Aug

19

 I've recently enjoyed reading Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street's Largest Hedge Fund Disaster, the story of how Amaranth blew up. It's essentially a story of one man who was successful for a while and took on unbelievable amounts of risk trading natural gas futures while all of his supervisors, mostly the fund's owner but some others as well lost all control or even desire for control. The book greatly details the actual trades and talks about many related personages, but it left me puzzled about how the trader who was mostly responsible for this disaster lasted this long. He had made a huge amount of money prior to blowing up, and even though he appeared to be quite intelligent the reasoning behind his trades are either inadequately or perhaps truthfully described as being close to random. He suddenly takes a liking to certain types of spreads and just bets on them evidently without much more than a seemingly unjustified belief that they will widen.

At some point he essentially became the market and and had to keep up the spreads by continuous buying until the fund blew up. The main trader and some others are portrayed as sociopathic degenerates driven by irrational beliefs as well as a strong desire to win at all costs. I would be interested to hear some energy trader's or any commodity trader's opinion about the book.


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