Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets

Jim Rogers’ brand-new book, Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets, offers investing insights and economic, political, and social analysis, drawing on lessons and observations from his lifetime in the markets.

The Wall Street legend has added entertaining accounts of his travels around the world—studying the markets from Russia to Singapore from the ground up—to his fiscal wisdom, making such books as Investment Biker, Adventure Capitalist, Hot Commodities, and A Bull in China must-read favorites among investors and Wall Street folks for the last two decades. (And don’t forget A Gift to My Children, which focuses on learning from triumphs as well as hard times.)

In Street Smarts Rogers discusses his lifetime of adventure, from his early years growing up in Demopolis, Alabama, to his fledgling career on Wall Street, to his cofounding the successful Quantum Fund.

Here’s Rogers on Glenn Beck’s radio program, breaking down our fiscal woes, Obama’s State of the Union address, and the president’s plan for the economy:

In Street Smarts Rogers takes us through his school days at Yale and Oxford—where, despite lacking funds for appropriate shoes, he helped his crew win the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race as well as the Thames Cup, the first of his three Guinness World Records—to his first taste of Wall Street in the mid-1960s, and his years helping run the most successful hedge fund on Wall Street.

In addition Rogers offers often surprising observations on how the world works—how revolutions in Chile affect coffee prices in Seattle, and how copper shortages in Africa affect electricity brownouts in Ohio—and what trends he sees in the future (e.g., why Asia will be the dominant economic force in the 21st century…and how he and his wife and two daughters moved to Singapore to prepare them for the coming changes).

Rogers also discusses why America and the European Union are in decline, and what we need to do to right our economy and society. The age of Wall Street—when the finance industry drove 25% of America’s growth—is over, Rogers declares, adding that tomorrow’s economy will be driven by those who make things (e.g., food, energy, goods, and consumables).

Check out part one of Rogers’ appearance on The Glenn Beck Program in which he offers a deeper take on the economic impact of President Obama’s policies:

The following Street Smarts excerpt digs deeper into what Rogers is communicating about the worldwide economic downturn:

I write this in the midst of a global financial crisis that most of the world’s politicians would have you believe is temporary. Things, we are told, will turn around. I will not argue with that. I am here to tell you, simply, that things are unlikely to turn around permanently in your lifetime. The staggering debt loads in many countries will lead to major changes in the way we all live and work. Many old institutions, traditions, political parties, governments, cultures, even nations will decline or collapse or simply disappear, just as has always happened in times of political and economic turmoil.

The investment bank Bear Stearns, for instance, was decades old when it went under in 2008. The financial-­services firm Lehman Brothers, when it foundered that same year, had been in business for more than a century and a half. The cave-­in of those long-established, global corporations exemplifies the changing circumstances faced by many American institutions. Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford, though they might not know it yet, may be heading toward bankruptcy. Museums, hospitals, and other institutions we know and love are headed for trouble, and we are going to see a lot of them vanish in the upheaval, be it financial or economic.

Some have labeled me an alarmist, a modern-­day Cassandra. But nothing I see in the future need serve as cause for alarm, or even come as a surprise. The winds of change are blowing, they are blowing from the direction of China, and they are blowing in predictable fashion. What we are witnessing is business as usual, history turning a familiar page. And throughout history such moments of transition have presented opportunities to the attentive, so I am wildly optimistic about many things to come.

Here’s part two of Rogers’ guest appearance: