• Jim Rogers: Adventure Capitalist

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    1 Million? Sure, Why Not?

    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.

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    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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