Gambling Man

Gambling Man

The Wild Ride of Japan’s Masayoshi Son


Brought to you by Penguin.

Japan’s Masayoshi Son has made and lost several fortunes, investing or controlling assets worth $1trn in the past two decades through his media-tech giant, SoftBank. He bankrolled Alibaba, China’s internet colossus, before the world had heard about it; plotted with Steve Jobs to turn the iPhone into a wonder product; and financed hundreds of tech start-ups, fuelling the biggest boom Silicon Valley has ever seen.

This book takes you on Masa’s wild ride, from his birthplace in a Korean slum in post-war Japan to the modern-day temples of power. It speeds through Donald Trump’s golden skyscraper in Manhattan, the royal palaces of Riyadh and the throne rooms of China’s Marxist rulers; all places where Masa has deployed his unique blend of techno-optimism, financial engineering and insane risk-taking.

In his own words: Masa is the world’s craziest investor. He spent billions supporting the visions of founders like WeWork’s Adam Neumann only to lose everything. Yet, despite the reverses, he’s never abandoned his belief that technology, particularly artificial Intelligence, will change our lives for the better.

Masa’s story captures a 25 year-span of hyper-globalisation in which money, technologies and ideas flowed freely. He’s made billions and lost billions during the bust, the global financial crisis, and the Covid pandemic. His is a story of constant reinvention and perpetual motion, ever seeking the Next Big Thing.

As an ethnic Korean in Japan, Masa has overcome adversity and discrimination to become Japan’s best known businessman and empire-builder but he remains an elusive, intensely private figure, an enigma to the western world. This book reveals the man behind the money, what drives him, why he matters, and what he plans for his next act.

© Lionel Barber 2024 (P) Penguin Audio 2024

About the author

Lionel Barber

Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times (2005-20), is an author, broadcaster and lecturer. During four decades as an award-winning journalist, he has interviewed many world leaders and leading CEOs. He is a regular visitor to Japan.
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