New Book Reveals The Cool Childhood Of Hedge Fund God David Tepper

David Tepper

CNBC’s Hedge Fund Specialist/ “Squawk Box” producer Maneet Ahuja’s book “The Alpha Masters” comes out at the end of this month and it’s definitely a must-read.

Ahuja—who is known for her massive Rolodex filled with the biggest names in the hedge fund industry—gives her readers a peak into the lives and careers of the most well-known and legendary investors.

Some of the hedge fund titans included in the chapters include Ray Dalio, David Tepper, John Paulson, Bill Ackman, Jim Chanos and Dan Loeb. 

One part of the book that really stood out to us was Tepper’s childhood. 

Tepper, who currently runs $12 billion AUM distressed debt hedge fund, Appaloosa Management, was a shy maths whiz kid who grew up to be a class clown who never earned an “A” in high school. 

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The billionaire hedge fund manager grew up in a lower middle class neighbourhood.

David Tepper (b. Sept. 11, 1957) comes from humble beginnings.

The 54-year-old fund manager, who is the second youngest of three children, grew up in a lower middle class neighbourhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

His father was an accountant (not a CPA) and his mother was a public school teacher.

Source: The Alpha Masters

He could do multiplication and complex addition at age 4. He was even the subject of his sister's show-and-tell assignment.

As an accountant's son, he had a knack for maths VERY early on.

When he was only 4 or 5-years-old, his older sister decided to bring him to her second grade class for show-and-tell so he could show off his multiplication and adding skills.

Source: The Alpha Masters

Tepper transitioned from being the shy, big kid to the class clown during his childhood.

In Ahuja's book, Tepper describes himself as a shy and quiet kid.

He later opened up and became known as the class clown always joking around.

Source: The Alpha Masters

After that, he frequently ended up in the Principal's office—Once, he was able to escape 10 whacks from a wooden paddle.

After starting a fight at school with squirt bottles he took from the chemistry classroom, Tepper and his co-conspirator were both in the vice Principal's office facing their punishment--either 10 whacks from a wooden paddle with holes (ouch!) or 10 days suspension.

Fortunately for Tepper, the fire alarm went off and he was able to escape both punishment options.

He told Ahuja he was considering taking the paddle option.

Source: The Alpha Masters

Tepper never earned an 'A' in high school.

Tepper told Ahuja that even though he was a scholar student at Peabody High School he never earned an A. That's because he wasn't motivated enough to work for those grades, he recalled

He would also skip class to go get free pancakes from the seminary across the street. Nice!

Source: The Alpha Masters

In his last year of high school, Tepper was the 'best actor' in the senior musical.

During his senior year, Tepper played the father (Harry MacAfee) in the musical Bye, Bye Birdie.

That's not all. He won the 'Best Actor' award for his high school for that performance.

Source: The Alpha Masters

An avid sports fan, Tepper could recite every major league baseball players' statistics from memory.

Tepper was also obsessed with sports, primarily baseball and football.

In fact, he was so passionate about it he could recite major league players' batting records and other statistics.

He was also a huge football fan growing up. Today, Tepper owns a 5% stake in his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Source: The Alpha Masters

He made his first stock pick in high school and it completely bombed.

Tepper became interested in stocks because of his father, who used to discuss investing with him.

His first investment was 100 shares of Career Academies for $2 a piece. That company ended up going bankrupt, but that didn't stop him from wanting to invest.

Source: The Alpha Masters

Tepper's dad once won the lottery and gave his son some of the winnings.

Tepper recalled that his father wasn't all that great of an investor--but he did have luck on his side when he won the lottery.

His father gave him $30,000 a year from his lottery winning when Tepper was just starting his career at Goldman Sachs.

Source: The Alpha Masters

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