Fortune argues in its latest issue that super-investor Eddie Lampert is the Steve Jobs of the investing world. I’m not sure what to make of the comparison — does that mean Lampert is also a petulant and generally insufferable hot-head? far from it — but I’ll take them at their word. Let’s just say he’s goooood.
Eddie Lampert is the Steve Jobs of the investing world: He thinks differently, and acts differently, with extraordinary results. “He’s the greatest investor of his generation,” says fellow billionaire (and onetime mentor) Richard Rainwater, and Lampert has the numbers to prove it. His hedge fund, ESL Investments, has delivered average annual returns of nearly 30%, after fees, since its 1988 launch, according to several of its investors, who include Dell founder Michael Dell, media mogul David Geffen, and the Tisch family. Geffen, who gave Lampert $200 million to invest in 1992 (when Lampert was just 29), says that had he not periodically taken money out for diversification, he would have $9 billion today. As it is, says Geffen, “I’ve made more money from Eddie than from all the businesses I’ve created and sold.”