Brandon Eleuterio

Book Reviews

Street Smarts

Adventures on the Road and in the Markets

Author: Jim Rogers

ISBN: 0307986071

Length: 274 pages

Date read: 8/19/2019

My rating: 4/5

Visit Amazon for more details.


Investor Jim Rogers describes his journey from a small-town boy in Alabama to a world-famous investor living in Singapore. The journey involved becoming coxswain for the Oxford crew team, exceptional success as a Wall Street investor, retirement at 37, and two record-breaking trips around the world. A fun read, that lays out his unique worldview and current long-term investment strategy. Rogers provides ample evidence for his bold prediction that East Asia (especially China) is poised to supplant the United States as the global economic leader. He invests accordingly.

Readability – 5/5

I wasn’t sure going in, but I quickly warmed up to Mr. Roger’s style. He skillfully weaved personal stories with compelling philosophical arguments around why America and East Asia are heading in opposite economic directions. He clearly lays out the problems we face in the US and what might be done to turn the tide.

Not sure he has me convinced that countries like China are heading in a freer direction than the US, but he’s made enough of a case to encourage further investigation.

You might enjoy this book if…

You enjoy:

Key Takeaways

  1. To be a successful investor, anticipate change, study philosophy (avoid business school), do your own homework, and think differently.
  2. To be successful at a career, be persistent, don’t follow the money, and consider doing something no one else is doing.
  3. To be rich, become a farmer instead of a stockbroker. Rogers predicts, “Soon, stockbrokers will be driving taxis—or the smart ones will be driving tractors in order to work for the farmers—while the farmers will be driving Lamborghinis.”
  4. Don’t be afraid to fail. “Losing everything can be a beneficial experience, because it teaches you how much you do not know.”
  5. “If you want to know something about a country, you can learn more from talking to a black marketer than from speaking to a government minister.”
  6. Short sellers are necessary for the efficient operation of financial markets. They expose fraud and bubbles that might not otherwise be noticed.
  7. Much like Warren Buffet, Jim Rogers describes himself as “an investor, not a trader. I look to buy a stock cheap and never sell it.”
  8. According to Rogers, America’s economy is poised to follow in the footsteps of Japan and experience its own long period of economic stagnation. We are now “the largest debtor nation in the history of the world” without the savings to fight our way out of it.
  9. How did America get into this position? Rogers says: a) our tax code encourages debt while other countries encourage savings b) we spend the second most on education per student in the world, but we lag behind many in performance. c) the ease of litigation in healthcare has increased costs and decreased innovation. d) too many trade restrictions. e) growing corruption and incompetence in government.
  10. China is acting more capitalistic than America. By going around the world buying up natural resources from places like Africa, they are anticipating a future shortage of raw materials, while at the same time, developing new trade partners.
  11. Rogers believes China is following the “Asian Way” to reform. “First to open up your economy, to bring prosperity to your country, and then, only after that, to open up your political system.” This is the same formula that countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore have followed.

My favorite part of the book

When Mr. Rogers describes a time he co-hosted a TV show and his mother called his cell phone while they were live on the air. He answers the phone and says, “Mother, I cannot talk now, I am sitting here on TV.”

Why did I read this book?

Amazon suggestion. I was in a hotel in Longmont, Colorado looking for something to read.

What other books did this inspire me to read?

Best Quote

It is remarkable how many people mistake a bull market for brains.

– Jim Rogers

One more…

Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell.

– Jim Rogers (quoting former astronaut Frank Borman)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top