recreating Soros’s Trading Strategies 102

Soros’s Top Traits 103

CHAPTER 8 David Einhorn: A Company’s Worst Nightmare 105

Allied Is Not an Ally 105

Lucky Lehman 108

The Great Beyond 110

Recreating Einhorn’s Trading Strategies 111

Einhorn’s Top Traits 112

CHAPTER 9 Martin Schwartz: From Amateur to Superstar 115

Start Small, Go Big 115

Trading Like a Rock Star 117

Winding Down 118

Recreating Schwartz’s Trading Strategies 120

Schwartz’s Top Traits 121

CHAPTER 10 John Arnold: Master of Energy 123

Success at Enron 123

Centaurus Energy 124

The Explosion 126

Recreating Arnold’s Trading Strategies 127

Crude Oil 127

Natural Gas 128

Arnold’s Top Traits 130

CHAPTER 11 More Great Trades: Phillip Falcone, David Tepper, Andrew Hall, Greg Lippmann 131

Phillip Falcone 131

Recreating Falcone’s Trading Strategies 134

David Tepper 135

Recreating Tepper’s Trading Strategies 136

Andrew Hall 138

Recreating Hall’s Trading Strategies 139

Greg Lippmann 141

Recreating Lippmann’s Trading Strategies 143

In Summary 144

Notes 147

Glossary 149

References 151

Helpful Web Sites 157

Index 161

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Vincent Veneziani is a trader and writer on markets, financial news, hedge funds, and??economics for financial publisher Markets Media. He has also appeared on CNBC, Russia Today, and the BBC as a commentator. Previously, Veneziani worked at Business Insider covering Wall Street and the economy. He has also written in the past for Gawker Media, AOL, the New York Daily News, Popular Mechanics, and TechCrunch. Veneziani currently resides in New York City.

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September 19, 2011
The Greatest Trades of All Time

The Greatest Trades of All Time

Top Traders Making Big Profits from the Crash of 1929 to Today
By Vincent W. Veneziani  

Financial and commodity markets are characterized by periodic crashes and upside explosions.  In retrospect, the reasons behind these abrupt movements often seem very clear, but generally few people understand what's happening at the time of the moves, and fewer still have the conviction to make a big bet to capitalize on their unique insights. However, some top traders and investors have the ability to stand apart from the crowd, embrace a view that is contrary to other market players, and the willingness to make a big bet.  When markets break their way and there's a mad rush to get in or out of the market by the general public, the traders who got in early make the huge profits.  

The Greatest Trades of All Time: Top Traders Making Big Profits from the Crash of 1929 to Today (Wiley; Oct. 2011; $45.00; 978-0-470-64599-4) Author Vince W. Veneziani, a trader and writer on markets, financial news, hedge funds, and economics for financial publisher Markets Media, describes how top traders made huge profits during the most momentous market events of the past century.  From the 1929 stock market crash to the 2008 subprime mortgage meltdown, this book chronicles how a select few traders anticipated market eruptions and positioned themselves to reap huge profits. 

 

Traders and events discussed include:

  • Paul Tudor Jones, who shorted the stocks prior to October 19, 1987, the most severe one-day crash since 1929
  • George Soros, who made an estimated $1 billion shorting the British pound during a currency crisis in the 1990s
  • Jim Chanos, who spotted Enron's fraud early on and shorted the stock prior to its complete collapse
  • John Templeton, whose career was bracketed by two amazing trades: buying undervalued U.S. stocks near the end of the Depression, just prior to World War II, and shorting Internet stocks just prior to the collapse of the Internet bubble in 2001
  • John Paulson, who shorted subprime mortgages in 2008, capitalizing on the collapse of the U.S. housing bubble
  • Jesse Livermore, who shorted stocks and made a fortune in the 1929 stock market crash

Veneziani describes the economic and financial forces that led to each market cataclysm and how these individual traders perceived what was happening beforehand and decided to place big bets, often at great risk and in opposition to consensus opinion at the time.  This book brings to life important historical moments in the financial markets and provides contemporary traders and investors insight on how great traders make great trades.

The Greatest of All Time is a fascinating historical narrative on how big traders profited during financial market upheavals from one of the top business experts out there.  It is for anyone interested in the history of trade and profit and for anyone looking to learn from some of the best traders in our history. 

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