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The Key Man

The rise and fall of Arif Naqvi is fascinating, but I found this book a bit wanting.

First, the story itself:

The basic story is as old as stories go - man does well, gets delusions of granduer and tries to live way above his station, and in doing so falls all the way down to earth.

The really sad thing in the whole story is that initially Arif Naqvi was good at investing - not great, but good enough - which is why so many famous names invested in his funds, but fund managers work hard for their cut and most of them never become as rich as their investors.

If you are worth 40-60 million dollars, don't try to live like a multi-billionaire and end up eating your clients money because you are delusional enough to think you will make billions any day now.

It is especially tragic that Arif Naqvi failed, becuase it does seem that he had enough good ideas that in a actual fund where people worked to do make their investments better instead of just living the jetset life, enough would have worked out to effect the world for the better.

3 stars:

There is a bit too much moralizing and not enough finance thoughout the book. Similar books about other financiers who crashed and burned tell more and let you make your own judgements.

When you're talking about ppl managing billions of dollars its besides the point to that they spend money on travel and expensive dinners, and to keep comparing the cost of hosting a prime minster to dinner to the yearly income of 20 poor ppl. Didn't want to bring up the racism word, but in the dozens of other similar books about white financiers, this doesn't happen after every few pages.

You don't learn998 much about Abraaj and how it did stuff - too much of the detail about Abraaj in the book is basically a summary of Arif's numerous speeches around the world.

I feel the journalists hit upon a super hot story - that a big PE fund was a failing, and concentrated all their firepower into getting out that story. This book - is just an extended version of that, and doesn't do the actual rise any justice, and thus misses out on an exciting story.

Abraaj invested in the developing world - which is where obviously a good chunk of the story happened, but the authors spend most of the book following Arif from one Davos conference to the next.

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