Dead Companies Walking

Author: Scott Fearon

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Unlike most investors, who live in fear of failure, Scott Fearon actively seeks it out. He has earned millions of dollars for his hedge fund over the last thirty years shorting the stocks of businesses he believed were on their way to bankruptcy. In Dead Companies Walking, Fearon describes his methods for spotting these doomed businesses, and how they can be extremely profitable investments. In his experience, corporate managers routinely commit six common mistakes that can derail even the most promising companies: they learn from only the recent past; they rely too heavily on a formula for success; they misunderstand their target customers; they fall victim to the magical storytelling of a mania; they fail to adapt to tectonic shifts in their industry; and they are physically or emotionally removed from their companies' operations.

Fearon has personally interviewed thousands of executives who were headed, unknowingly, for bankruptcy—from the Texas oil barons of...