Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Feature Book Review: Street Smarts by Jim Rogers ジム・ロジャーズのストリート・スマート

Jim Rogers likes to travel and observe. He can do so now, mainly due to great wealth created as a top trader for George Soros. He sees the world with a very economic and investment themed pair of eyes. I like his way of seeing the world. As a child in rural Alabama, he remembered a curious story about a friend telling him that if he dug a hole deep enough, he would end up in China! Luckily, he got to fly there as an adult instead, and has returned many times. Every time he visits, he sees new opportunities.

He often sees good bets before the mass market generally. He has often been 2-3 years ahead of most trends, and that is what made him a wealthy money manager at Soros. It still serves him well today. He does not just talk, he also acts. He has moved to Singapore, and his 2 daughters speak fluent Mandarin. This is on purpose, it is planned, and he hopes more western parents will follow him down that road. Some of the most interesting "Street Smarts" Asian observations include how Japan, now has more pets than children. This is hardly a great indicator of growth or spending of its people. 

In his view, the US is declining economically at about the same rate as Asia-Pacific is rising. He sees the US as a great nation that has peaked economically, and will be replaced by a new rising star like many others before it. The next wave of investment opportunity are clearly in Asia, be it basic dairy manufacturers in Mongolia or nursing homes in Japan. The demographic statistics are clearly in favor of this area's success. 

He does seem a bit sad at the state of US healthcare and education. He makes a good case that twice as much is spent per person in the US, than any other nation, but with poor results overall. He finds the overall level of education in Singapore to be very high, in fact higher than the overall USA. However, all city states tend to have a much better level of education than a mixed urban & rural nations. 

Borders are now open, but may start to close again in many places. He remarks that Marco Polo had no passport and was able to travel freely into China. Great nations remain open, and grow more strong from economic influence. The US may be close to shutting its doors even more, given the recent Donald Trump popularity. Unfortunately, this is not good for the pace of continued innovation. This is the kind of book that you want to debate over beers with friends, and reflect on what really can happen in the short term versus the longer view. It is a great collection of observations of investment tips that can help any portfolio, if you like to keep your eyes open to investment worldwide. Highly Recommended!

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