Thursday, January 10, 2008
Book Review: An American Hedge Fund
Recently I finished reading the book "An American Hedge Fund" by Timothy Sykes. This book is about how Timothy Sykes turned his $12,415 Bar Mitzvah gift money into $1.65 million in about 4 years. Timothy Sykes writes about starting his own hedge fund and the ultimate demise of his fund.
Sykes starts out in high school trading after recieving about 12k in Bar Mitzvah gift money. He has always been interested in the stock market and after getting accepted to Tufts University early in his senior year he decides to focus more on trading then on classes his senior year of high school. Sykes is very successful in his early trading. He traded small caps based on news releases. Any sort of news release on the penny stocks he was interested in would cause big jumps in the prices. Sykes was forced to adapt his trading strategy a few different times as the market changed. He discusses his changes and how he ultimately ended up mostly short trading penny stocks for profits. He attended Tufts University for a year or two before transferring to Tulane.
While in his final year at Tulane, Sykes pursues his dream of starting and managing his own hedge fund. Sykes discusses the problems with the hedge fund industry and the difficulties that hedge fund industry regulations cause for small start up funds to raise capital. Sykes struggles to raise any capital for his fund. It seems that when Sykes is finally gaining some momentum and getting some investors, one of his earlier investments is falling apart and giving him the worst losses of his career. Unfortunately, Sykes traded in restricted shares of a company and cannot sell the shares for two years. This strays from Sykes typical day trading strategy and is the ultimate downfall of his fund.
Was the book worth the read and should you buy it? I enjoyed the book overall. It is a good biography of someone who has started out with a small amount of money and turned it into a large amount of money. I like hearing the stories of people doing this because I feel it gives me hope. I wish I had the talent to make lots of money in the market. However, I was a little disappointed that his strategy is not defined more. It seems impossible to me to figure out exactly how he traded based on the book. I would have liked to have seen some specific trades and strategies but that is not what this book is. Therefore, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading any stories about the stock market. However, if you are looking for a guide on how to trade, I would look elsewhere.