Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Investor's Road Trip
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From Publishers Weekly
Financier Rogers retired at 37 and motorcycled around the world, turning the trip into the book Investment Biker, a hybrid of business advice and travelogue. That journey, however, failed to squelch his wanderlust. Instead of enjoying his sedate life teaching finance, Rogers decided to take his fiancée and a souped-up Mercedes on a frighteningly intense road trip: three years, 116 countries and 152,000 miles. Like the car that plowed through snow, mud, sand and highways on every continent, Rogers's memoir of the journey is its own breed. Although Rogers writes, far too briefly, of life-changing events like getting married and hearing of his father's death, the book has an uncommon level of detachment. Also, even though Rogers shares investment advice and observations about the planet's political economies, his thoughts are too general to serve as business lessons. The result is an adventure tale without heart and a finance book without teeth. Rogers tries to make up for this by describing experiences like eating fried silkworms and watching prostitutes caught in the world's sex trade. Mainly, though, he chronicles prosaic details, like taking car ferries and talking to border guards, and then riffs on politics, money, immigration and culture.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Rogers, a Wall Street success story who has been called "The Indiana Jones of Finance," once circled the planet on a motorcycle, which landed him in The Guinness Book of World Records and resulted in his first book, Investment Biker (1994). In 1999 he set out on another world-record drive around the world in a custom-built yellow Mercedes convertible with his fiancee, Paige Parker. Starting out in Iceland, the trip took three years and encompassed 116 countries, many of which are rarely visited, in a continuous swath across Europe, the former Soviet Republic, China, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. No one had ever driven overland following these routes, a total of 152,000 miles, another Guinness world record. Rogers' insightful commentary on the political and historical topography of these diverse countries cuts through stereotypes to give us a glimpse of the world the way it really is, for better or worse. This is a gutsy travelogue adventure from a guy who shoots straight from the hip, and it really hits the mark. David Siegfried
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not our style. Making short work of that visit, we headed for the only island in the archipelago that, for my purposes, could not be ignored: the newly liberated island of East Timor. Indonesia invaded predominantly Christian East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, in 1975. West Timor, formerly Dutch, was already part of Indonesia. Annexation, which was not internationally recognized, followed in 1976, and more than 100,000 East Timorese were killed over the ensuing years in the struggle for
on their government, up from only 20 percent in 1991. The world may owe the Japanese, but the Japanese owe one another. The government is in massive debt to its citizens. China does not have that problem. It has neither huge internal debt nor foreign debt (it is a net creditor), and it has the second largest international currency reserves in the world. There are those at the central bank in China who understand they must let their currency float to let the international market determine the
will replace the highway system and jump on board while everyone else is angling for the new interstate. On the road to Ulan Bator we saw nomads moving their camps, uprooting themselves and all their horses, camels, and goats, and traveling to new grazing grounds. These were the descendants of Genghis Khan, who had swept across the steppes on horseback. The women, we noticed, were expert riders just like the men. We started snapping pictures. Photographing a yurt, we were invited inside by the
Petersburg. Unlike twelve years ago, when it was hard to find a place to eat even the simplest of meals, Moscow today is abundant with restaurants, video and music shops, chic stores and sidewalk cafés. The well-heeled traveler can even stay in a five-star hotel in Moscow, though it is likely to be German-owned and -operated. The collapse of communism released a tidal wave of consumer demand. But there are no signs of new productive assets. All the tractors we passed were aging models held
governor can borrow a lot of money, just as New York State did in the 1960s. What Nelson Rockefeller built in Albany to buy votes makes some of the great cathedrals of the world pale by comparison. But it helped damage New York’s credit. Look for the same thing to happen in Europe. First, politicians will paper over their problems with fiscal Band-Aids, and then, when this ceases to work, they will point their fingers at others, outsiders—those evil, wily foreigners—particularly those in