BOOKCASE


Soros: The World’s Most Influential Investor
• Robert Slater
• McGraw Hill
• RRP: $50.00

It is little unfortunate that Soros: The World’s Most Influential Investor closes with this paragraph on the current financial meltdown: “While he did not welcome the Wall Street crisis, it certainly provided the opportunity for him to test his investing skills and for him to remind people that he had been predicting difficult times for Wall Street for some time.” In hindsight, and after learning more about the man, it is doubtful Soros would take any pleasure from being able to say “I told you so” as he watched the global meltdown.
Robert Slater’s new book is an updated version of his biography of one of the world’s most influential investors, with new chapters covering events since the original was published in the mid-1990s.
The book covers Soros’ life across two continents and seven decades. From Hungarian boy who liked playing Monopoly, to Jewish teenager on the run from the Gestapo, an immigrant in England who attended the London School of Economics, to arrival in the United States and the start of his meteoric investing career.
I found the most interesting chapters at the end – those covering Soros’ political awakening and close involvement with American politics (specifically his role in helping launch the liberal political action group, Americans Coming Together, his growing obsession with George W Bush following 9/11 and his efforts to unseat him in the 2004 election, and his involvement with Moveon.org). But that may reflect the lack of depth in my knowledge of Soros’ earlier life and uncover my predilection for history/events that I can remember.
That said, the lack of in-depth coverage of the Obama campaign (of which Soros was major funder) was little frustrating. The excuse may be the timing of publication but personally I think it should have been included.
Or perhaps it’s just leaving us waiting for another update.
I read it and I really liked it but it left me little unsatisfied. I wanted more depth, which seems ridiculous thing to say about an 300-plus page book. I guess it felt little selective and I wanted to know more.

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