My name is Karl-Mikael Syding, but I prefer “Mike”, or “Sprezza”
I used to manage a billion dollars at a prized hedge fund between the years 2000-20015, but retired right on the cusp of turning 42. I handed in my resignation less than a week before my birthday, partly because of that number (yes, I’m a Douglas Adams fan)
I currently run and host several podcasts (Future Skills, 25 minuter, and Outsiders), manage my private start-ups, and share my insights about matters of health, wealth and happiness in letters, podcasts, books and articles (check out my Best Of page if you don’t know where to start)
“Happily honing my future skills and investments
in the run-up to the Singularity”
This is me and my friend, a German Shepherd-Doberman rescue dog called Ronja (female, born April 1, 2008)
Sprezzatura, what does it stand for? My podcast and book recommendations. Retard’s Notebook, disclaimer (no financial advice), e-book (my book[s]), newsletter (subscription page), and of course my BEST OF page, with my most important articles.
The hedge fund years
In 2010 the hedge fund where I was one of three partners (as well as Managing Director and Portfolio Manager), received the HFR award for “The European Hedge Fund Of The Decade (2000-2009)” in competition with thousands other hedge funds.
Read Ludvig Sunström’s portrait of me and the 15 lessons he gleaned from meeting me, if you want to know more about me and that period of my career.
I want to provide you with perspective
This site, my free eBooks and newsletters are all about providing you with reference points from my experience within finance, technology, health, psychology, philosophy and personal development; distilled into methods to improve and grow, to prosper in the face of societal challenges and rapid technological evolution.
This picture (below) shows my view of the world, and the way to avoid getting trapped in “Whore Village”, where the Joneses are working for money alone, and unhappily and futilely keeping up with each other.
What you’ll get
Weekly articles and newsletters on Investing, Education, Skills, Career choices, Psychology, Brain Science, Habits, Philosophy, Technology, Finance, Economy, Health and Fitness – and more.
I recommend you sign up for my Newsletter to receive updates, as well as access to my free e-book about making and managing big money.
Improve your life
I want to help you identify and achieve your desires, get results in life, while enjoying it and not being a dick
I myself applied persistence and grit to what little talent I had, and came out on top. You can do that too with a little guidance. The important question, however, is “what is the top, your top”?
The following short and partial biography shows how little I had going for me and how far I got. Do you want to emulate my success? Then keep on reading
Born in the eternal night above the polar circle, bullied as a child…
I was born in the coldest part of the winter of 1972, in Jukkasjärvi/Kiruna, above the polar circle in Sweden.
I almost froze to death in the first week, when our old Ford Taunus (not Taurus) broke down during a 100 mile transfer between hospitals.
The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi
I was bullied in school
…for being short and thin, a year younger than my peers, and talking with a northern accent.
I turned my energy toward the fairness and predictability of mathematics and computers, which taught me discipline, patience, algebra, languages, logic… – and programming too. Learning these valuable skills early on, rather than acquiescing at formal school’s snail pace, enabled me to leave all competition and bullies far behind.
The sum of my experiences also made me a truth seeker.
Come graduation from high school…,
I received a large scholarship directly from the hands of His Majesty the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf (for excelling in math and physics over the course of three years).
I chose between studying chemistry (I just might have become a real life Breaking Bad) or applying for Sweden’s most prestigious college; Stockholm School of Economics.
Partly to poke a finger in the eye of my former bullies, I chose the latter and moved to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.
The least connected in Stockholm high finance
I began with nothing, in a new city, with no education, no friends, no contacts, no family… and worked myself to a significant negative net worth, by accumulating a student debt to study finance.
After a couple of dog years (1994-1996), at a third tier broker firm, things took off, e.g., resulting in me helping inflate the stock market IT bubble, and rendered me a Swedish number 1 analyst ranking in my industry sector, and culminated with award ceremonies in 2009-2011 in London for outstanding performance.
I decided to retire a few years later, to free up time for more productive endeavors. My last day as Managing Director, member of the board of Futuris etc. was on January 1, 2015.
I go to the gym every other day, and I drink natural fish oil from ArcticMed every day
Inspirational people, role models
Ray Kurzweil (foresight, independence), Richard Feynman (curiosity, brilliance), Julia Louis Dreyfus (self-made, despite silver spoon beginnings), Dr Philippa “Pippa” Malmgren (smarts, connecting the dots, eloquence, clarity)
“When you come to a fork in the road – take it” (yep… take it)
My rescue dog
Ronja was rescued from a shelter (and before that from utter misery and an apartment fire)
Since then she’s gained about 1/3rd in bodyweight and moved in with me (December 17, 2014).