Jim Rogers: Adventure Capitalist

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Jim Rogers
and Paige Parker along with their anonymous team of videographer
and web designer traveled 152,000 miles in three years covering
116 countries across the world, setting a world record. It takes
a great deal of courage, conviction, resilience, patience and probably
a bit of madness to take up this kind of a challenge. People start
feeling homesick after a few days of journey and when they are thrown
out of their comfort zone. To throw yourself in the middle of total
chaos, to fight for visas on every border, to find a place to sleep
and to locate your next meal, even when you have the resources to
pay for everything, is no mean feat. The adventure is something
that would keep inspiring whole lot of aspiring travelers like me.

The
book
with its 340 or so pages is too small to capture an experience
that is so vast. So you do follow the couple’s journey as it
happened chronologically, but you miss out on the details for most
places. Author talks a lot of border crossings, the problems or
the surprises that they had while crossing with their car. He also
talks about the stock exchanges in all major countries, and how
easy or difficult it is for a foreign investor to invest there.
As they spend most of the time on the road, they do talk about the
quality of the roads and have their own list of best and worst roads
across the world. He also makes the book personal by talking about
his marriage, his father’s illness and his death during the
trip. He almost ends the book by talking about his visit to his
father’s grave.

In the last
chapter which should have been his reflections on the trip after
coming back, he actually takes it as an opportunity to thrash America
and how it is making enemies and alienating itself from the world.
He also takes all possible digs at Alan Greenspan, who he holds
responsible for fraudulent reporting by US government and responsible
for inflated economy numbers. I am not an expert to say how good
or bad his observations are, but I found them irrelevant in a book
that should have been about his travel adventure and about his insights
into investing in various economies around the world.

Considering
that they traveled 150 miles a day on average, they had not more
than 2–3 days per country that they traveled, so their connect
per country per day is not really enough for them to be able to
make any inferences or decisions on the country overall. Jim stops
by to give investment advise on all these countries, and giving
an impression that the decision is solely based on the 2–3
days spent in the country which seems unlikely. He and his wife
also got married while on the trip so the trip also served as their
extended honeymoon; no wonder they stop at certain places and find
them romantic. I found his investment advice too shallow, as they
lacked all rationale and the logic given was too high level. He
only talks about balance of trade, demographics and the free trade
as the only parameters to consider while trying to invest in an
economy. I am sure there is far more to an economy and to investor’s
decisions than this simplistic view.

Read
the rest of the article

December
24, 2009

Jim
Rogers has taught finance at Columbia University’s business school
and is a media commentator worldwide. He is the author of Adventure
Capitalist,
Investment
Biker
, Hot
Commodities
, A
Gift to My Children
, and A
Bull in China
. See his
website
.

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