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Ugly americans: a true story of high stakes, dirty


Description: Ugly americans: a true story of high stakes, dirty
File name: Ugly americans: a true story of high stakes, dirty
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a good read and in Mezrich fashion a quick and exciting story about hedge fund traders and the pure adrenaline that fuels them.

The book is about Mezrich interviewing Malcolm who is a trader who is fueled by greed and ambition and raided Japans economy for inefficiencies.

Kabuki-cho is Japan's Adult Las Vegas that anyone can do anything to have fun. Apparently, the repressed culture in Japan allows safety-valve like Kabuki-cho to exists so their sexual repression can have its expression to This is a good read and in Mezrich fashion a quick and exciting story about hedge fund traders and the pure adrenaline that fuels them.

The book is about Mezrich interviewing Malcolm who is a trader who is fueled by greed and ambition and raided Japans economy for inefficiencies.

Kabuki-cho is Japan's Adult Las Vegas that anyone can do anything to have fun. Apparently, the repressed culture in Japan allows safety-valve like Kabuki-cho to exists so their sexual repression can have its expression to be released. The only issue is that the Yakuza owned KAbuki-cho For example, in the sexual harassment club allows bored middle management to pretend to pay a flat rate to sexual harass a paid actress from high school girl to other views. According to John Malcolm, the Japanese see sex as just another bodily need to satisfy not an issue of morality.

In the sexual harassment club, John met Tim Halloway a derivatives trader who is a graduate of Oxford and LSE business school and is worth about million with 5 girlfriends under the age of 23.

John Malcolm's world was about performance not appearance. He was one of the last bastion of pure, naked capitalism with a rags to riches story that would make any capitalist proud. Hedge-fund cowboys tend to be former athletes who thrive on competition with some math ability. John had a full athletic scholarship to Princeton. These people just need one big deal to make their billions but at what cost? B/c these investors concern is purely on making money, then they can destroy previously functioning economies and companies by any "pump and dump" schemes that has nothing to do with the underlying fundamentals of the company. At least, it happened in Japan and not the US.

Malcolm was flying 1st class to Japan and was sitting next to a Harvard QB who had the ability and size but not the heart or attitude to make it to the pros while Malcolm owed all his opportunities to pro-football. After the game in Japan, Malcolm met his future boss Carney, a fellow Princeton alum who is also a fan of his. Carney explained a derivative as a financial asset whose value depends on an underlying asset or security so basically betting on the future worth of an asset. After failing to land a job in Wall Street, Malcolm took Carney's offer and went to Japan to make money.

What does it say about America if a mechanical engineer has to work 2 jobs to support his family of 3 and Malcolm's family is still considered working middle class?

Malcolm was glad that half-Japanese Akari a fellow alum picked him up. According to Akari, Japan's culture is made to be polite to other especially outsiders. Interesting how much trust central office has in Carney that he does not have to account for his activities. Carney is basically a franchise of the main office and Akari and Malcolm are his minions. Apparently, the 1st rule of Carney's arbitage game is that one never buys a trade in which they cannot get out of hence short term day trades. American's have the reputation of being a little crazier and thus wealthier in their trading habits within the Japanese expat community.

3 months into Malcolm's job, Carney called him to come to Tokyo and told him to meet him @ a hostess bar where all business transactions happened. Carney is narcissistic in his personality. Malcolm liked the fact that Carney believed in his potential. While at the hostess bar, Malcolm fell in love with Sayo Yamamoto the owners daughter who is either the mob boss or tied to the Yakuza.

According to Mezrich, Japanese loves Jazz and people who are not Japanese will always be outsiders no matter how much they try to fit in. Bronson says he does not fit in NYC nor the US anymore b/c he is too immature for the US besides he is set in his ways being an outsider in Japanese society. They are the masters of the universe transplanted in a society where anything goes.

Malcolm rode Carney's Ducati and love its speed. Joseph Jett the wiz in making money was doing it via accounting tricks that made his losses into profits. For Carney, the fact that his company, Kidder, is tanked was something to celebrate since change was the only constant for him and he and Bill wanted to start their own company. Carney said that he had a similar background as Malcolm and for this reason Malcolm has promise b/c like Carney, he is hungry.

Carney paid for Malcolm to stay in Japan and 1 month into his job search, he got a job with Barings, a prestigious British firm. The Baring boys only talked about soccer, rugby, and sex. The sex talk almost always involved prostitutes. Leeson was the only other subject that they were interested in discussing b/c of his huge trades. Malcolm was to meet Leeson and Malcolm star was rising just b/c he was associated with Leeson.

Malcolm was adrenaline junky who liked the rush that danger gave him. Although Liam seemed at ease in himself, he was sitting on billion of losses. After the earthquake in Kobe, Neeson lost so much money that Barings as an institution became bankrupt and the Baring boys were radioactive. The problem with high-risk finance is that in order to gamble one needs a stable environment which the surprise earthquake destroyed. Also, how does one incentivize the high risk finance to that people's money or whole institutions cannot be destroyed?

With the destruction of Barings by Neeson, Malcolm looked to cash in on his connection with Carney. Carney flew Malcolm to Tokyo and took him to Kabuki-cho to "relax" which included a naked girl giving him a shower and was offered a job with a starting pay of 0,000 and 10% of his profits and a line up of women he could fuck. While he took the job, he did not want to fuck the prostitutes b/c that was not who he was. Malcolm differentiated b/w a brothel where women had some control and soapland in which men simply took the women they wanted as if they were slaves. Instead of sleeping with the sex slaves of soapland, Malcolm went to see Sayo as she stayed with him in his mind through their 11 month separation.

Mezrich was sitting in an ethics class that a finance professor was giving on psychology of gambling which was BS according to a business associate of Malcolm.

Prostitution ring in Japan is controlled by the Yakuza and was called the "water trade" one that Mezrich was ushered into by Malcolm's introduction. Tracey tells Mezrich the Douhan and woman relationship was uniquely Japanese, it is like having an unrequited love relationship where the man buys a beautiful woman to show off without the expectation of anything physical.

Mezrich talked to "Coop" who told him hedge funds were not as bad as some people made them out to be b/c they were unregulated in their investment but completely regulated in how they solicit clients. They have a bad reputation b/c of their secrecy and the fact they use short sell techniques in a bad economy making a profit when the whole economy is tanking. Coop defended shorting as a way to price companies inflated worth into its real worth but there is no way to tell who is investing.

Malcolm told Mezrich that recently the Yakuza and th Triads were working closely in their global operations. So Mezrich got Chien to meet the underground sex trade in Queens, NYC. According to the Yakuza who ran the Queens sex trade that their would be no Japanese economy without the Yakuza. They dealt with golf courses, construction, politics, sex trade, and drugs. If a finance guy ever lost the Yakuza money, they would be dead.

The way Carney's boys tested each other was to take risks like racing each other. True to Reich's analysis, the higher one is on the totem pole of business, the harder one works. Even though Malcolm got Sayo, he has to work hard to come up with an original idea for Carney. Malcolm felt hurt when Akari did not trust him enough to confide in him Akari's deal of buying the collateral debt of Japan one in $.10 on the dollar. But this goes to the competitive nature of investment banking in which even old friends cannot be trusted with ideas. Even charity had to be competitive in the trader community. Even after his accident on the bike, 48 hrs later he was back to work b/c of the competitive nature of the trading community.

Carney's boys stock was rising in the trader community. When Malcolm closed the deal on HK, Malcolm wanted to help Akari on his land deal but Akari was falling apart in front of him. In turns out Akari bought the loans that Japan 1 unloaded and cannot sell it b/c Yakuza were involved in the deal. Akari called to meet Malcolm when he did not show he raced his bike and got into an accident and broke 3 ribs.

Despite the language barrier, Sayo has a calming effect on Malcolm. Sayo was telling Malcolm to be careful and to know when to walk away. When Malcolm tells Sayo that he needs to go to Hong Kong for a business trip, she responded with being worried about his safety saying that Japan is not like America, the rules are different. Sayo does not like Carney b/c he is interested in Malcolm as Tracey said that Carney was Malcolm's Douhan. He wanted Sayo to know that he was doing this for the big opportunity that this presents for him. Sayo was concerned b/c the Yakuza was involved in all matters of finance and politics in Japan and if somehow Carney's boys lost their money, they would lose their lives.

When Malcolm confronted Meyer about Pacific Century Cyberworks in Hong Kong, he freaked out when Malcolm mentioned that he was working for Carney. Meyer was scared of Carney and his Yakuza connections so he told him that no one was buying Pacific Century Cyberworks stock and so Carney's boys decided to short the stock while everyone else bought the stock so under 3 min Malcolm gave Carney a million profit.

Malcom got a 0 thousand advance on his profit from Carney. With the deal, he had become a hot commodity in Tokyo trading community. But his success in the trading floor made his relationship with Sayo suffer. Sayo did not like that Malcolm was turning into a cowboy trader who bought anything and everything in sight and was so close to the condescending Carney. For his part, Carney did not like that Malcolm was spending a lot of time with Sayo @ the expense of the firm espirit de corps. Carney also expected Akari and Malcolm to risk their lives for the firm. He found out that Carney was lying about his background in order for people to want to emulate him and garner their complete and undivided loyalty. For him, his traders were simply profit makers which Malcolm disagreed with wanting people to be people that happen to make profits. Malcolm came home to his place being trashed by the Yakuza. Malcolm realized Carney's firm was the middle man for a Yakuza on Yakuza turf war on each other. He went and talked to Sayo after which she offered to talk to her father to find a way out for him. From the point, Malcolm was looking for an exit strategy and came up with 15 of the biggest Internet companies being added on the Nikkei as his exit point. Malcolm got Carney to ok his exit strategy as well as Akari's in return for the biggest trade of their lives.

The Nikkei deal that brought 15 tech companies into the index while letting 15 dinosaur companies brought 0 million for ASC and million to Malcolm while Akari got million, thus Malcolm found the elusive exit point. After gaining all that money, Malcolm married Sayo and moved to Bermuda to start his own hedge fund with Akari. ...more


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