You might think having an investment banker like Jim Rogers on London Real was a bit too niche.
But this classic episode is one of the most far reaching we’ve ever done and my choice for today’s #ThrowbackTuesday.
Jim Rogers is more than just an investments guy, he’s truly a man of the world.
His whole perspective on the world is broad. Jim views everything through the eyes of history.
Living in Singapore, and having biked and driven across the world, he’s both quintessentially American, and a man of international tastes.
Jim Rogers is every bit the Southern gentleman, sporting bow tie and searsucker suit.
As you’ll see from this fascinating chat we had, he grew up in Alabama, green in the ways of the world, before studying at Yale, which his father told him was ‘a hotbed of liberalism’.
This gave Jim a taste for new experiences and broad horizons, and so from Yale he went to Oxford.
Jim’s take on the rise and fall of the United Kingdom is every bit as engrossing as his take on modern Asia, Russia and the rise of China.
From Oxford Jim served in the US military (having failed to dodge the draft!) and went straight to Wall Street, where he took to the markets like he was born to do it.
As he tells me during the interview, Wall Street was VERY different then compared to what it is now, or what it was like when I rocked up there in the early nineties.
Jim describes it as a ‘wasteland’ and a ‘backwater’ and people were astounded in those days that a well educated young man would choose to go into the US markets as a career.
But he loved it, and by the early eighties, and in his late thirties, he he was already retired.
He’s most famous for his book Investment Biker, which is the story of him biking across the world, including China and Russia.
This book was legendary when I was a young banker on Wall Street, and according to Jim it out-performed Marlon Brando’s autobiography which was put out by the same publisher, in the same year!
Jim’s keen perspective on human behaviour and cultural evolution are pure gold in this episode.
This is so far from an episode just about financial markets. Through Jim’s acute knowledge of world economies, he’s able to reveal so much about what really makes our planet tick.
I loved hearing him describe the difference between India and China, how he’s optimistic about Russia as a future superpower, and about the decline of the US and the UK on the world stage.
He’s absolutely down with Asia, and in particular China.
Not only are the Chinese economically powerful, according to Jim, they are also politically adaptive, and have a work ethic far superior to Western nations.
Jim’s take on world events is through the cycles of history. He views the economy that way too.
We chat about the markets, and where Jim is putting his money these days, and he’s very big on commodities.
At one point he says he would like to put ALL his money on North Korea if he could!
This is exactly what makes Jim Rogers unique. He thinks a couple of generations ahead, and it’s easy to see why this kind of mind cleared up on Wall Street at such a young age.
Economies shift from manufacturing to financial trade, and superpowers come and go. This is how history works, Jim tells me.
He insists that whatever certainties we have now about our world, politics and the economy, it’s sure to be entirely different in fifteen years.
Why? Because that’s how it always is.
Despite being of an older generation, and maybe an eccentric choice for our show, there’s something very London Real about the guy.
Jim is always broadening his horizons. His career is testament to that.
He biked across Red China and Soviet Russia at the tail end of the cold war.
He’s driven around the world twice!
In this sense, he’s always growing, evolving and pushing himself.
However, he’s lost none of the old world charm of the American South, which he says barely exists today.
I recommend this episode to anyone, not just those interested in the world of finance.
Jim gives us a grounding in the world politics in the course of this discussion.
If you want to know where the world is going, Jim says, ‘follow the money’.
Despite being the definition of ‘old school’, Jim is no stranger to the twists and turns of the modern world, and he’s not fazed by any of it!
This episode is a real gem in our catalogue, and Jim drops serious knowledge more than a few times.
There’s always an agenda, he says, and it’s necessary to figure it out quick, regardless of the spin, or what the politicians say.
Jim became a father later in life, and his take on having children is also enlightening.
For most of his life, he had shunned the idea of parenthood, like a lot of successful men.
But like everything else, being a dad has broadened his perspective on life, and that seems to be the real motivating factor behind everything Jim does.
I’m sure that you, like me, will find your perspective widened as well, and I highly recommend this episode to you.
Whether you are an aspiring banker, or you are interested in world events, or you want to get a unique take on what makes human being tick, this episode is an absolute must.
Click here to revisit an incredible hidden gem in the London Real treasure chest!