How To Expose the Hedge Fund Industry: Write a Book And Shut Yours Down

I own 7 stocks. My average holding period is about 2 years. I am on the exact opposite side of the aisle as day traders. Value investing simply fits my personality. I like to do in-depth analysis and I don’t mind going against the grain. So, when Tim Sykes offered me the chance to review his book An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 Million As A Stock Operator and Created a Hedge Fund, I was skeptical that I would be interested enough to finish the book. I was wrong. Tim’s story of his massive stock gains, his day trading roller coaster rides, and his entrance into the hedge fund industry was fascinating. The book is like a soap opera for people who like finance and investing.

The basic story is this… Tim took a $12,000 Bar Mitzvah gift and built it to $1.65 million over the next few years. Then he went on to create his own hedge fund, but struggled to find investors, and learned the rough inner workings of the hedge fund industry. Since hedge funds operators are limited in what they can say about how the industry works, Tim decided to expose everything that he learned by closing his hedge fund the day his book came out.

The book is unique because of Tim’s openness and honesty. He takes the reader on an emotional tour of the highs that come from large short-term gains, and the struggle to deal with losing large amounts of money on other trades. Tim struggles to balance college classes with his stock trading, and finds that his trading obsession makes it difficult to fit in as a “normal” college student. He discusses his stint as a reality tv star, and his nervousness about appearing on CNBC.

If you are looking for a good read – something that is as engaging and interesting as a fictional work but also educational and biographical, check out Tim’s book. It is an open, honest, and fresh look at the worlds of day trading, hedge funds, and Wall Street finance. I highly recommend it.

  • Jason Tang

    I don’t know that Tim Syke’s book is that accurate a view of the industry. It is true that the alternative investments feel is becoming less of a wild place, gunslingers like Soros are no longer the big guys. Tim’s fund was in many ways a dying breed – most institutional clients care more about steady, absolute returns than eye-popping numbers. His style of trading seems to be like Niederhoffer’s, and simply put, those sorts of returns aren’t what most people are looking for.

    If you want a great book about Wall Street finance in general from a practitioner, you should check out Satyajit Das’ book, Traders, Guns and Money. Any book that gets its title from Warren Zevon can’t be bad.

  • Steve Cohen

    I READ SYKES BOOK AND IT HAS NO SUBSTANCE. THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER BOOKS THAT COVER THE SAME SUBJECT MATTER FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO EVEN AUTHOR A BOOK ON THE SUBJECT.

    THIS WORTHLESS BOOK IS JUST AN ATTEMPT AT COMING UP WITH A CATCHY TITLE TO GENERATE HITS ON A SEARCH ENGINE. SAME OLD TIRED INFORMATION PRESENTED.

    SYKES IS A FAILED HEDGE FUND MANAGER, NOW BECOMING A SNAKE OIL BOOK SALESMAN. NOT WORTH $20.

  • Ben S.

    I read Tim Sykes mediocre hedge fund book since I knew him at Tulane, and like him as a person. However, the book is an empty and uninspiring story about how Sykes became a self-absorbed irresponsible stock trader. This book is NOT a “classic” and story is NOT “Rocky-like”(as author Sykes claims). This book is basically like a blog of an average person who got lucky trading stocks and then his luck ran out (which it really should be – blog and nothing more).

    Beware of all the phony glowing reviews for Sykes Book. Its the good ole boy network in high gear where authors/investment advisers use the buddy system to give fake good reviews to each other.

    Sykes put the term “stock operator” in title in order to confuse all future book searches for Jesse Livermore’s excellent story (Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, by Edwin Lefèvre (1923)). This cheesy trick might help book sales, but needless to say, Sykes has nothing in common with the great trader Livermore.

    Sykes comes across like a hyper/immature/video game player-type Trader, which worked for him for a few years; then the law of averages caught up with him. His “return to the mean” continues during the past two years; and his very poor investment strategies are DOWN -37% since Jan 2006. His continuous bad performance throughout 2007 shows that he does not learn from his mistakes; and readers can only cringe while watching Sykes slow motion demise into a worthless snake oil salesman.

  • Jon T.

    Ok, I just recently learned of this guy, Tim Sykes, and have visited the web site he set up, read his book , and watched a few of his idiotic appearances on various news outlets such as CNBC. This is HILARIOUS.

    Tim, if you are reading this, listen up:

    Much of what I’ll say is redundant but you know NOTHING about what you claim to know about. You are a rank amateur who has learned enough surface information about an industry so as to come across as being knowledgeable enough about it to teach to others. The only people that take you seriously are complete newcomers to this game that know next to nothing, because to a complete amateur you sound like you know what you are talking about. You have learned enough about trading to pretend and claim to have traded and that’s about it.

    Trading your parents money via an online retail account is not a fund, but is laughable. Your story is just that, a story. “I turned my 12k bar mitzvah money into 2 million”. It reads like bad spam I get in my inbox but the journalists eat it up like cake. Your web site is hilarious because you are an enormous idiot and I will continue to visit it for free laughs. I wonder if you know how stupid you are or if you have truly convinced yourself that you have learned something valuable enough to write about?