Killing the Market: Legendary Investor Robert W Wilson by Roemer McPhee Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Killing the Market: Legendary Investor Robert W Wilson

Robert W. Wilson is the greatest investor of all time, on the only criterion that counts: percentage return on capital. What you make with what you have, what you started out with. Wilson would be the first to point out that there are investors richer than himself; but on a percentage-return basis, he is unmatched, and untouched. He received $15,000 from his mother in 1958

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    Dennis Littrell

    Jul 21, 2016

    rated it
    really liked it

    Will satisfy some curiosity about how Robert W. Wilson did it

    This sketch (88 pages) of Wilson’s career focuses on the stock market trades that he made during the latter part of the twentieth century and on his work as a philanthropist. Author Roemer McPhee does not delve much into Wilson’s private life, leaving this reader with a desire to know more about what kind of man Wilson actually was. The fact that he ran a five figure inheritance into something like $800-million just by investing the in

    This sketch (88 pages) of Wilson’s career focuses on the stock market trades that he made during the latter part of the twentieth century and on his work as a philanthropist. Author Roemer McPhee does not delve much into Wilson’s private life, leaving this reader with a desire to know more about what kind of man Wilson actually was. The fact that he ran a five figure inheritance into something like $800-million just by investing the in the stock market is of course extraordinary. And that he gave it all away before jumping out the window of his apartment across the street from Central Park in New York City at age 87 is also extraordinary. We can guess that he was a “limousine liberal” since he gave $40-million to the New York Public Library and was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union for something like 40 years. But in fact he was a true liberal who cared deeply about his fellow human beings and our planet as evidenced by the hundreds of millions of dollars that he gave to such stalwart charities as The Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, the World Monuments Fund, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Additionally he gave $45-million to New York City’s Catholic schools.

    I was particularly interested in his actual stock picks and pans. (His portfolio typically contained 20% in short positions.) It is impossible to discern how Wilson was so good at figuring out which stocks were going up and which were going down. It would seem that Wilson worked extraordinarily long and hard at what is termed fundamental analysis while keeping a close watch on the market’s herd mentality through technical analysis. What struck me about Wilson’s strategy was the leverage he used and the amount of hedging. While hedging mitigates against the possibility of catastrophe (called “gambler’s ruin” in some circles) it tends to temper overall returns. But while Wilson was protecting his downside by hedging he greatly increased his upside by borrowing large amounts from brokers and banks for his investments. According to McPhee, Wilson typically margined 80% of his investments. This is a strategy that by itself is worthless. The key is being able to buy winners and sell short losers. To do this you simply have to be a great investor, period, or gosh-darn lucky.

    One of the more interesting stories in the book is Wilson’s great misadventure with Resorts International which he sold short beginning at about $16 a share. He rode the bull as it climbed and climbed and climbed before he bailed out when it hit something like $187, losing $25-million. That was in 1978. No big deal, especially when his portfolio went from $28-million at the end of the year to $81-million two years later. And then to $100-million and up, up and up to eventually the $800-million mentioned above.

    Could he have just been lucky? As some people have pointed out if you have a sampling of hundreds of investors, by chance a few of the successful ones were just lucky. That is the law of averages. And that is the experience of your average hedge fund. We’ve seen hedge fund managers have a great year and no more thereafter, and we might guess they were just lucky that year. However Wilson’s success goes beyond anything having to do with luck. He was just a great investor as touted.

    This book is interesting if you are a stock market investor. And if you lived and traded during the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties, it might be especially fascinating. McPhee’s narrative gives us some gloss into how some of the prominent old line companies such as IBM, Compaq, Wendy’s, Lockheed, American Airlines and some startups built their businesses . It was an exciting time for an investor if you had the right vibe or a penetrating and informed insight into what was happening.

    Ultimately though I think McPhee could have done a better job with this book. He needed to not only shine more light on Wilson the man but he could have hired a professional editor and done some serious legwork. There’s a lot of needless repetition in the text sometimes with nearly the same expression and information given a few paragraphs or a page later. On the other hand, McPhee’s prose is definitely readable.

    –Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

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    Sai Krishna

    Dec 18, 2017

    rated it
    really liked it

    Very little literature is available on Robert Wilson and his investment philosophy. This book provides a peek into the investing and philanthropic life of Wilson. His investing approach is unlike any other investing legends as he aimed to become a self made billionaire from just managing his proprietary capital. Bob demolishes the common notion that leverage is bad, and if put to use effectively and with discipline, can compound returns and create wealth much quicker.

    Norm Goldman

    May 18, 2016

    rated it
    really liked it

    If you could liken a superstar Wall Street investor to Beethoven or Mozart, Robert W. Wilson would be right up there as the ideal comparison. His Wall Street career spanned five decades beginning in 1958 when his mother gave him an inheritance of $15, 000 in cash. By the year 2000 his net worth was approximately $800 million when he turned to philanthropy giving most of his wealth away including more than $500 million to various institutions. Apparently, he had made more money faster in the stoc

    Who exactly was this investor-turned- philanthropist? Was he a lucky gambler with an enormous risk tolerance or an astute savvy investor who always expected to win relying on patience, persistence, minimizing mistakes, and understanding the difference between time and timing?

    Roemer McPhee, who was educated in history at Princeton University and in finance at the Wharton Graduate School of Business strongly believes that there are few things more powerful than a good example and in the world of investing you certainly can make better investment decisions by studying the financial philosophies of the best in the business. In his most recent tome, Killing the Market: Legendary Investor Robert W. Wilson works from the outside in to better understand the modus operandi of Wilson through citing various investments taken from Wilson’s portfolio.

    Although Wilson left very few autobiographical traces behind, McPhee, who mentions that he had met him on the social scene after 1989, was able to draw on several business articles concerning his investing acumen particularly that he was often followed in detail by such publications as Barron’s, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Business Week and others as well as various writings concerned with the world of philanthropy.

    Consequently, through this extensive research McPhee pieces together and examines several of the two hundred stock positions that were owned by Wilson at one time or another. These comprised such household names as Datapoint, Bowmar Instrument, Lockeed Aircraft, Baldwin-United, Compaq Computer Corp, Burroughs, Pizza Time Theater, Tandy Corporation, Denny’s Restaurants, American Airlines and Federal Express.

    As an illustration of Wilson’s astuteness and sixth sense for self-protection as well as self-preservation, McPhee points to his long position in Compaq Computer when in 1983 he smelled an innovator which in his case meant huge capital gains. Compaq was eventually purchased by Hewlett-Packard twenty years late for $25 billion.

    One of Wilson’s most recognized strengths was his expertise in short-selling and earned him a fortune as the founding partner of a hedge fund firm, Wilson & Associates. He believed that in short-selling he would never be wiped out in a downturn.

    Short-selling consists of selling borrowed shares of stock, betting that will will go down in value before it has to be bought as its most recent closing price. An example of this strategy where Wilson profited handsomely was in 1984 with the famous old Automat food vendor Horn & Hardart where he waited and predicted the downfall of the company. As McPhee states” “This is the kind of short sale that many professional short-sellers take. They wait for certain business doom, with a stock price still alive in the public market, because at that point every share you sell, every dollar you raise by selling stock, is going straight into your bank account.” On the other hand, one of his short-selling ventures did not turn out as planned when in 1978 he bet against Resorts International which had just built the first casino in Atlantic City with a short-sell of 220,000 common shares when the price was around $15 and by the time the stock reached $190 he cut his losses and was out about $10 million.

    Wilson was always thorough in his research and throughout his career read the business press voraciously. He also networked a great deal and would exchange ideas with other investors. When Datapoint came out with a small public offering he was immediately interested and loaded up with it and never looked back. In fact, he held it during its ride that lasted a dozen years from 1969 to 1982 which gave him a return of fourteen times his money or a 1,300% gain.

    At the age of eighty-seven and after suffering two strokes Wilson sadly died after leaping from his 16th floor apartment residence on Manhattan’s Central Park West. Ironically, he was just as pragmatic in death as he was in life as he left a suicide note where he wrote:

    “I had a rewarding life. Thank you and goodbye to all my friends. Please make sure you cancel all my plans. Tell everyone what I did. I’m not ashamed of killing myself. Sell all my stuff,” the note read, according to law-enforcement sources.”

    Killing the Market is by no means an exhaustive study but it does provide readers with a good idea as to what made Wilson tick and how he became an icon of the investment world.

    Follow Here http://goo.gl/EC9kXC To Read Norm’s Interview With Roemer McPhee


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