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Gregory Zuckerman: During Periods of Crisis & Financial Turmoil, Gold has Always Done Very Well

Gregory discusses his twenty-year career with The Wall Street Journal and how he was fortunate to meld together his fascination for markets, investing, and business with a career in journalism.

Gregory’s book “The Greatest Trade Ever” discusses the career of John Paulson and other individuals who did well during the 2008 housing crisis. These individuals were mostly outsiders who were able to anticipate and take advantage of the coming crisis. This is the paradox behind the book as these were not the people you would have expected to outperform the market.

Gold is an interesting investment because no one knows what it’s worth. It doesn’t have a cash-flow or earnings. It’s not something that traditional investors embrace, but it is one that historically does very well in a crisis and is doing well today.

His newest book, “The Man Who Solved the Markets,” discusses how Jim Simons and his Medallion Fund have been up 66% a year since 1998. They are pioneers in algorithmic trading, and Jim will go down in history as the greatest moneymaker the financial industry has ever seen. The surprising aspect is that they are mathematicians and engineers, not traders, and sometimes they don’t even invest for themselves. There are still opportunities for individual investors in today’s markets, but you can’t beat these types of traders in the short-term.

Be skeptical of the experts and look for those with a different opinion. Listen to the outsider perspective. We, as investors and humans, embrace stories, and sometimes we aren’t as good at judging opportunities and people.

Time Stamp References:
0:40 – Highlights from his career and journalism.
2:00 – Story about John Paulson, outsiders and the credit crisis.
4:10 – Valuing gold and times of crisis.
5:20 – Quants and Jim Simons pioneering outperformance.
7:20 – Risks of relying on intuition instead of models.

Talking Points From This Weeks Episode

His interest in finance and what led him to journalism.
Gregory discusses his books about outsiders who excelled.
The disadvantages of trading short-term.

Gregory Zuckerman is a Special Writer at The Wall Street Journal, a 20-year veteran of the paper and a three-time winner of the Gerald Loeb award — the highest honor in business journalism.

Greg is the author of “The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters,” a national bestseller published in October 2014 by Portfolio/Penguin Press. The book describes how several unlikely individuals created an American energy renaissance that brought OPEC to its knees. The Frackers was named among the best books of 2014 by The Financial Times and Forbes Magazine and book of the year by the New York Financial Writers Association.

Greg also wrote “The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History,” a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller published in December 2010 by Crown Business/Random House. The book has been translated into ten languages.

Greg appears regularly on CNBC, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg Television, and various television networks. He makes regular appearances on National Public Radio, BBC, ABC Radio, Bloomberg Radio, and radio stations around the globe.

Greg joined the Journal in 1996 after writing about media companies for the New York Post. Previously, he was the managing editor of Mergers & Acquisitions Report, a newsletter published by Investment Dealers’ Digest. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1988, Magna Cum Laude.

A graduate of Brandeis University, Greg lives with his wife and two sons in West Orange, N.J., where they enjoy the Yankees in the summer, root for the Giants in the fall, and reminisce about Linsanity in the winter.

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