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Editor's Note: If you've ever wondered about the inception of Hedgeye and how this whole thing started, Keith McCullough's memoir Diary Of A Hedge Fund Manager is a great place to begin.

This book chronicles the life and investing insights Hedgeye's Founder and CEO learned along the way in his journey "from the top, to the bottom, and back again." The following is a free excerpt.

EXCERPT: Diary Of a Hedge Fund Manager  - 719CDZkYguL

AN EXCERPT

By the start of 2002, I was trading.

Russell Herman gave me responsibility for a “carve-out” percentage of the Southport Millennium Fund. Although informal, non-audited, and only a small piece of the overall fund, it was still tens of millions of dollars.

Frankly, I was both nervous and thrilled to be playing with live ammo, but more than anything I was psyched for a clear-cut, apolitical, put-up-or-shut-up opportunity to prove myself. I would have discretion over my own trades and be paid on the performance of my P&L. I could make some real money. Maybe even a million dollars. My chance to make it as a hedge fund manager, or to embarrass myself, had arrived.

As it turned out, the secret to managing money was having money to manage. Now that I was running a piece of Herman’s Southport Millennium Fund, I worked longer and harder than I ever have in my life.

I got up earlier, too.

I was always up by 5:30 A.M., but now I started to whittle my wake-up time down into the 4:45 vicinity, no later than 5 A.M. I traveled more, attended impossibly more conferences, more management meetings. I was a road warrior, a freakishly frequent flyer; seriously, I must have done 200 management meetings in 2002. (I would set a personal record two years later with 256 meetings in a 12-month period.)

I engrossed myself in the markets (and not just my narrow sector) with invigorated fervor. I read everything, papers, magazines, biographies, white papers, anything that told me about the world beyond my reach, challenged my assumptions, using plane trips to catch up on materials I collected like a pack rat in freebie canvas conference bags.

My hockey philosophy kicked in full force. I clung to the concept that only harder work could separate me from the rest of the pack.

Mostly, though, I didn’t want to be wrong.

I absolutely hated losing.