Thursday, November 05, 2015

Red Notice by Bill Browder

I just read the most fascinating book by Bill Browder - Red Notice - a True Story or High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice.  Yes, most people think I only read boring business books but I do read some other books too.

It is the story of a business person/investment banker/hedge fund guy who buys assets that Russia sold in the privatization.  He was wildly successful in a dangerous environment.  

In Russia, there is a large underworld that seeks to steal anything they can.  And since Browder's company had money, they figured out how to steal it and use it to embezzle over $200,000,000 from the Russian government.  And then they tried to pin it on him using extreme methods including prisoning and ultimately killing one of his lawyers.

This turned Browder into a activist.  He funnelled his energy, passion and time into getting justice.   He became a human rights activist that brought down much of the corruption in Russia (although there still is a lot).  He ended up getting legislation passed that barred criminals from Russia traveling and seized their assets.  From the book:

"The less people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep at night"  (Wonder why I never eat sausages?)

Browder was savvy.  He knew how to use the press (including youtube) to his advantage.  See one of the Youtube's he did.

The crooks (including Putin himself) ended up targeting him.  Although he was successful, to this day, he has to watch his back so is he really successful?

As an entrepreneur, I could identify with him which I think made the story so compelling.

This book is truly a page turner.

It ranks up there with other recent true books I have read like Unbroken and Escape from Camp 14.  I like true stories.

And on the more positive - laundry anyone?


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