Jim Simons is the greatest moneymaker in modern financial history. His record bests those of legendary investors, including Warren Buffett, George Soros and Ray Dalio. Yet Simons and his strategies are shrouded in mystery. The financial industry has long craved a look inside Simons's secretive hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies and veteran Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman delivers the goods.
After a legendary career as a mathematician and a stint breaking Soviet codes, Simons set out to conquer financial markets with a radical approach. Simons hired physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists - most of whom knew little about finance - to amass piles of data and build algorithms hunting for the deeply hidden patterns in global markets. Experts scoffed, but Simons and his colleagues became some of the richest in the world, their strategy of creating mathematical models and crunching data embraced by almost every industry today.
As Renaissance became a major player in the financial world, its executives began exerting influence on other areas. Simons became a major force in scientific research, education and Democratic politics, funding Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign. While senior executive Robert Mercer is more responsible than anyone else for the Trump presidency - he placed Steve Bannon in the campaign, funded Trump's victorious 2016 effort and backed alt-right publication Breitbart. Mercer also impacted the success of the Brexit campaign as he made significant investments in Cambridge Anatlytica. For all his prescience, Simons failed to anticipate how Mercer's activity would impact his firm and the world.
In this fast-paced narrative, Zuckerman examines how Simons launched a quantitative revolution on Wall Street, and reveals the impact that Simons, the quiet billionaire king of the quants, has had on worlds well beyond finance.