Activist investor Chuck Gillman recently recommended the book Extreme Value Hedging to me. In Chuck’s opinion, making predictions about the future is incredibly difficult, so his preference is to profit from changes that can be made to improve poor capital allocation decisions. The book was a good introduction to many of the opportunities and challenges facing activist investors.
My main problem with the book was the lack of depth into particular activist cases. A large number of cases are discussed, but little in the way of detail is furnished. I wasn’t looking for the kind of detail provided by David Einhorn in his book describing his activist episodes against Allied Capital (Fooling Some Of The People All Of The Time), but more than passing references to activist cases would have been nice.
It does take a decent amount of capital to become an activist, however, so this book may not be practical for everyone. However, for those looking to ride along with activists, learning activist strategies and their limitations is essential.