He reported to a federal prison camp in Taft, Calif., in 2004. It was during his 22 months there that he decided to write his memoirs. Incredibly, his cellmate was Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong, who was serving a nine-month sentence for selling drug paraphernalia—bongs in particular. As Chong describes it, the Taft Federal Correctional Institution would beat many Manhattan hotels for comfort. He says Belfort’s arrival “was like Elvis coming to jail” and that his roommate spent his days playing tennis and backgammon, cleverly hiring other inmates to do his chores for him. “We were part of the elite gang,” Chong says, adding that for a stretch they ate meals “Goodfellas-style” with another famous inmate, the PGA Tour caddie Eric Larson, who was serving time related to drug charges. Larson “worked in the garden, and he grew these fresh, delicious vegetables, and he used to cook them,” Chong says. “We had these beautiful vegetarian, healthy meals every night, and Jordan was part of the gang. We had a nice little hierarchy there, intelligent famous guys hanging out together.” [BusinessWeek]
In a pinch, Steve Cohen has made himself a few zip-up fleece jackets with only a travel sewing kit and some Silly Putty at his disposal. Alone in the woods and miles from home, Ray Dalio has been known to fashion slingshots out of the remains of wildebeests. Having blown through all his 100-count packs already and in a race against the clock, George Soros has constructed condoms out of strips of bacon; old tea bags; and British pounds. According to Dealbook, however, today they must all bow down to the master. Read more »
Give A Bill Ackman A Fish And You’ll Feed Him For A Day. Teach A Bill Ackman To Fish And He’ll Hire You To Work At Pershing Square. (Ditto Re: Tennis Lessons.)By Bess Levin
How do the world’s leading hedge fund managers go about assembling their teams? While some choose the standard head hunter and “pitch me a stock” route with candidates who’ve had at least a few years of business experience and proven track records, others prefer a more outside the box approach. Bridgewater Associates, for instance, has said that instead of going after veterans of Wall Street, it likes to hire people straight out of college, when their minds are still malleable. Founder Ray Dalio has stated: “Interest in the subject matter is a minor consideration…We are first interested in people’s values, second interested in their abilities, and least interested in their precise skills. We want independent thinkers who are willing to put aside their egos to find out what is true.”
Similarly, Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman, who has never been one to follow the crowd, eschews the typical hiring process in identifying talent. Instead, Ackman relies on gut instincts when it comes to making personnel calls, many of which occur outside the confines of the investing world. For example, one former analyst named Oliver White was hired after serving as Ackman’s guide on a fishing expedition in Tierra del Fuego. (Per Christine Richard’s Confidence Game: “For six days, Ackman and White, a philosophy graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talked and fished. White explained technical details to Ackman about fly selection, casting the line, and luring the fish. Meanwhile, Ackman spotted the next member of Pershing Square’s investment team. “At the end of his stay, he asked me– no, he told me– I should come to New York and work for him.”) While Ackman was obviously impressed with White’s talent, it seems the offer was made on the basis of spending six days peering into the guy’s soul and seeing something special he knew in his plums would carry over into activist investing, rather than as a barter deal for White to teach Bill his craft, which is another way people have been hired at the fund. Read more »
Bill Ackman Will Get Rid Of Your Gut, Set You Up With Your Wife, Beat Your Ass On The Rowing MachineBy Bess Levin
One thing you may have picked up from Bill Ackman’s investing style is that he gets involved with companies he believes, very passionately, can benefit from his help. He comes in armed with a plan, and while some people might not be open to the unsolicited suggestions for improvement, few can argue that he’s just trying to make the world a better place. What you may not know is that what Bill does during his 9-5 doesn’t stop when he punches the clock and gets off his shift as as foreman at Pershing Square. The make-overs (aesthetic and spiritual) aren’t just for Target but for you, too. ”Bill’s a fixer,” former Bloomberg reporter Christine Richard told the Observer. “He just looks at everything as how can I sort this out, including people.” For instance…
Your ass. Can you deny it could benefit from some squat thrusts?
Almost everyone who has met Mr. Ackman has either been complimented or insulted regarding his or her appearance, and those falling into the latter group usually find themselves with an appointment to see his nutritionist and sometimes his personal trainer, too. He has been known to stop people on the street corner and give them advice or even find them a job in the time it takes for the light to change.
Or how about your love life? Wasn’t it time you stopped running around with these slag heaps and got serious about settling down? Read more »
The Post reports Ackman and Scoggin Capital manager Craig Effron will do battle with McEnroe and his brother, Patrick, after bidding $100,000 on one hour of tennis at a charity lunch the other day. If the brothers are trying to gather intel on Ackman’s style, the Pershing Square founder’s formidable game was described in a book by Christine Richard, Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street’s Bluff. Read more »
* Wearing flip-flops, polos and shorts to work?
* Taking leisurely lunches
* Enjoying yourself a good rom-com and paying matinee prices?
* Playing 18 holes before the close?
* Catching a few winks on the company roof deck?
* Having bosses that understand there’s not much of a point to working more than a few hours a day?
Then shoot a resume over to Briargate Trading. These are the guys for you. Read more »
First, there was the World Cup outcome-predicting cephalopod mollusk that everyone was obsessed with, who the financial media took great glee in pointing out made better predictions than UBS. Now there’s Grandpa the Monkey, who’ll likely serve up another kick in the pants for the Swiss bank in the coming days. Read more »