Killing the Market: Legendary Investor Robert W. Wilson
Robert W. Wilson is the greatest investor of all time, on the only criterion that counts: percentage return on capital. What you make with what you have, what you started out with. Wilson would be the first to point out that there are investors richer than himself; but on a percentage-return basis, he is unmatched, and untouched. He received $15,000 from his mother in 1958, and he ran this stake to the fabulous sum of $230 million, by 1986. With assistance he himself sought out, he then nearly quadrupled his net worth to $800 million, by the year 2000. This return, after taxes no less, is more than 50,000 to one. More than 5,000,000 percent. Wilson did it in about forty years, without partners. How? How, possibly? This book, Killing the Market, tries to find, or at least get close to, an answer. Robert Wilson quit the investing business in 1986, because he had lost his touch, as he said. The most productive of men, the hardest working of men, he started to move into philanthropy. Eventually he became just about the most important philanthropist in the United States. Of the $800 million he accumulated, he had given away fully $700 million of it at the time of his death, in 2013 (by his own hand). Movingly, Robert Wilson's gifts were never to things that entertained him, or to pet projects; they were always to charities trying very hard to make the world a better place for everybody.