Carson Block’s life could make for a blockbuster script: a combination of Jerry Maguire meets Breaking Bad. Getting initiated into the stock market in his teens through his father, Block learnt the hard way that things are not as rosy as they are made out to be and CFOs can lie looking at you in the eye. Around the year 2000, Block decided to chuck his investment banking job and join his father full-time at his research outfit that mainly covered micro-caps. His experience with micro-cap frauds, his foundation in law, and finally witnessing Chinese con jobs provided him the right ingredients to model Muddy Waters Research, which digs up accounting frauds. Incidentally, the firm’s name is derived from an old Chinese proverb that says, “Muddy waters make it easy to catch fish.” When the pond water is clear, the fish dives away and is difficult to catch, but if you kick up the silt beneath, the fish rises to the top and you can catch it easily as it hesitates to dive into muddy waters. With his iron will, grit and critical thinking, Block is constantly kicking up silt for muddy managements.
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You can read the first edition of Masterspeak that was published in 2013. Some of the world’s finest thinkers offer their insights, advice and food for further thought in this Collector’s Issue