Independently minded publishing

The Art of Execution

How the world's best investors get it wrong and still make millions

By Lee Freeman-Shor

Paperback £19.99 / $31.99
eBook £17.99 / $23.99
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The Art of Execution

How the world's best investors get it wrong and still make millions

By Lee Freeman-Shor

Jacket text

Over seven years, 45 of the world’s top investors were given between $25m and $150m to invest by fund manager Lee Freeman-Shor. His instructions were simple. There was only one rule. They could only invest in their ten best ideas to make money.

It seemed like a foolproof plan to make a lot of money. What could possibly go wrong? These were some of the greatest minds at work in the markets today – from top European hedge fund managers to Wall Street legends.

But most of the investors’ great ideas actually lost money. Shockingly, a toss of a coin would have been a better method of choosing whether or not to invest in a stock.

Nevertheless, despite being wrong most of the time, many of these investors still ended up making a lot of money.

How could they be wrong most of the time and still be profitable?

The answer lay in their hidden habits of execution, which until now have only been guessed at from the outside world.

This book lays bare those secret habits for the first time, explaining them with real-life data, case studies and stories taken from Freeman-Shor’s unique position of managing these investors on a day-to-day basis.

A riveting read for investors of every level, this book shows you exactly what to do and what not to do when your big idea is losing or winning – and demonstrates conclusively why the most important thing about investing is always the art of execution.

About the author

Lee Freeman-Shor is a researcher, writer, and public speaker. His fund management career saw him successfully design, create, develop, and manage an innovative fund range and team that generated millions in revenue annually and at its peak had over £1 billion in AUM.

Lee was ranked as one of the world's top fund managers in Citywire 1000 in 2012. He has been AAA rated by Citywire, Gold rated by S&P Capital IQ fund research and is Bronze rated by MorningstarOBSR. He has worked at Old Mutual Global Investors nd was previously Co-Head of Equity Research. Prior to that, Lee worked for Schroders, Winterthur and in private client wealth management and has over 16 years investment experience.

He has extensive expertise in unstructured data analysis using qualitative methods (Content Analysis, Thematic Analysis, Iterative Classification) and NVIVO (specialist CAQDAS software).

Lee holds the Investment Management Certificate and has an LL.B (Hons) law degree From Nottingham Trent University. He resides in Tel Aviv, Israel.


“Fantastic…such a compelling read…There is a handful of investment books I wish someone had given me 30 years ago. This is one of them.”

– Tom Stevenson, Telegraph

“This book isn’t really about investing, instead it’s more of an exploration of human behaviour under different types of stress, and this is what makes the book fascinating…This book is written to appeal to all kinds of investors, and is bound to appeal to both the author’s peers and to the inexperienced investor.”

– Owen Jones, Fidelity Personal Investing

“I think that you make a very good point, which is that there are many styles to investing as there are ways to go through life, but the person who knows his character, and is knowing of his environment and his investment horse, is the one that wins over the long term, provided that he is asked to make defined decisions, which strip the investor of his natural inclination to hedge his bets.”

– Crispin Odey, hedge fund manager and founding partner of Odey Asset Management

“Fascinating and instructive reading”

– Jim Slater, Telegraph

“I am often asked by graduate students what books I have read that I could recommend they read to make the students better investors. My answer generally is that the student should read the Intelligent Investor and the Reminiscences of a Stock Operator; I will now add your book to the short list for students to read…I wish I had read this book thirty years ago!”

– Dennis M. Bryan, Partner at FPA and a legendary investor in the USA

“As investors we all know that we should let the winners run and cut the losers. The question is how this works in practice in investment management. Freeman-Shor provides a comprehensive framework how to deal with losing positions and how to make winning positions have a big positive impact on your portfolio returns. A great read for investment novices and professionals alike.”

– Dirk Enderlein, partner and fund manager at Wellington

“With a unique insight into the day to day behaviours of some of the world’s best fund managers Lee Freeman-Shor draws out some invaluable lessons for both the private and professional investor and lays bare the behavioural pitfalls we are all subject to in executing our investment ideas”

– James Inglis-Jones, fund manager at Liontrust

“I truly enjoyed reading your book. Not often I read a book that has so many relevant real-life examples. I also enjoyed reading the quotes very appropriate. You summarize a winning strategy in a very concise manner while backing it up with both examples and data. It is a must read for all managers and allocators. I will order my copy right away and will send some to our clients.”

– Arik Ahitov, Managing Director and fund manager at FPA

“I really enjoyed reading it, although I have to say it was in some respects a chastening experience as – in spite of best efforts – there are times when I lapse into some of the negative behaviours you identify. I think the insights are terrific though and it will serve as an ‘internal voice of conscience’ forcing me to scrutinise execution and timing more thoroughly”

– Daniel Nickols, fund manager and Head of UK Small and Mid-Cap equities at Old Mutual Global Investors

“An enjoyable and thought provoking read, from somebody with the real life evidence to back up the findings. An easy to read and enlightening study of behavioural finance, brought to life with real life experiences”

– Kevin Lilley, Europe ex UK fund manager, Old Mutual global Investors

Media coverage

From The Telegraph:

There is a wonderful short book called The Art of Execution, written by a fund manager called Lee Freeman-Shor and published four years ago by Harriman House. If you are even remotely interested in how to invest, go and buy it today. It will take you a couple of hours to read and you will… Read more »

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From Microcap Club:

The Art of Holding IAN CASSEL Stocks rarely perform in the time frames we predict, and it’s why the market only works for investors that have a long-term portfolio focus. Performance is never linear, up and to the right, year after year. You sometimes have to hold onto a position for a few years before… Read more »

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From Financial Adviser:

Reading a small paperback with a black cover entitled The Art of Execution on various train journeys over the Christmas and New Year period caused some interesting seat-shuffling reactions from fellow travellers. But they need not have worried, as the execution referred to is only of investment transactions. And really the title is a little… Read more »

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From Master Investor:

Fund management is a funny industry. Numerous studies over time have shown that professional investors in charge of actively managed funds consistently fail to beat their benchmark. In other words, they don’t do what they are paid to do. One of the most recent studies in this area, carried out by S&P Dow Jones Indices,… Read more »

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From The AAII Journal :

The investment ideas of the some of the greatest investors on the planet today are wrong most of the time, and yet they still make a lot of money. How can this be? How can the world?s best investors get it wrong and still make millions? That was the question I faced several years ago… Read more »

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From World Finance :

VIDEO: Investors often think the more time and money they plug into a business idea, the better the outcome. But a step too far and a failed enterprise is a costly thing. Could a bit of pessimism help mediate this? World Finance spoke with Lee Freeman-Shor, author of The Art of Execution: How the world?s… Read more »

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From World Finance :

VIDEO: Lee Freeman-Shor spoke to World Finance about why success in investment is less about spotting great ideas, and more about deploying good strategies. In a seven-year personal experiment, fund manager Lee Freeman-Shor gave 45 of the world?s top investors $25m and $150m to spend on business ideas. He discusses which investors had the best… Read more »

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From Valueprax:

Professor Failure What can we learn from failure? Aside from the fact that there?s an entire industry of business literature fetishizing the idea that it has much to teach us (as a kind of doppelgänger to the decades of success literature that took a person or business?s success as given and tried to look backward… Read more »

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From The Telegraph:

The small investor has as good a chance of reaping profits from shares as any professional fund manager ? if not better “It?s a waste of time trying to pick your own shares ? City fund managers have so many advantages that they will always be ahead of you.? It?s a complaint you often hear… Read more »

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Part I - I'm Losing (What Should I Do?)
Introduction to Part I
1. The Rabbits: Caught in the Capital Impairment
2. The Assassins: The Art of Killing Losses
3. The Hunters: Pursuing Losing Shares
Conclusion to Part I

Part II - I'm Winning (What Should I Do?)
Introduction to Part I
4. The Raiders: Snatching at Treasure
5. The Connoisseurs: Enjoying Every Last Drop

Conclusion: The Habits of Success

Published: 14/09/2015
Edition: 1st
Pages: 208
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857194954
ebook - ISBN 9780857195029
audio - ISBN 0000000000009
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