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Paul Singer, Doomsday Investor
August 27, 2018 | The New Yorker | By Sheelah Kolhatkar.

Paul Singer, ,
The head of hedge fund Elliott Management, has developed a uniquely adversarial, and immensely profitable, way of doing business.

Bush had co-founded Athenahealth, a platform that digitizes patient medical records and billing claims for hospitals and health-care providers, in 1999, and he had built it into an enterprise with more than a billion dollars in revenue. One of the firm’s marketing taglines was that it freed doctors and nurses to spend more time doing what they loved—practicing medicine—and less time on paperwork. Athena served more than a hundred thousand health-care providers...... Paul Singer, the founder of Elliott Management and one of the most powerful, and most unyielding, investors in the world. Singer, who is seventy-three, with a trim white beard and oval spectacles, is deeply involved in everything Elliott does. The firm has many kinds of investments, but Singer is best known as an “activist” investor, using his fund’s resources—about thirty-five billion dollars—to buy stock in companies in which it detects weaknesses. Elliott then pressures the company to make changes to its business, with the goal of improving the stock price.....Hedge funds, especially activist hedge funds, are established users of private-investigation services.....The investor acknowledged that Bush was far from perfect, and said that “there is a role for activists to hold managements accountable.” But the investor worried that the focus on the bottom line would undermine the innovative spirit that had made Athena successful. “.....The idea that companies exist solely to serve the interests of shareholders—rather than also to serve workers, customers, and the larger community—has been dominant in the business world in the past thirty years. As the field of activist investing becomes increasingly crowded, many investors are going beyond their original mission of finding ailing or mismanaged companies and pushing them to improve. Instead, some have been targeting larger, financially prosperous companies, such as Procter & Gamble, Apple, and PepsiCo. ......Often, activists advocate for measures that drive up the stock price but can have negative effects in the future, such as the outsourcing of jobs, the elimination of research and development, and the borrowing of money to buy back a company’s own stock. The wisdom of these tactics has come under increasing scrutiny. Some of the most successful businesses to emerge in recent decades have staved off short-term pressures, forcing their investors to be patient with uncertainty and experimentation. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, wrote in an early investor letter that building something new “requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings.” ........Over time, this lack of long-term vision alters the economy—with profound political implications. Businesses are the engine of a country’s employment and wealth creation; when they cater only to stockholders, expenditures on employees’ behalf, whether for raises, job training, or new facilities, come to be seen as a poor use of funds. Eventually, this can result in fewer secure jobs, widening inequality, and political polarization. ..........Bush spoke about his last day in the office, when he had sobbed during his final address to Athena’s employees. He had also written a farewell letter. “I believe that working for something larger than yourself is the greatest thing a human can do. A family, a cause, a company, a country—these things give shape and purpose to an otherwise mechanical and brief human existence,” the letter read. “The downside about things that are larger than ourselves, of course, is that we who have the privilege of serving them ourselves are fungible. It is the fundamental definition. You can’t have the grace of the one without the other......Throughout our conversations, Bush returned to a theme that consumed him. He talked about how investors like Singer—financiers who take the assets built by others and manipulate them like puzzle pieces to make money for themselves—are affecting the country on a grand scale. A healthy country, he said, needs economic biodiversity, with companies of different sizes chasing innovation, or embarking on long, hard projects, without being punished. The disproportionate power of the Wall Street investor class, Bush felt, dampened all that, and gradually made the economy, and most of the people in it, more fragile.
distressed_debt  Elliott_Management  financiers  hard_goals  hard_work  hedge_funds  investors  long-term  patience  Paul_Singer  profile  shareholder_activism  Sheelah_Kolhatkar  time_horizons  vulture_investing  Wall_Street 
august 2018 by jerryking
Business Book of the Year 2017 — the longlist
AUGUST 13, 2017 by: Andrew Hill.

One question for the judges is how durable they think the authors’ analyses of 2017’s shifting technological landscape will prove to be. The jury is expected to give preference to those books “whose insights and influence are most likely to stand the test of time”.

* Tom Friedman, whose bestseller on globalisation was the first Business Book of the Year in 2005. Thank You For Being Late, his latest, extends the thesis, linking personal stories to an analysis of the state of business, innovation, economics and world politics.
* Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh (written with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols) is an upbeat, first-hand account of his effort to devise a successful second act for Microsoft — almost unprecedented in the world of big technology — after the software company missed the mobile revolution.
* Brian Merchant’s The One Device dives deep into the making of Apple’s iPhone, on its 10th anniversary.
* Brad Stone’s The Upstarts, about Airbnb and Uber, narrowly missed this year’s longlist.
* Wild Ride, Adam Lashinsky’s lively analysis of Uber’s rise.
* Self-driving cars — one of the technologies being explored by Uber — feature in Vivek Wadhwa’s The Driver in the Driverless Car (written with Alex Salkever).
* Ellen Pao’s Reset (out next month) tackles the red-hot topic of diversity in Silicon Valley — or lack of it — recounting her experience as venture capitalist and chief executive of Reddit, the social platform.
* Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Things, which examines the “monopoly platforms” built by Facebook, Google, Amazon and others and how they have “cornered culture”.
* Near-misses for the longlist included: Franklin Foer’s soon to be published critique of the tech sector World Without Mind; Machine, Platform, Crowd (the latest from 2014 shortlisted authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee); and The Fuzzy and the Techie by Scott Hartley. Mr Hartley’s book on the relevance of the liberal arts in a tech-led world was born from a proposal that made the final of last year’s Bracken Bower Prize for budding younger authors.
* The Wisdom of Finance by Mihir Desai, which uses literature, history, movies and philosophy to shed light on dry financial theories.
* A Man for All Markets, by Edward Thorp, a mathematician who applied his skills, from Las Vegas to Wall Street, from the blackjack tables to the world of hedge funds.
* Andrew Lo’s Adaptive Markets, a critique of the “efficient markets hypothesis”
* Sheelah Kolhatkar’s Black Edgedescribes how Steven Cohen’s former hedge fund, SAC Capital, built its Wall Street dominance before facing insider trading charges.
* David Enrich’s The Spider Network offers a comprehensive account of the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
* Janesville, by journalist Amy Goldstein, which explores the deeper social — and political — impact of business decisions on ordinary working people. She digs into what happened to people in a small Wisconsin city when General Motors stopped producing cars, overturning the residents’ lives.
* With the exception of Nadella’s Hit Refresh, books about management and leadership fared poorly this year, though Fast/Forward by Julian Birkinshaw and Jonas Ridderstrale, and Freek Vermeulen’s forthcoming Breaking Bad Habits, about what happens when best practice goes bad, came close.
* Economics for the Common Good, by French winner of the Nobel economics prize Jean Tirole, due out in October in English. It makes the case for economics as a positive force on the everyday existence of people and businesses.
* Stephen King’s Grave New World underlines that globalisation is under unprecedented threat.
* Kate Raworth, in Doughnut Economics, makes the case for a new economic model that pays more attention to human and environmental pressures.
* Walter Scheidel’s The Great Leveler, is a sobering history of inequality. Scheidel emphasizes the unavoidable importance of violent events — from plague to revolution — in redressing the economic balance. “All of us who prize greater economic equality would do well to remember that with the rarest of exceptions, it was only ever brought forth in sorrow,” he warns in his conclusion. “Be careful what you wish for.”
best_of  books  booklists  Edward_Thorp  FT  gambling  Las_Vegas  mathematics  Mihir_Desai  Satya_Nadella  Sheelah_Kolhatkar  Tom_Friedman 
august 2017 by jerryking
An Insider-Trading Tale That Reads Like a Thriller - The New York Times
By ANDREW ROSS SORKINFEB. 7, 2017

“Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street,”
nonfiction  hedge_funds  Andrew_Sorkin  books  slight_edge  insider_trading  informational_advantages  Wall_Street  Preet_Bharara  SAC_Capital  Steven_Cohen  book_reviews  white-collar_crime  Sheelah_Kolhatkar 
february 2017 by jerryking
When the Feds Went After the Hedge-Fund Legend Steven A. Cohen - The New Yorker
ANUARY 16, 2017 ISSUE
WHEN THE FEDS WENT AFTER THE HEDGE-FUND LEGEND STEVEN A. COHEN
Inside the government’s nearly ten-year battle against one of the most powerful men on Wall Street.
By Sheelah Kolhatkar
Wall_Street  Preet_Bharara  insider_trading  hedge_funds  SAC_Capital  Steven_Cohen  white-collar_crime  nonpublic  Sheelah_Kolhatkar 
january 2017 by jerryking
Inside the Billionaire Service Industry -
September 2006 | Magazine - The Atlantic | By Sheelah Kolhatkar.

Need designer lighting for your jet? Fancy a dressage horse for your daughter? Have staffing issues in your 50,000-square-foot house? A growing army of experts stands ready to bear any burden for the ultrarich
high_net_worth  concierge_services  training  affluence  Sheelah_Kolhatkar 
october 2011 by jerryking
Cheating, Incorporated - BusinessWeek
February 10, 2011, 5:00PM EST text size: TT
Cheating, Incorporated
At Ashley Madison's website for "dating," the infidelity economy is alive, well, and profitable

By Sheelah Kolhatkar
dating  online_dating  infidelity  relationships  Ashley_Madison  Sheelah_Kolhatkar 
february 2011 by jerryking
The Colossus of Wall Street -
December 9, 2010 | BusinessWeeK | By Sheelah Kolhatkar and
Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam. Bestride the bond and equity markets,
counseling the Treasury and the Fed, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is the
most influential man you've never heard of
BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  U.S._Federal_Reserve  U.S.Treasury_Department  CEOs  Sheelah_Kolhatkar 
december 2010 by jerryking

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