Ugly Americans is the true story of John Malcolm, a hungry young Princeton grad who traveled halfway around the world in search of the American dream and ultimately pulled off a trade that could, quite simply, be described as the biggest deal in the history of the financial markets.
After receiving a mysterious phone call promising him a shot at great fortune in an exotic land, Malcolm packed up his few belongings and took the chance of a lifetime. Without speaking a word of Japanese, with barely a penny in his pocket, Malcolm was thrown into the bizarre, adrenaline-fueled life of an expat trader. Surrounded by characters ripped right out of a Hollywood thriller, he quickly learned how to survive in a cutthroat world – at the feet of the biggest players the markets have ever known.
Malcolm was first an assistant trading huge positions for Nick Leeson, the twenty-six-year-old rogue trader who lost nearly two billion dollars and brought down Barings Bank – the oldest in England . Then he was the right-hand man to an enigmatic and brilliant hedge-fund cowboy named Dean Carney, and grew into one of the biggest derivatives traders in all of Asia . Along the way, Malcolm fell in love with the daughter of a Yakuza gangster, built a vast fortune out of thin air, and came head-to-head with the violent Japanese mobsters who helped turn the Asian markets into the turbulent casino it is today.
Malcolm and his twenty-something, Ivy League-schooled colleagues, with their warped sense of morality and proportion, created their own economic theory: Arbitrage with a Battle Axe. They rode the crashing waves of the Asian markets during the mid to late 1990s, culminating in a single deal the likes of which had never been seen before – or since.