Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Wall Street on the Tundra

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Vanity Fair (April 2009 edition)

Iceland’s de facto bankruptcy-its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance-resulted from a stunning collective madness. What led a tiny fishing nation, population 300,000, to decide, around 2003, to re-invent itself as a global financial power? In Reykjavík, where men are men, and the women seem to have completely given up on them, the author follows the peculiarly Icelandic logic behind the meltdown.

link: Wall Street on the Tundra

And bonus quote:

“Yes, I know Björk,” a professor of finance at the University of Iceland says in reply to my question, in a weary tone. “She can’t sing, and I know her mother from childhood, and they were both crazy. That she is so well known outside of Iceland tells me more about the world than it does about Björk.”

The End of the Financial World as We Know It

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

New York Times Op-Ed, with David Einhorn (January 3, 2009)

This is one reason the collapse of our financial system has inspired not merely a national but a global crisis of confidence. Good God, the world seems to be saying, if they don’t know what they are doing with money, who does?


The End

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine (December 2008 issue)

The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong.


The Mansion

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

“The Mansion: A Subprime Parable”

Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine (October 2008 issue)

When Michael Lewis and his family move into a house they can’t afford, he gets a taste of the new American nightmare.

via Michael Lewis’ Mansion –

Inside Wall Street's Black Hole

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine (March 2008 issue)

For years, investors have relied on a complex formula to manage risk. But what happens if the Black-Scholes model is wrong—and we’re in bigger trouble than ever?

via Inside Wall Street’s Black Hole –

The Evolution of an Investor

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Conde Nast Portfolio (December 2007 issue)

Really, he just wanted to be a success. How that happened, he didn’t much care. So in 1987, at the peak of the bull market, he landed a job with investment firm E.F. Hutton in Los Angeles. A few weeks into Blaine’s training program, E.F. Hutton collapsed following a check-kiting scandal and was sold to Shearson Lehman. Blaine’s training at Lehman consisted of a monthlong class, which focused mainly on overcoming customers’ objections, and a close reading of the bible on how to peddle stocks to people you’ve never met: Successful Telephone Selling in the ’80s, co-written by a Lehman managing director named Martin Shafiroff.

via Blaine Lourd Profile –

In Nature's Casino

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

New York Times Magazine (August 26, 2007)

If, after World War II, you had set out to redistribute wealth to maximize the sums that might be lost to nature, you couldn’t have done much better than Americans had done. And virtually no one — not even the weather bookies — fully understood the true odds.

But there was an exception: an American so improbably prepared for the havoc Tropical Depression 12 was about to wreak that he might as well have planned it. His name was John Seo, he was 39 years old and he ran a hedge fund in Westport, Conn., whose chief purpose was to persuade investors to think about catastrophe in the same peculiar way that he did.

via New Orleans – Hurricane Katrina – Housing – Insurance – Natural Disasters and Storms – Real Estate – New York Times

The Jock Exchange

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine (May 2007 issue)

Wall Street is about to launch a new way to trade professional athletes the way you trade stocks. A piece of Tiger, anyone?

via The Jock Exchange –

The Irresponsible Investor

Sunday, June 6th, 2004

New York Times (June 6, 2004)

In their recent letter to financial markets in which they lay out the ground rules for their public-share offering, the company’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, insist that Rule No.1 will be ”Don’t be evil.” This, they seem to think, will strike their audience as a radical idea. That is because the audience consists, mainly, of investors. Five long years in Silicon Valley have apparently taught the Google founders a great deal about the people who are about to make them billionaires.

via The Irresponsible Investor – New York Times

In Defense of the Boom

Sunday, October 27th, 2002

New York Times (October 27, 2002)

If the New York attorney general wanted to prove that the firm’s analysts had been wildly optimistic about the Internet, and that their optimism helped the firm’s investment bankers attract Internet business, and that there was, therefore, a deep conflict of interest on Wall Street, all he needed was an Internet search engine.

If you go back and read the public record, you can see clearly what people on Wall Street did between April 1995, when Netscape invented the Internet Initial Public Offering, or I.P.O., and the spring of 2000, when Internet stocks crashed. The story was never hidden, because Wall Street never tried to hide it. Indeed, you can pinpoint the very moment when Merrill Lynch signed on to the boom, and in what spirit they joined the party.

via In Defense of the Boom – New York Times