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Soros on Soros interweaves financial theory and personal reminiscence, political analysis and moral reflection to offer a compelling portrait of the world (and its markets) according to Soros. In an interview-style narrative with Byron Wien, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and with German journalist Krisztina Koenen, Soros vividly describes the genesis of his brillian Soros on Soros interweaves financial theory and personal reminiscence, political analysis and moral reflection to offer a compelling portrait of the world (and its markets) according to Soros. In an interview-style narrative with Byron Wien, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and with German journalist Krisztina Koenen, Soros vividly describes the genesis of his brilliant financial career and shares his views on investing and global finance, politics and the emerging world order, and the responsibility of power. Speaking with remarkable candor, he traces his progress from Holocaust survivor to philosophy student, unsuccessful tobacco salesman to the world's most powerful and profitable trader and introduces us to the people and events that helped shape his character and his often controversial views. Finally, turning his attention to international politics, Soros offers keen insights into the current state of affairs in Russia and the former communist bloc countries and analyzes the reasons behind and likely consequences of the West's failure to properly integrate them into the free world. He also explores the crisis of the ERM and analyzes the pros and cons of investing in a number of emerging markets.


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Soros on Soros interweaves financial theory and personal reminiscence, political analysis and moral reflection to offer a compelling portrait of the world (and its markets) according to Soros. In an interview-style narrative with Byron Wien, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and with German journalist Krisztina Koenen, Soros vividly describes the genesis of his brillian Soros on Soros interweaves financial theory and personal reminiscence, political analysis and moral reflection to offer a compelling portrait of the world (and its markets) according to Soros. In an interview-style narrative with Byron Wien, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and with German journalist Krisztina Koenen, Soros vividly describes the genesis of his brilliant financial career and shares his views on investing and global finance, politics and the emerging world order, and the responsibility of power. Speaking with remarkable candor, he traces his progress from Holocaust survivor to philosophy student, unsuccessful tobacco salesman to the world's most powerful and profitable trader and introduces us to the people and events that helped shape his character and his often controversial views. Finally, turning his attention to international politics, Soros offers keen insights into the current state of affairs in Russia and the former communist bloc countries and analyzes the reasons behind and likely consequences of the West's failure to properly integrate them into the free world. He also explores the crisis of the ERM and analyzes the pros and cons of investing in a number of emerging markets.

30 review for Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    George Soros is fucking awesome! I didn't read the whole book, I mostly stuck to the stuff about his philanthropy, his philosophy, and his ideas about open and closed societies. Apparently, his philosophy is faulted, but I admire that he's invested so much thought into it and tried his best to work out the kinks and to apply it to his life. Obviously, it's served him pretty well. His philanthropy is pretty amazing. If you check out the open society website, you can see that his efforts (which sta George Soros is fucking awesome! I didn't read the whole book, I mostly stuck to the stuff about his philanthropy, his philosophy, and his ideas about open and closed societies. Apparently, his philosophy is faulted, but I admire that he's invested so much thought into it and tried his best to work out the kinks and to apply it to his life. Obviously, it's served him pretty well. His philanthropy is pretty amazing. If you check out the open society website, you can see that his efforts (which started with selling photocopiers) have expanded to a zillion fields and efforts. His ideas about letting locals who are familiar with the problems take ownership and leadership were exactly the same as what I've been reading about social entrepreneurship, only he was one of the relatively few people who had it all figured out long before now. I also was interested in the ways that he tries to promote critical thinking, since it's sort of a pet concern of mine. His ideas about open societies were likely nothing new, but I enjoyed reading it anyways, partly because it made some good connections and also because he is such a concise writer. I loved that he didn't puff up his writing, and that most of it was written in an easy-to peruse interview format. If I could pick one person to have dinner with, it would definitely be George Soros.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Akhil Jain

    Page 12 | "I would rather call myself an insecurity analyst." Page 12 | "To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognizing my mistakes is a source of pride." Page 17 | "The market climbs on a wall of worry." Page 60 | "that a thinking participant is in a very difficult position, because he is trying to understand a situation in which he is one of the actors." Page 61 | "Financial markets are characterized by a discrepancy between the participants' perceptions and The Theory of Investing the Page 12 | "I would rather call myself an insecurity analyst." Page 12 | "To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognizing my mistakes is a source of pride." Page 17 | "The market climbs on a wall of worry." Page 60 | "that a thinking participant is in a very difficult position, because he is trying to understand a situation in which he is one of the actors." Page 61 | "Financial markets are characterized by a discrepancy between the participants' perceptions and The Theory of Investing the actual state of affairs. At times it is negligible; at other times the course of events cannot be understood without taking it into account." Page 137 "People act as robber capitalists because that is the only way they can become capitalists in a lawless society." Page 167 "You yourself called the United Nations ineffective and wasteful. Why is that? Very simple. It is an association of sovereign states. The members are guided by their national interests, not by the collective interest. And the organization is responsible not to one master, but to many. This compounds the defects of bureaucracies because the main objective of a bureaucracy is to survive. Having many masters engenders a can't-do, protect-your-behind attitude. By a process of natural selection, only those whose primary concern is to preserve their jobs will survive in their jobs. But the selection is not natural to start with." Page 168 "a sunset clause whereby the existing arguments expire, and a new start is made." Page 190 "He showed that scientific method does not need inductive logic: it can rely on testing instead. Only theories that can be tested qualify as scientific." Page 191 "I propose that we need three categories—true, false, and reflexive. The truth value of reflexive statements is indeterminate." Page 200 "Yes. If we accept that out understanding is inherently imperfect, we can build a value system on that insight. That is what I have done with my belief in my own fallibility." Page 203 "A strictly theoretical concept, based on the discrepancy between thinking and reality. There are two different ways of dealing with that discrepancy. Open society recognizes that there is a discrepancy; closed society denies it." Page 205 "Science is the crowning glory of the human intellect, and it is firmly based on a belief in its own fallibility. If scientific theories embodied the ultimate truth, there would be no point in testing them and scientific advance would come to a halt." Page 206 "But open society suffers from a fatal flaw. People living in open societies do not accept the concept of open society as an ideal worth fighting for. It can be seen why this should be so. Open society provides freedom of choice. If it is denied, it is worth fighting for it; but if it is available, it does not suffice—the choices still need to be made. You can't be just a democrat; you must be a social democrat, a liberal democrat, a Christian democrat, or whatever. That is why democrats always fight among themselves, whereas those who advocate a closed society can remain disciplined and united." Page 213 "I am not opposed to all forms of national feeling. I am opposed only to the kind of nationalism that holds, "it is my country, right or wrong."" Page 214 "Being in the minority, they are practically forced into critical thinking." Page 217 "Your problem is that you like to do interesting work. Someone who wants to get rich doesn't care what he does. He only focuses on the bottom line. All day long he thinks about how Philosophy he can make more money. If that means setting up more shoe shine stands, that's what he does." Page 229 "Members of a changeless society are like organs of a living body. They cannot live outside society, and within it there is only one position available to them: that which they occupy." Page 229 "The individual is an abstract concept and as such has no place in a changeless society. Society has members, each of whom is capable of thinking and feeling; but, instead of being fundamentally similar, they are fundamentally different according to their station in life." Page 240 "There is a circular relationship here: democracy can serve as an ideal only if it is effective, and it can be effective only if it is generally accepted as an ideal." Page 240 "A variety of opinions is not enough to create democracy; if separate factions adopt opposing dogmas the result is not democracy but civil war. People must believe in democracy as an idea; they must consider it more important that decisions be reached by constitutional means than to see their view prevail." Page 262 "True, dogmas eliminate the uncertainties that plague the critical mode, but only at the cost of creating conditions that the human mind would find intolerable if it were aware of any alternatives. Just as a doctrine based on a superhuman authority may provide an avenue of escape from the shortcomings of the critical mode, the critical mode itself may appear as the salvation to those who suffer from the oppression of a dogma." Page 265 "Fundamental beliefs are less easy to justify by rational argument, but they may have greater emotional appeal exactly because they are more primitive." Page 266 "To blame speculators is like shooting the messenger."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Milan

    He is a great speculator, a tireless philanthropist and as he calls himself a "stateless statesman". In this book, George Soros is having a conversation about investing, philanthropy and philosophy. He talks about how he got into investing and how he looks at the markets. He speaks about his views on money and how it affects society. He discusses his ideas about open and closed societies. He discusses his ‘Theory of Reflexivity’ with some good examples. And he discusses the politics of Eastern Eu He is a great speculator, a tireless philanthropist and as he calls himself a "stateless statesman". In this book, George Soros is having a conversation about investing, philanthropy and philosophy. He talks about how he got into investing and how he looks at the markets. He speaks about his views on money and how it affects society. He discusses his ideas about open and closed societies. He discusses his ‘Theory of Reflexivity’ with some good examples. And he discusses the politics of Eastern Europe. This book provides some useful insights about a great speculator. Some political views look dated as the discussion which turned into the book took 21 years back. Still it provides a very good view into the mind of George Soros.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nitin

    This is a book summary of “Soros on Soros – Staying Ahead of the curve “. We try to simplify things. We don’t have a real or a scientific way to measure risk. People who are in the derivative business have very elaborate risk calculations. We are amateurs.We live in the Stone Age. Deliberately so. Lots of the current day methods and calculations work 99% of the time. I am more concerned with that 1%. I see a systemic risk that cannot be encapsulated in those assumptions that generally assume a con This is a book summary of “Soros on Soros – Staying Ahead of the curve “. We try to simplify things. We don’t have a real or a scientific way to measure risk. People who are in the derivative business have very elaborate risk calculations. We are amateurs.We live in the Stone Age. Deliberately so. Lots of the current day methods and calculations work 99% of the time. I am more concerned with that 1%. I see a systemic risk that cannot be encapsulated in those assumptions that generally assume a continuous market. I am interested in discontinuities and everything else is of little use to me. Most money managers try to maximise the fund and give average return as they are paid based on the money they manage. We try to maximise profits of the fund as we receive a percentage of the profits. I do not play according to a given set of rules; I look for changes in the rules of the game. I work with Hypotheses. I form a thesis about the anticipated sequence of events and then i compare the actual course of events with my thesis; that gives me a criterion by which i can evaluate my hypothesis. I have a given set of theoretical frameworks in investing. I tend to select situations that fit into that framework. My decisions are really made using a combination of theory and instinct. If you like, you may call it intuition. My critical faculties are way stronger than analytical faculties. I should not be called a security analyst, but and insecurity analyst. Trend is your friend most of the way; trend followers only get hurt at inflection points, where the trend changes. Most of the times we are punished when we go against the trend. Only at an inflection point are we outrageously rewarded. There is almost nothing more self destructive than to deny your feelings. There are incredible money makers whom i don’t trust, and whom i wouldn’t want to have as partners. Risk taking is to me, an essential ingredient in thinking clearly. There is nothing like danger to focus the mind, and i do need the excitement connected with taking risks in order to think clearly. I look for the flaw in every investment thesis. When i find it, i am re-assured. As long as i can see only the positive side, i am leery. I am good at riding the tide but not ripples of the swimming pool. I am willing to use different people employing different approaches as long as I can rely on their integrity. Running an investment portfolio is not work in the ordinary sense of the world. It essentially is just risk taking. The amount of work you do is inversely related to your success in the in investing business. When i have to, i work furiously because i am furious that i have to work. When i don’t have to, i don’t work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaloyan Drenski

    A great mind, speculator, and philanthropist. The reader will get familiar with Soros' philosophy, and his well-known Theory of Reflexivity, which is (according to himself) his biggest accomplishment in life. A great mind, speculator, and philanthropist. The reader will get familiar with Soros' philosophy, and his well-known Theory of Reflexivity, which is (according to himself) his biggest accomplishment in life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steven Siswandhi

    Some interesting remarks on finance and economics, and Soros' life work: philanthrophy, the politics of Eastern Europe, and so on. His philosophy of 'reflexivity' is also interesting, he explored it in more depth, but large swaths of the book is boring, ideas repeat. Some interesting remarks on finance and economics, and Soros' life work: philanthrophy, the politics of Eastern Europe, and so on. His philosophy of 'reflexivity' is also interesting, he explored it in more depth, but large swaths of the book is boring, ideas repeat.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daren Doucet

    The Quantum fund. One of the most famous investment vehicles, the financial world has ever known. Talks about the Nazi invasion into Hungary, at 14 years old, and how he escaped it. A believer in open societies, he is a great philanthropist for the creation of open societies in countries which are closed. He set up several foundations for a cause he truly believes in. Mr. Soros talks about the instability in the world just before 1995, the year the book was printed. He goes on to explain of what The Quantum fund. One of the most famous investment vehicles, the financial world has ever known. Talks about the Nazi invasion into Hungary, at 14 years old, and how he escaped it. A believer in open societies, he is a great philanthropist for the creation of open societies in countries which are closed. He set up several foundations for a cause he truly believes in. Mr. Soros talks about the instability in the world just before 1995, the year the book was printed. He goes on to explain of what may become of the former Soviet Union, and other countries that were undergoing substantive changes at that time. Also, his thoughts of the role of the United Nations, NATO, and the United States are seemingly widely held views of that time, and perhaps still today. An interesting read, but the economics was difficult to understand for someone who never studied it. He does look at things from an imperfect model, tries to anticipate all scenarios, before going ahead with a stock move. A good book for any economist.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian Zheng

    Well regarded as the best trader in our time, Soros detailed his philosophy of trading and his philosophy about the world, politics as well as his idea of open society. The book is carried out in interview form and I feel it�s easier to follow compared to his earlier book: The Alchemy of Finance. Amazing although he is well rewarded in the financial market, he think financial market is only the experiment lab for his �Reflexivity� theory/hypothesis. Some people think Soros is �Great mind Well regarded as the best trader in our time, Soros detailed his philosophy of trading and his philosophy about the world, politics as well as his idea of open society. The book is carried out in interview form and I feel it�s easier to follow compared to his earlier book: The Alchemy of Finance. Amazing although he is well rewarded in the financial market, he think financial market is only the experiment lab for his �Reflexivity� theory/hypothesis. Some people think Soros is �Great mind but terrible writer�, I have to say it also gives me some headache when I try to understand his philosophy. Nonetheless, you will find the terrific mind and his investing style from the first 100 or so pages of the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Song Medina-Babijes

    It's heavy reading, but Soros gives a very succint and simple explanation of the economic forces that keeps countries ahead of their game. For those who want to understand the global economy better, trust Soros to be very informative and concise. It's heavy reading, but Soros gives a very succint and simple explanation of the economic forces that keeps countries ahead of their game. For those who want to understand the global economy better, trust Soros to be very informative and concise.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Arthur

    Interesting philosophy and dogma from the man who started it all - with leverage in the world of finance.

  11. 5 out of 5

    TMK

    * I watch whether the actual course of events corresponds to my expectation. If not, I reexamine the thesis and try to establish what has gone wrong. Then adjust it. * I don't have a particular style of investing or, more exactly, I try to change my style to fit the condition * Trend follower will get hurt when the trend change; Most of the time I am a trend follower, but all the time I am aware that I am a member of a herd and I am on the lookout for the inflection points. - I am ahead of the curv * I watch whether the actual course of events corresponds to my expectation. If not, I reexamine the thesis and try to establish what has gone wrong. Then adjust it. * I don't have a particular style of investing or, more exactly, I try to change my style to fit the condition * Trend follower will get hurt when the trend change; Most of the time I am a trend follower, but all the time I am aware that I am a member of a herd and I am on the lookout for the inflection points. - I am ahead of the curve. I watch out for the telltale signs that a trend may be exhausted. Then I disengage from the herb and look for a different invesment thesis. * Anyone who is in a risk taking business but cannot face the consequence is no good. * Philosophy is the most important part of my life. - Once we realize that IMPERFECT UNDERSTANDING is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only failing to correct our mistake. - I don't believe in these scientific measuring method because they're generally constructed on the assumption of efficient market theory. That theory is in conflict with my theory of IMPERFECT UNDERSTANDING and REFLEXIVITY. - If it couldn't be leveraged, we wouldn't be making that particular investment. - We do try to simplify rather than complicate - We are Quantum Fund, that is, a performance fund that rewarded mainly in proportion to our profits rather than according to the amount of money we manage (Most fund maximize the amount of money they manage to attract investor and not to leave them) - They get it right, then they get too cocky, and eventually it catches up to them. I'm not exempt from that. It often happens that when thing go well, I relax, and then they start going wrong.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Grig O'

    I like George Soros. So it's inevitable that I find such a book endearing, including the more pretentious and even naive sides of it. Soros is a straight talker with a unique perspective and a hell of a life story. His theory of reflexivity served him well in finance and (less conclusively) in geopolitics, but as philosophy it's little more than a second-rate dialectics, and he knows it. Which doesn't make it any less interesting to hear him apply it to real world situations, even though some of I like George Soros. So it's inevitable that I find such a book endearing, including the more pretentious and even naive sides of it. Soros is a straight talker with a unique perspective and a hell of a life story. His theory of reflexivity served him well in finance and (less conclusively) in geopolitics, but as philosophy it's little more than a second-rate dialectics, and he knows it. Which doesn't make it any less interesting to hear him apply it to real world situations, even though some of the macroeconomics stuff went over my head. Oh and if, like me, you're curious about how he reconciles his moral principles with financial speculation, here's a couple of quotes from the book: "I fight for many causes in my life, but I don't particularly feel like defending currency speculation. I consider it a necessary evil. I think it is better than currency restrictions, but a unified currency would be even better. My defense is that I operate within the rules. If there is a breakdown in the rules, that is not my fault as a lawful participant but the fault of those who set the rules. I think that is a very sound and justified position, and I have absolutely no moral qualms about being branded a speculator. But as I say, I don't feel like waging a campaign trying to defend speculation either." "I can afford to stand up for abstract principles. But I cannot expect others to do the same. I didn't do it myself until I became rich and if I had stood up for those principles earlier, I might not have become rich."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Reader Variety

    Interesting to read Soros given his initial rise to financial prominence and his later branching into matters of politics. Claims he started trading better when he did not demand perfect information. Thesis is Reflexivity - the participant affects the market, so the market isn't perfect and efficient As he branches from finance into policy, he states that freedom is not merely the absence of repression, and only an "Open Society" can deliver constant improvement Interesting to read Soros given his initial rise to financial prominence and his later branching into matters of politics. Claims he started trading better when he did not demand perfect information. Thesis is Reflexivity - the participant affects the market, so the market isn't perfect and efficient As he branches from finance into policy, he states that freedom is not merely the absence of repression, and only an "Open Society" can deliver constant improvement

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    Can you think of a more vain glorious title? Soros likes to think of himself as a great philosopher. This book does not buttress that claim. He is a great trader and portfolio manager. Let's stop there, please. Can you think of a more vain glorious title? Soros likes to think of himself as a great philosopher. This book does not buttress that claim. He is a great trader and portfolio manager. Let's stop there, please.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aliaksei

    The best book based on a bunch of interview notes I ever read. Each interview lets us to look on George Soros' life and philosophy from a different angle. The best book based on a bunch of interview notes I ever read. Each interview lets us to look on George Soros' life and philosophy from a different angle.

  16. 5 out of 5

    MO And J

    Interesting take on markets, cycles and finance. Behavioral economics and finance at their finest. Theory of reflexivity at work.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zeqiong Huang

    Eye opening to me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    The Sphinx

    Contents: Soros is a nice guy. He wants an open society like Karl Pooper.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Javier Villar

    The title doesn't lie. That man is self-centered beyond a healthy threshold. The title doesn't lie. That man is self-centered beyond a healthy threshold.

  20. 4 out of 5

    May Ling

    Among Soros' books, I enjoyed this less. That said, it is probably one of the more cogent pieces on George Soros himself. The interviewees are as impressive as Soros. There is always a bit of truth and a bit of white washing to every book. I'd love to meet them man to know if the amount of humility reflects as true as the book appears to convey. It was interesting to consider his philosophy and how well described it is relative to his peers. I prefer Soros's books on political philosophy. While Among Soros' books, I enjoyed this less. That said, it is probably one of the more cogent pieces on George Soros himself. The interviewees are as impressive as Soros. There is always a bit of truth and a bit of white washing to every book. I'd love to meet them man to know if the amount of humility reflects as true as the book appears to convey. It was interesting to consider his philosophy and how well described it is relative to his peers. I prefer Soros's books on political philosophy. While I don't know that I agree with every single item, he appears to have a very unique, well educated idea of why he thinks the way he thinks. This is rare and to be admired. As always, I found interesting his ideas of reflexivity and his use of Poppers work to think about the investment process. This is a better book for understanding the man relative to his other pieces which are more lengthy socio-political-economic pieces.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Autobiography including some surprising insights from one of the world's most successful financiers. Soros made most of his money investing (I would rather say gambling as the risk levels are so high) in the financial market. Curiously, Soros, a boogieman of today's Republican party, is a fan of the Austrian School of Economics, which the Republican's purport to love. Soros and the Republicans have a hugely different set of emphasis's on the school. Autobiography including some surprising insights from one of the world's most successful financiers. Soros made most of his money investing (I would rather say gambling as the risk levels are so high) in the financial market. Curiously, Soros, a boogieman of today's Republican party, is a fan of the Austrian School of Economics, which the Republican's purport to love. Soros and the Republicans have a hugely different set of emphasis's on the school.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nikos Korexenidis

    Nothing usefull here. Only one interview on soros where he speak about qenerallities and says things that wants us to believe he thinks. I wanted to get into his mindset but I don't thing is an honest interview. Nothing usefull here. Only one interview on soros where he speak about qenerallities and says things that wants us to believe he thinks. I wanted to get into his mindset but I don't thing is an honest interview.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Douglas O'laughlin

    Interview so it was weird at times. Extremely repetitive in certain subjects. The current spin on politics was mildly interesting and his philosophy so so. I hope to read alchemy of finance for sure, but this seemed lack luster

  24. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    Basically Soros had figured out "game theory" before it was applied to the stock market by others. Basically Soros had figured out "game theory" before it was applied to the stock market by others.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brian Fraus

    This book somewhat helped me understand Soros, but still confused with his politic vs. his investment strategies.

  26. 5 out of 5

    John

    Will want to read again!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  28. 4 out of 5

    srdjan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shadowfaxpku

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jiten

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