Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Red Notice

Bill Browder's Red Notice was a difficult book to put down. It's the real-life story of Bill Browder's Russian hedge fund, but it feels like fiction: what happens to Browder and his associates feels straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster thriller.

Browder seems to be a guy with a lot of initiative and a lot of talent. I never hear much about Bill Browder as a successful value investor but he appears to be one through and through. He escapes the institutional imperative that bogs him down at his day job and strikes out on his own by launching a Russian hedge fund. He sees the value in going to areas no one else finds interesting, he looks for huge margins of safety, and he does a bunch of scuttlebutt to make sure he's found what he thinks he's found.

In Russia, he found a boatload of undervalued companies through a combination of luck and skill, and ended up making a killing in the process. But he pissed off some rich Russian oligarchs in the process, who try to dilute his holdings.

Not one to back away from a fight, Browder fights back, and the ensuing battle results in billion-dollar theft and murder. Browder is still fighting, as he has successfully changed laws in developed countries in order to sanction those in Russia who would stop at nothing to loot their own country for their own benefit.

I highly recommend the book to all investors. Had I read this book a decade ago (which is impossible of course since it just came out), I may not have been duped by any Chinese frauds. (Or I may still have, but it's nice to think otherwise!)

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