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The Invisible Hands: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Bubbles, Crashes, and Real Money, Revised and Updated by Jared Diamond, Nouriel Roubini, Steven Drobny

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Chapter 6

The Professor

“The Professor” is a modern adventurer who built his business by scouring the world for trade ideas. He quite simply wants to understand everything. Having landed in the financial markets by accident, he is as well-versed addressing the development challenges of certain sub-Saharan African countries as he is pontificating about the likely path of Swiss interest rates. But make no mistake, he is a competitor at core, a classic type-A personality who takes his fundamental understanding of textbook macroeconomics and translates it into compelling risk/reward trades, literally anywhere in the world.

Sourcing trades is not enough, however. The Professor is a portfolio optimizer, using his friends in academia to help build rigorous processes driven by a complex array of leading-edge quantitative and qualitative inputs. Although big game hunter might be a tempting analogy, mad scientist might be more apt: mad because he is not afraid of stretching his brain to envision the impossible, and scientist because his every move is calculating, particularly in measuring his downside risk.

The Professor practices what he refers to as “real macro,” which involves identifying structural, country-specific issues and complex interlinkages in the global economy, all of which take time to work their way through the system. For this reason, he is not looking for short-term moves, but rather constructs trades around the medium-term. With the almost 30-year tail wind for risk assets ...

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