Michael Lewis’s The Big Short

One of the very best business books I have had the pleasure to read is The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine which was written by one of the very best business writers working today, namely Michael Lewis. After starting it late last year I found it almost impossible to put down. Think of the book this way. It’s about a group of corporate world misfits, outsiders, and loners who after carefully analyzing the financial data available to everyone went out on a limb and bet the ranch on a housing market collapse of biblical proportions.

Now what makes the story so compelling is that after they laid their bets two or three years before the collapse, they then had to sit tight for 24 to 36 months while everyone else was scoffing and telling them that they were fools for being contrarians. Not many people have to backbone to stand up to public opinion for that long.

These guys did.

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Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio teamed up for a third time to bring Wall Street hustler Jordan Belfort’s biography to the big screen. If you are fan of films such as Wall Street (the first one) and Boiler Room, you will be interested in this one as well. Belfort built and ran a boiler room operation in the ’90s before being busted and sent to prison where he served 22 months. From what I understand Boiler Room was inspired by his shenanigans.

Here’s the trailer. It comes out this November.

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So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a 17 year old would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end. – F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

One of these days I plan to do a Top 10 Billionaire Movie List but all I have time for today is a quick heads-up that the long-awaited 5th version of The Great Gatsby comes out in early May. This is the one with Leo DiCaprio in the lead role and, going by the trailers, he may just pull the part off successfully. Although I do have a few quibbles with some of the other casting choices, Tobey McGuire was an excellent pick for Nick Carraway the narrator and my favorite character in the story.

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What WW2 POW Movies Can Teach You About Not Only Surviving But Prospering as Well

There’s a lot of interest these uncertain days in business ideas and skills which will retain their value in regardless of the economic conditions.  If you want to discover one of the best skills to cultivate into a viable business, go rent those old WW II POW movies such as King Rat,  Stalag 17, The Great Escape, and Empire of the Sun. Although my memory has faded over the past 30 years since I saw them as a kid, they invariably had a stock character: the trader. This is the POW who starts off with nothing, just like his fellow prisoners, and then parlays some small asset into a business based on wheeling and dealing in anything that has value inside the environment from cigarettes to soap to tooth brushes.

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Watch the documentary film Billionaire which tells the Larry Hillblom story.

The rules are there are no rules. – Aristotle Onassis

When people ask why I am building this site and the course they get three answers. One, self-made billionaires and tycoons are the best people to study if you want to truly understand business. Their exploits provide not only a wealth of insights into the timeless strategies and tactics for wealth creation but also into how the world really works. They are the ultimate realists who use and game the system for their advantage. Continue reading

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