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The Most Dangerous Trade: How Short Sellers Uncover Fraud, Keep Markets Honest, and Make and Lose Billions



"The natural state of a collapsing universe is the breaking down of order. Short sellers understand this and seek to profit from it."
—From the Preface

The Most Dangerous Trade puts high-profile short sellers under the microscope to examine their different investment styles, strategies, and tactics. Based on years of research (and hard-won interviews), award-winning journalist Richard Teitelbaum profiles more than a dozen short sellers including well-known investors such as James Chanos, William Ackman, Manuel Asensio, and Doug Kass. The author includes stories of both their winning investments as well as their financial missteps. The book shows how each short seller researches his or her targets, puts on a trade, and sees the investment through to riches—or failure.

The Most Dangerous Trade offers up a cornucopia of short-selling tales, including the greatest short sellers, the most notable trades, and roiling controversies.

RICHARD TEITELBAUM is a contributing editor to Institutional Investor magazine. He worked as a senior writer for Bloomberg News, where he shared an award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; as an investing editor for the New York Times; as a writer for Fortune magazine; and as a traffic reporter in San Francisco.

Preface vii

Chapter 1 Ackman: The Activist Grandstander 1

Chapter 2 Asensio: Exile on Third Avenue 27

Chapter 3 Chanos: Connoisseur of Chaos 51

Chapter 4 Einhorn: Contrarian at the Gates 87

Chapter 5 Block: Playing the China Hand 125

Chapter 6 Fleckenstein: Strategies and Tactics 153

Chapter 7 Kass: Nader’s Raider Hits the Street 177

Chapter 8 Tice: Truth Squad Leader 203

Chapter 9 Pellegrini: Behind the Great Subprime Bet 227

Chapter 10 Cohodes: Force of Nature, Market Casualty 257

About the Author 297

Index 299