Ordinary Beginnings of the Super Successful Einhorn

7 Ways David Einhorn’s Life Might Not Be So Different To Yours


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7 Ways David Einhorn’s Life Might Not Be So Different To Yours

In May 2012, Einhorn made the Forbes’ “The World’s Billionaires List” and currently has an estimated net-worth of $1.45 billion. Now at age 48, the founder of Greenlight Capital hedge fund, his influence stretches far and wide and his riches seem beyond belief.

Yet, perhaps his riches are not as unattainable as you might think. Einhorn’s early life and career reveal some interesting facts about this self-made billionaire. As we learn about his rise to success, we discover that his ordinary upbringing and current day lifestyle might not be as different from our own.

Here are 7 fascinating facts about the billionaire:

1. His father ran his own M&A business after deciding to sell his NJ paint company

In the 1970s, when the energy crisis hit, David Einhorn’s father decided to sell their family paint company Adelphi Paints. So interested was his dad in the transaction of selling the company that his father decided to start a Mergers & Acquisitions shop in their hometown in New Jersey. David Einhorn was likely greatly inspired by his father as he saw his dad forging his own path and becoming a self-made man.

2. He was on his high school’s debating team and was a frat boy at Cornell

Einhorn went to one of the best school’s in the state called Nicolet High School and graduated in 1987. While at school, he joined the debating team and arguably still uses those debating skills he learned at school in his career today. It’s a gentle reminder to us that you never know when and where you might learn the skills you need to succeed!

After high school, Einhorn went on to study at Cornell University. During his time at Cornell, he belonged to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. This didn’t stop his from graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in business though!

3. Einhorn hated his first job at DLJ

Like many of us, Einhorn wasn’t exactly sure what he would do upon graduating from Cornell. He interned at the SEC one summer and even considered a job offer from the CIA; reassurance for the rest of us that it’s OK to not know exactly you want from your career at the start. It took a while for him to find his feet: Einhorn’s first job was as an analyst at a boutique investment bank called Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and he absolutely hated it. He compared his experience there to fraternity hazing. He lasted 2 years at DLJ working 100+ hour weeks until he finally decided enough was enough. He went on to work at Siegler, Collery & Co (EC) where he learned to hone his craft of evaluating stocks.

4. Einhorn’s Wife Suggested the name Greenlight Capital

In 1996, at age 27, Einhorn and a colleague from EC decided to start their own hedge fund, Greenlight Capital. The two co-workers launched the fund with $900,000 – a very small amount for a hedge fund. At this point, Einhorn had been married to his wife Cheryl for 3 years, a fellow alum from Cornell and it was from his wife that came the name “Greenlight” – a note to always listen to your significant other. Today Greenlight has over $8 billion in AUM.

5. Einhorn is a very skilled poker player and loves to donate his winnings to charity

In 2006, Einhorn won $650,000 for coming 18th in the World Series of Poker. He donated his winnings to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease. His grandfather had Parkinson’s so this foundation is very close to his heart. In 2012 he came 3rd in a tournament which had a million dollar buy-in and won a staggering $4.3 million – he donated these winnings to City Year, an AmeriCorps program. He is said to wear his lucky “good hands” sweater when playing poker – it’s a meaningful, homemade sweater with his wife and children’s handprints on it.

6. Einhorn is not afraid to speak his mind

Most know of Einhorn’s short call influence in the investing world. In 2011, Einhorn announced a short position on Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, causing a big sell-off in the stock. Most famously, he predicted the fall of Lehman Brothers. He shorted he company and Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 and earned big money for Einhorn. This is perhaps a lesson for all of us – to not be afraid to stick with your guns and voice your opinion.

7. He highly values spending time with his family

Einhorn was born on November 20, 1968 and is the oldest of 2 brothers so grew up in a family environment. Today, he lives with his wife and 3 kids in their Westchester County, NY home. He has been called the “antithesis” of the stereotypical billionaire – he doesn’t have a big ego, he coaches his kids’ ball teams and he always makes sure he is on the train home from Grand Central station to be in time for dinner.

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