“I am not a professional securities analyst. I would rather call myself an insecurity analyst.” George Soros
“There is nothing new in Wall Street. There can't be because speculation is as old as the hills.” Jesse Livermore
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own” Bruce Lee
Why is it so difficult to find comprehensive and nuanced profiles of history’s most interesting investors?
Why is every generation of investors condemned to figure this out from scratch?
My name is Frederik Gieschen and if you’re interested in learning about the most interesting investors and their ideas, you’ve come to the right place.
I am fascinated by great investors - the people who steer their ships across an ocean of uncertainty in search of treasure, who rise to solve the market’s puzzles every day anew. I am intrigued by their ingenuity and creativity, their discipline and hubris, their triumph and tragedy.
Unfortunately, I believe they are frequently misunderstood. Their insights are reduced to superficial soundbites and much of their wisdom is lost.
There are, of course, a handful of very valuable books covering great investors. But my impression is that much of the valuable information is scattered across books, podcasts, and articles. It is effectively lost to most in the community.
As a result, each generation of investors finds themselves condemned to sift through endless noise and platitudes to rediscover timeless lessons. Figuring this out from scratch is a waste of everyone’s time. Frankly, it frustrates me to no end.
It is my hope that I can contribute to improve this sorry state of affairs and help foster a community by creating an engaging, comprehensive, and insightful collection of investing wisdom and ideas. I hope it will help all of us develop novel and better perspectives on markets and life.
My own journey.
I grew up in picturesque yet rural Southern Germany. Stepping into Manhattan’s concrete canyons for the first time changed my life forever.
After college, I moved to New York to be with one of the world’s most breathtaking women (now my ex wife). I spent more than a decade on Wall Street, cranking in banking, serving at the mercy of immense wealth at two family offices, watching how institutions allocate billions at an investment consulting firm, and finally getting my ass kicked at a hedge fund.
But I never quite fit in. I was always trying to be someone I was not. Life had to hit me like a midnight freight train before I could let go.
After my divorce, I picked up a new hobby. On Saturday mornings, I took a stack of notepads and a sandwich and I made my way to the New York Public Library. Specifically the SIBL building, across from the Empire State Building and a block away from J.P. Morgan’s amazing private library. There I started browsing through microfilms, newspaper databases, and old books.
I was burned out and desperately trying to find that spark, something that would tell me why I was still hanging around the world of financial markets.
I found that these dusty archives and forgotten interviews allowed me to step into the drama of markets. I could watch legends like Julian Robertson navigate their way through momentous events like the 1987 crash. It was a first glimpse at my new mission: to follow my curiosity and create something worth sharing with the world.
I have since written about many of my ups and downs:
This is your wake-up call if you think about starting a hedge fund is hard! (Attempting the Impossible)
Divorce, Denial, Dissonance Reduction: How to lose money and friends (“Everybody gets what they want out of the market.”)
Why study people taking risk for a living?
I view financial markets are the highest abstraction of the global economy, the force that propels us forward with its beat of innovation, production, and transaction. All of its complexity gets reduced to ticker symbols, endless spreadsheets, and jagged charts. In that abstraction we look for patterns and meaning and finally re-synthesize it into a narrative. Then we place our bets.
It’s a microcosm of the human condition, filled with colorful characters; with heroes, villains, adventure, deadly depths, and hidden treasure. It’s a challenge of our wits and a test of our character. It’s a game that forces us to change and adapt or watch our fortunes crumble.
“[Investing is] intolerably boring and over-exacting to anyone who is entirely exempt from the gambling instinct; whilst he who has it must pay to this propensity the appropriate toll.” John Maynard Keynes
“There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money.” Samuel Johnson
To get a feel for my work check out (all free):
David Tepper (The King of Bouncing Back)
Or take a look at the The Most Important Insights
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Leverage is one hell of a drug. Kirk Kerkorian spent a lifetime perfecting its use and rose from school dropout to one of the world’s richest people. Oh, it also cost him much of his fortune in the end.
How did a people person like Michael Bloomberg build the world’s dominant financial information company? (“Small, earned steps – not lucky big hits.”)
Founding supporters of my work - you are my heroes!
Tiger of Passage Investment
Who reads my work?
Frederik 'Neckar' @NeckarValueIn 1987, six college friends made $30 million with their new trading firm. Today they're billionaires, having proven themselves on the trading floor, in poker rooms, on race tracks, even in startups. "In the choice of fame and fortune, they chose fortune."
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