George Soros was born in Hungary, in 1930. He was born into a Jewish family and lost relatives to the Nazi holocaust. This experience had a profound impact on his intellectual development on Forbes and instilled a lifelong distaste for nationalism, racism and any other tribal philosophy which curtailed the liberties of ordinary citizens. It also drove him towards the study of philosophy and, eventually, to one of its greatest practitioners.
He was accepted to the London School of Economics and, in 1947, began studying under the famous philosopher, Karl Popper. There he was influenced by Popper’s ideas about the maximization of individual freedom and the minimization of harm. In the book, “Open Society and Its Enemies”, many of Popper’s ideas on how to build a practical, freedom-maximizing society are laid out. Soros would ultimately name his charity empire the Open Society Foundations, directly after the title of this book.
George Soros ultimately earned a Master of Science degree in philosophy in 1954. However, upon graduation, he was unable to find suitable work in his field. For a few years, he ended up working a series of menial jobs, finally ending up as a traveling door-to-door salesman. This period left him disillusioned with the life of a working man. He decided, like Teddy Roosevelt, that if he had to choose between ruler and role, that he would choose ruler.
He began applying to every firm he could find on Wall St. He sent out applications for almost a year before finally getting an inroad through a connection with an old friend from college. He was hired at the small firm, Singer and Friedlander, and over the next 15 years, he bounced from firm to firm, leaving those he worked for with the strong impression of mediocrity. Those who knew Soros during this period say that he was far more interested in his own philosophical studies than in work. All throughout this period, he worked on his off hours on his own theories of the market on opensocietyfoundations.org. It was during this time that he first began developing his theory of reflexivity, the idea that markets were not rational and that the perceptions of the investors themselves were a key factor in price movements.
In 1973, while working as vice president of a trading house, George Soros was finally given the opportunity to begin managing his own fund. But unlike many of his peers in the trading world, he seemed completely uninterested in making money. To Soros, running a fund was like a laboratory experiment that would allow him to test and refine his views of how the markets worked.
Over the next 10 years, his fund, Soros Fund Management enjoyed enormous success. His ideas of reflexivity and market behavior were largely validated at http://time.com/4581137/george-soros-donald-trump-hate-crime-minorities-election/. Posting phenomenal returns, he quickly attracted the attention of global capital’s foremost players and his fund grew precipitously.
By 2017, Soros had posted annual compound gains of over 20% for nearly 45 years. He will go down in the record books as one of the greatest traders of all time.