I debated for some time whether or not to post the following article from the New Yorker:
Why? Because in a world where conformity and timidity guarantees a certain amount of safety, there will always be iconoclasts who see the world not as risk, but as opportunity. We should celebrate the "failure" of these individuals, not villify them for not playing it safe.
The tragic/flawed hero subject of the article is someone I have alluded to several times on this blog. I would agree with the article that Victor is someone who has an almost preternatural ability to shoulder risk (in all forms of his life). He just cannot seem to tolerate a day without the presence of thought-concentrating levels of risk. This perspective towards life and investments should serve as more inspiration than cuationary tale.
(Of course, I have to disclaim part of the above with the caveat that investors should always be aware of what the strategy and risks a fund is employing. In this case, it was clear: To generate high returns, one must take high amounts of risk. There are no free lunches, and the current malaise effecting several prominent hedge funds serves to illustrate that funds advertising high returns and low risk might suffer from the "past performance is no guarantee of future success" mantra)
What the article does not say is how generous a man he is and will continue to be. I never had Abalone (a shell-fish delicacy) in my life prior to meeting Vic Niederhoffer, and his teachings and way of analyzing the world has caused me and hundreds of others immense benefit. He will do more than merely "survive".