The Art of Playing Defense

Whitney Tilson

To be successful and enjoy a happy life, it’s important to do all the right things: become well educated and wise, develop a strong work ethic, always act with integrity, and treat others well. But what’s equally important—yet widely overlooked—is avoiding the calamities that cause you to suffer, go back to square one, or worst of all, die a premature death.

Famed investor Whitney Tilson has made a living managing risks with investments. Now, he turns his attention to the risks in our everyday lives.

The Art of Playing Defense is a practical and actionable guide filled with common sense ideas for avoiding life’s calamities, such as marrying the wrong person or having a good marriage go bad, getting thrown in jail, going bankrupt, or suffering a debilitating illness or injury. With Whitney’s help, you can avoid these disastrous outcomes.

It’s no fun thinking about all the things that can go wrong in life, but if you want to get ahead, you have to start by not falling behind.

Press & Praise

Artem Fokin, Caro-Kann Capital

"Taking Whitney's investing seminar was among my most formative experiences as an investment manager. In the following three years, my returns increased and assets under management soared nearly tenfold. But, just as importantly, Whitney taught me many life lessons ranging from maintaining a balanced life to cultivating mentors to maximizing car safety to having a vibrant relationship with my wife. I'm delighted to see Whitney sharing these valuable teachings in The Art of Playing Defense!"

Paco Carrillo, Mexico Value Partners

"I've been privileged to know Whitney for over twenty years, and have benefited from his experience in areas far more consequential than investing. Everything this book covers, from the importance of developing good habits early on to building a reputation to finding your life partner, are deeply enriching conversations. The Art of Playing Defense is a must-read for anyone who wants to live a happier, more fulfilling life. The earlier you read this book in life, the better!"

Peter Gylfe, Bay Street Capital Partners

"The Art of Playing Defense is a fantastic summary of many of the calamities of life and how to avoid them. Whitney shares personal stories and life lessons gleaned from over five decades of experience, ranging from growing up in Africa to running a hedge fund in New York. With The Art of Playing Defense, Whitney has done it again!"

Whitney Tilson has always prioritized avoiding calamities in both his personal life and in his career. He graduated with high honors from both Harvard College and Harvard Business School, has had a successful career building multiple for-profit and nonprofit businesses, is happily married after 27 years, and has three wonderful daughters. Despite riding his bike in the streets of Manhattan every day and being an accomplished obstacle course racer and mountain climber, he’s never had a serious accident. Whitney is passionate about sharing what he’s learned with others through this book as well as the many newsletters he publishes at his firm, Empire Financial Research.

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