Riches Among the Ruins by Robert P. Smith


Today, Robert P. Smith is a legend in the world of finance. Part adventurer and part economic writer, this Indiana Jones of the financial world was an advance man for the forces of globalization, having spent more than 30 years traveling through five continents, buying and selling high-risk securities in the world’s most downtrodden economies. So tenuous was his operation and so covert the transactions that an overnight fluctuation in a country’s currency rate could mean the difference between a spectacular profit and a devastating loss. Today, the trade in emerging market debt is worth more than $5 billion a day, but it was virtually nonexistent when Smith, a one-time collections lawyer, pioneered the business in the late 1970s. Riches Among the Ruins is the extraordinary story of Smith’s search to make money doing the riskiest kind of business. We are at his side as he travels through the treacherous and exhilarating world of the debt trader, dodging bullets and roadside bombs in post-Saddam Iraq and risking his life on the chaotic streets of Nigeria. As he engages in a battle of wills with businessmen in Istanbul, and loses millions overnight in the ruins of the post-Soviet Russian economy, we experience all the thrill and terror that accompanies making big money in emerging markets. Adrenaline-fueled and utterly compelling, this is the gripping story of one man’s quest for fortune where others fear to tread.

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