“Who are the best investors of all time?” That’s the question I’ve gotten over and over again. “Warren Buffett” was always the first response that popped up in my head, but he’s not the answer I wanted to give.
Not because that he’s a boring answer, but I wanted to give an objective response. Warren Buffett’s investment performance is actually not at the top of the chart among the best. However, he’s on a very short list of the best investors of all time who has given so much advice to individual investors.
Learning from the best investors of all time
I wanted to put together a list of the best investors of all time who has not only put up great investment performance but also have been great teachers in the field of investing. We can all become better investors by absorbing their perspectives.
Over the years I’ve watched many interviews with the investors on this list. YouTube has been a goldmine of investing lessons from the best investors, yet it has been so under-tapped.
Perhaps there’s so much material and so little time to sort through the good from the bad.
So I wanted to curate through them all and compile the list of video lessons from the best investors of all time.
Watching these interviews with legendary investors is not only a faster way to learn about their investment philosophies. It also helps to understand them on a personal level in terms of where they come from and how they think.
Instead of binge-watching Netflix, it might help to binge-watch the videos below on a Sunday afternoon. These videos have given me important life lessons and a much better understanding of the investment styles I preferred the most.
The best investors of all time: a compilation
Without further ado, here’s the list of video lessons from the best investors of all time, sorted alphabetically.
Pershing Square Capital Management
Topics: Activist Investing, War Stories
Bill Ackman founded Pershing Square in November 2003 with $54 million raised from 3 investors. He is an activist investor. He buys the common stocks of public companies and pushes for changes so that the market can realize the values of the companies.
Topics: Value Investing, Traits of a Great Investor
Warren Buffett is the most famous and respected value investor in history who tops the best investors of all time list the most often.
The “Oracle of Omaha” studied under the legendary Benjamin Graham at Columbia, and transformed Berkshire into one of the largest conglomerates in the world. Buffett seeks to acquire great companies trading at a discount to intrinsic value, and hold them for the long-term. He will only invest in businesses that he understands and always insists on a margin of safety.
Topics: Career Stories, Short Selling, Psychology
Jim is one of the most famous short sellers today. Jim Chanos went to Wall Street in 1980 and began shorting stocks in 1982, which drove his interest to start a short-concentrated fund. He now running $6 billion, with $5.5 billion in short.
Topics: Career Stories, Life Lessons, Traits of a Great Investor
Leon Cooperman is the founder of Omega Advisors, a hedge fund with approximately $6 billion under management. Prior to Omega, Cooperman was the CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and has worked at Goldman for 25 years. Cooperman is known for combining his macro view and fundamental valuation in his investing strategy.
Topics: The Economic Machine
Ray Dalio founded Bridgewater in 1975, now with more than $165 billion under management. He is known for his macro view and the famed Economic Machine principle. Dalio studied finance at Long Island University and Harvard and began his wall street career at Merrill Lynch in 1972.
Topics: Career Stories, Philanthropy
Stan Druckenmiller is the President of Duquesne Capital, which he founded in 1981. The fund has more than $10 billion in assets. Prior to Duquesne, he managed money for George Soros from 1988 to 2000 as the lead portfolio manager for the Quantum Fund.
Topics: The Fed, Monetary Policies
David Einhorn is President of Greenlight Capital, a value-oriented investment advisor. He is a noted activist investor, taking positions in companies, and then pushing management to implement changes.
Topics: Career Stories, Building Millennium
Izzy Englander founded Millennium Management in 1989. By the middle of 2011, Englander had grown the company to roughly $13 billion in assets under management.
Topics: Career Stories, Building Citadel, Politics
Ken Griffin has been trading stock options since 1986 and founded Citadel in 1990 with $4.2 billion dollars under management. Griffin began using quantitative, technology-based methods before many other firms had cell phones. The fund had been wildly successful until losing 55% during the financial crises. By the start of 2012 however, he cleared the high water mark, with returns over 20% in 2011. Citadel’s main funds are called Kensington and Wellington. These funds returned almost 25% in 2012 and 19.4% in 2013.
Topics: Investing Lessons, Fixed Income
Jeffrey Gundlach spent decades helping Los Angeles’ TCW build its fixed-income business only to be kicked out in 2009. That prompted him to start cross-town rival DoubleLine Capital with 40 other former employees, amidst a barrage of sordid allegations and lawsuits. With financial backing from earlier TCW refugees, Howard Marks and Bruce Karch of Oaktree Capital, DoubleLine has become the fastest-growing mutual fund start-up in history and now has $90 billion under management.
Topics: Investment Discipline, Philanthropy
Carl Icahn is the legendary corporate raider who spearheaded the activist investing movement. However, his performance as of late has been sub-stellar. He will return outside money and focus on managing his own wealth.
Topics: Leadership, Building Baupost, Value Investing
Seth Klarman is a value investor and Portfolio Manager of the investment partnership the Baupost Group. Founded in 1983, Baupost now manages $7 billion and has averaged returns of nearly 20% annually since their inception. Klarman is the author of the book “Margin of Safety” which sells for over $1000 on Amazon.
Topics: Career Stories, Investment/Life Philosophy, Contrarian Investing
Howard Marks founded Oaktree which invests heavily in debt, preferred stocks, and convertible bonds. He is known for his philosophical take on investing and has written heavily on the importance of secondary thinking.
Topics: Human Misjudgement, Psychology
Buffett followers believe that Charlie Munger had a significant influence on Warren Buffett’s investment philosophy. Before partnering with Munger, Buffett was a Ben Graham type of cigar butt bargain investor. Charlie Munger inspired Warren Buffett to invest in high-quality businesses for the long-term. The latest investment Charlie Munger convinced Warren Buffett was the investment in Chinese electric car maker BYD.
Paulson & Co.
Topics: Merger Arbitrage, Energy
John Paulson established his firm as a merger arbitrage hedge fund manager and seeks to make money from situations when one public company announces plans to take over another. Merger arbitrage hedge funds primarily study equity markets, but they also research the market for credit default swaps, a form of insurance that starts paying out as soon as a credit security falls in value.
Topics: Value Investing
Michael Price earned his reputation for buying undervalued companies. He buys stock in out-of-favor small-cap companies that are of good values and has often tussled with company management.
Topics: Traits of Great Portfolio Managers, Seeding Tiger Cubs
Julian Robertson is considered the father of hedge fund. He launched his firm Tiger Management in 1980 with $8 million and turned it into over $22 billion in the late 1990s. Robertson had the best hedge fund record throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It is reported that the compound rate of return to his investors was 32%. During his active years, he was considered to be the “Wizard of Wall Street.” Tiger Management became the world’s largest fund, which peaked at over $23 billion invested. Besides his investment record, Mr. Robertson also mentored a group of young hedge fund managers, known as the “Tiger Cubs.” A number of them became extremely successful hedge fund managers in their own right, including John Griffin of Blue Ridge Capital, Lee Ainslie of Maverick Capital, Andreas Halvorsen of Viking Global, and Steve Mandel of Lone Pine Capital.
Topics: Career Stories, Life Lessons, Quantitative Investing
For over two decades, Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies, which trade in markets around the world, has employed complex mathematical models to analyze and execute trades, many of them automated. Renaissance uses computer-based models to predict price changes in easily-traded financial instruments. These models are based on analyzing as much data as can be gathered, then looking for non-random movements to make predictions.
Topics: Career Story, Activist Investing
Ubben founded ValueAct post-MBA, which applies the private equity investment framework to public companies. ValueAct is typically one of the largest independent shareholders at each of its core company investments and works in a constructive manner with management. Ubben has a B.A. from Duke and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern.
The best investors of all time: final words
There you have it, the ultimate video collection of the best investors of all time for your weekend viewing.
Who are your favorite investors that we missed? Post them below and we’ll discuss whether they should be on the list.