The cover of the book


This landmark book provides a rich array of perspectives on many of the greatest investors of our time. It features William Green's profiles of legendary investors such as Joel Greenblatt, Howard Marks, Irving Kahn, Bill Ackman, Mario Gabelli, Mason Hawkins, Jean-Marie Eveillard, Francis Chou, Bill Miller, Mohnish Pabrai, Marty Whitman, Bill Nygren, John Spears, Tom Gayner, and Donald Yacktman. These profiles are accompanied by extraordinary portraits created by Michael O'Brien, one of America's pre-eminent photographers, whose iconic photograph of Warren Buffett is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

By combining photographs and profiles in this unique way, The Great Minds of Investing offers both a visual delight and a treasure trove of wisdom. It provides deep insight into the lives, minds and ideas of these famous investors, illuminating the qualities and principles that have enabled them to achieve enduring success. Any investor will benefit from this powerful financial wisdom. These famous investors also share many personal lessons, speaking candidly about such topics as family, faith, money, luck, philanthropy, and what it takes to build a truly successful life. The result is an enriching and inspiring book that is destined to be read for decades to come. 
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Bill Ackman

In December 2012, Bill Ackman declared war on Herbalife. During a three-hour presentation in New York, he denounced the nutritional-supplement company as a “pyramid scheme” that causes “enormous harm to the most vulnerable communities.” Ackman also revealed that he had a $1 billion short position and said his target price for the stock was zero.

Over the next two years, he intensified his crusade against Herbalife, which has vehemently denied his accusations. Ackman says his investment firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, has spent $50 million on its campaign, which covered everything from investigative research to legal fees to producing films such as Herbalife Unmasked: An Insider Admits that the “Business Opportunity” is a Fraud. Pershing also spent “a few hundred thousand” dollars on political lobbying.

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Bill Miller

Once upon a time, Bill Miller reigned supreme as the undisputed king of mutual fund managers. His flagship fund, Legg Mason Value Trust, famously beat the market for 15 consecutive years through 2005. Morningstar crowned him as its Fund Manager of the Decade and Barron’s included him in its “All-Century Investment Team.” By 2007, he oversaw more than $70 billion at Legg Mason, transforming the sleepy Baltimore firm into a financial powerhouse. Then, in one catastrophic year, everything came tumbling down.

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Howard Marks

As an undergraduate at Wharton in the 1960s, Howard Marks stumbled upon one of the guiding principles of his life—the Buddhist concept of mujo. In his Japanese studies course, mujo was defined as “the turning of the wheel of the law.” Marks explains: “Change is inevitable. The only constant is impermanence… . We have to accommodate to the fact that the wheel turns and the environment changes.” This constant flux applies not only to human lives but economies and markets. “It’s very helpful to view the world as behaving cyclically and oscillating rather than going in a straight line. Everything is cyclical.”

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Testimonials for "The Great Minds of Investing"

"I love this book, which is both visually beautiful and filled with valuable pearls of wisdom from some of the top minds in investing. The book gives the reader multiple ways to win in investing and life. I have always relished learning about successful people, their strengths and weaknesses, ambitions and fears, and the most important lessons they have to teach. Inside The Great Minds of Investing, William Green’s superb writing gives the reader access to an abundance of talent and wisdom, with each investor sharing a few of their most important ideas that have helped them excel. Taking to heart the lessons shared inside this book is a high-probability path to success for any investor. This book should be admired first, and then studied seriously."

-- Ken Shubin Stein, MD CFA, Professor of Advanced Investment Research, Columbia Business School

"In The Great Minds of Investing, William Green has brought to life a treasure trove of wisdom from the world's most highly-regarded investors. Leveraging unprecedented personal access, he captures not only the essence of their investment wisdom but also the life lessons of these remarkable personalities. Truly unique is Green's close collaboration with world-renowned photographer Michael O'Brien whose portraits add a wonderful aesthetic dimension to the book, transforming it into a work of art. The result is a rich and layered book -- something readers will treasure for decades and return to again and again for inspiration and wisdom."

John Mihaljevic, CFA, Managing Editor, The Manual of Ideas

"This is a beautifully written book that offers a rare depth of insight into the lives and minds of the greatest investors of our time. And it is a showcase for William Green who has drawn deeply on 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for publications like TimeForbesMoney, Bloomberg Markets and Fortune. During that time, he has spent countless hours interviewing many of the world’s great investors. This book benefits from Green’s desire, through careful contemplation, to understand the essential aspects of habit, personality and temperament that make these great investors who they are. This book needs to be on every serious investor’s bookshelf and should be reviewed and re-read regularly."

-- Guy Spier, Manager of the Aquamarine Fund and author of The Education of a Value Investor.

"The Great Minds of Investing is one of the most profound collections of investment insights and gripping photographs I have come across during my 30-plus years of value investing. Michael O’Brien has captured the spirit and essence of the characters featured in the book. As sharp an interpretation as O'Brien's photographs provide, so too does William Green’s written expression of the investors' varied backgrounds, philosophies and approaches. Each profile features aspects often not known and often not expected from the investors. This makes for as startling and engaging a reaction to the written word as that which the reader takes from the photographs. Altogether an elegant and thoroughly engaging treatment of a subset of today’s finest investors. I heartily recommend the book to all with an interest in the craft of investing."

--Thomas A. Russo, Managing Member, Gardner Russo & Gardner LLC.

Media Coverage

“The Great Minds of Investing” has received a good deal of media attention. To coincide with its publication in May 2015, Barron’s ran a three-page book excerpt. published four excerpts over four weeks. I’ve given an array of speeches about the book, including a Google Talk and speeches to YPO and the CFA Society, and I have further speaking engagements scheduled in the US and UK. I was interviewed on podcasts, radio shows, and websites such as Investing By The Books, Latticework, Benzinga, Five Good Questions, Martinis & Your Money, Hsu Untied, and Money, Riches & Wealth. I did a two-part interview on The Investor’s Podcast and an hour-long interview on Sarder TV. I appeared as an instructor at the European Investing Summit. I wrote articles about the investors in the book, including stories for, The Manual of Ideas, and Barron’s. A story I wrote about Warren Buffett has been viewed by 312,000 people on LinkedIn. The book was also featured in European publications such as Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Le Temps, and Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland’s leading newspaper). For links to some of this media coverage, please click below.

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© Michael O'Brien

The cover of the book.


I worked closely with the renowned hedge fund manager Guy Spier to help him write his much-praised memoir, The Education of a Value Investor, which Palgrave Macmillan published in 2014. called it "the most interesting investment book this year," and The Financial Times praised it as "highly readable." 

In the Acknowledgments section of the book, Spier generously discusses my role in creating the book, explaining: "What I thought would be light edits to the final draft quickly turned into a major collaboration entailing heavy revision and entire rewrites of every chapter in record time. Your compulsive dedication to making the text the very best that it can be, no matter what the cost, has improved the book beyond my wildest expectations.

My own writing tends to come out in eddies, not to mention the occasional wild vortex. You, on the other hand, know how to put sentences and paragraphs together beautifully and in such a way that makes them a joy to read. Your sense of narrative structure has shaped each and every chapter, ensuring that they had a beginning, middle and end, not to mention a payoff for the reader.

More important, perhaps, through your rich knowledge of the subject matter of the book, as well as of me, you were able to question me deeply. To push me to complete half-finished thoughts and help me to surface ideas that I could not quite figure out how to express. Even more impressive has been your regular capacity to sense intuitively what I was reaching for and also put that into words.

This experience gave me the privilege of being able to learn more about writing from a master of the craft, and it leaves me with a new-found understanding and respect for what great writers and editors do. I am deeply grateful to you for having directed your talents towards me and this book for several intense months in Zurich, Klosters, Greenwich, Shavei Tzion, and New York.

But perhaps the greatest reward of this collaboration has been the deeper friendship with you. To discover and enjoy your wicked sense of humor (including your gleeful derision when I repeatedly spelled the word "the" as "teh"!), and by way of your introduction to the Kabbalah, to discover new gates through which to connect with the universal wisdom of the cosmos.

Thanks also to your wife, Lauren. And to your children, Henry and Madeleine: I'm grateful to you for sharing your father's time with me. It was your temporary loss, but a permanent gain for me and the reader."