Although now long retired, the octogenarian George Soros is widely considered the greatest speculator of all time. Other investors such as Ray Dalio may have made more money for their investors than Soros. Activists such as Carl Icahn may have briefly exceeded Soros's net worth.
But Soros will always remain the man who "broke the Bank of England" in 1992, thereby exemplifying a gunslinging style of trading that has been largely confined to the history books.
Back in 1987, Soros wrote a book about his investment philosophy called The Alchemy of Finance, outlining his "Theory of Reflexivity." Soros admitted he gave his theory such a grand-sounding name so that it would sound like Einstein's "General Theory of Relativity." He thought it was that important.
Wall Street strategist Barton Biggs called it:
"a seminal investment book... it should be read, thought about, underlined page by page, concept-by-idea... (Soros) is the best pure investor ever... probably the finest analyst of our world in our time."
Because of Soros's stature, The Alchemy of Finance turned out to be one of those books that every Wall Street investor said they had read.
But I doubt any of them got through it, let alone understood it.
GEORGE SOROS'S #1 INVESTMENT SECRET: TACKLING 'THE ALCHEMY OF FINANCE'
When I was managing my first investment fund over 20 years ago, I decided that I really wanted to get inside Soros's head. So I took Barton Biggs's advice and read The Alchemy of Finance.
I read it once... I didn't get it...
I read it again...I still didn't get it...
Now, keep in mind that I had been through law school...
... So I was used to stirring concrete with my eyelashes...
... And getting through more poorly written, turgid prose than most humans should have to endure...
But Soros's writing style made judicial opinions seem like Ernest Hemingway's lucid prose.
Then one day I ran across a quote from Soros's own son.
It made everything crystal clear, but not in the way that I expected.