Posts by Simon Black

Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter Notes from the Field is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom, make more money, keep more of it, and protect it all from bankrupt governments.

  • First post: 16/06/2009
  • Posts written: 2342

Latest Articles

Great advice from -Emergency- author Neil Strauss

November 3, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

A few weeks ago when I was in Africa, I had a great conversation with Neil Strauss, author of Emergency.

Neil Strauss, author of Emergency, interviewed by Simon Black of from Simon Black on Vimeo.

In his book, Neil tells a very compelling story about the awakening he had years ago when he realized that the system in place-– our banks, government, jobs, logistical infrastructure, etc. are[...]

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Wise words from the beautiful Sophia Loren

November 2, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

My sister recently sent along this quote from Houseboat, the 1958 movie starring the always-lovely Sophia Loren. Given the circumstances, I thought it appropriate:

Sophia Loren:  Perhaps I will get a job.

Her Father:  A job?

Sophia:  Yes!  A job.  A job.

Her Father:  I have given you the finest education in all of Europe...You do not know how to do anything.

Sophia: [...] Click here to continue reading

Government bureaucracy at its finest…

November 1, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

I'm writing to you from Sri Lanka, even though I'm supposed to be in Thailand today; it turns out that the government of India had other plans for me.

It all started on Saturday night; I had a flight booked from Sri Lanka to Bombay that departed just after midnight, and then a connecting flight from Bombay to Bangkok at 4:40 in the morning... yeah, I know,[...] Click here to continue reading

An important announcement

October 29, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

I want to start off this missive with an important announcement: Sovereign Man will be hosting its inaugural comprehensive offshore workshop from February 18-20, 2011 in Panama City, Panama.

This is something that I'm very excited about, and I'm devoting a lot of time and attention to ensure that the workshop is a massive success-- long on action, short on fluff.

To give you an idea,[...] Click here to continue reading

Will food riots end the currency wars?

October 28, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

In ancient Sanskrit, the name means "venerable island," and the Arabs used to refer to it as "Serendib" for serendipity. Sri Lankans tend to agree-- they find their small island of 20 million to be littered with good fortune, and many foreigners will concur.

Sri Lanka is perhaps most famous for its multi-decade civil war between government forces and the separatist Tamil group, which comprises about 10%[...] Click here to continue reading

Medical tourism in India

October 27, 2010
Trivandrum, Kerala State, India

In life, you can either be an Elvis person or a Beatles person.  I'm an Elvis man myself.  Fortunately, so was Ashok, the brakeman on train #6302.

I serendipitously ended up meeting Ashok by mistake-- I boarded his train as it was literally pulling away from the station thinking it was the one that I was supposed to be on. It wasn't.

As my companion[...] Click here to continue reading

My #1 online privacy tool

October 27, 2010
Cochin, Kerala State, India

India is a great country that's full of opportunity... but one of the things that I dislike so much about it is that it's a rapidly expanding electronic police state.

The Indian government has a habit of monitoring email communications, and you probably remember the recent stink they made with Research in Motion about the Blackberry security algorithms. In the latest round, RIM now has until[...] Click here to continue reading

The trend you cannot possibly ignore

October 25, 2010
Cochin, Kerala State, India

India is, without doubt, one of the most intriguing countries in the world; the culture, the food, the history, the mysticism, and the beautiful landscape all make for a very compelling place to visit.

From an economic perspective, it's also very compelling. We all know the story of India's rising middle class-- together with China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Africa, there will be roughly 1 billion[...] Click here to continue reading

How do you travel with multiple passports?

October 22, 2010
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Usually when flying from east to west on long-hauls, flights leave in the daytime and arrive a bit later in the day due to changes in the time zone. For example, you might leave London at 12pm and arrive in Miami at 4pm even though it's a 9-hour flight.

On the flight to India, though, they obtusely scheduled our departure from Hong Kong late in the evening,[...] Click here to continue reading

The first signs of the coming dollar crash are in Hong Kong

October 21, 2010
Hong Kong, SAR

I'm seeing some things on the ground here in Hong Kong that are the first signs of a coming dollar crash.

We've talked before about how the global financial system is based on enormous flows of capital-- trillions of dollars flow from one country to another, from one currency to another, and most of it is controlled by large banks, funds, and institutions.

This system requires[...] Click here to continue reading

Hong Kong broker about the IRS: “They are very scary…”

October 20, 2010
Hong Kong, SAR

Something really interesting happened today that I want to share with you.

I'm here in Hong Kong on a bit of business-- the Hong Kong monetary authority has made some recent changes to its regulations and I wanted to put some boots on the ground to investigate the situation.

Earlier today I was having a meeting with a broker at a rather large securities firm... I[...] Click here to continue reading

An encounter en route to Hong Kong

October 19, 2010
Hong Kong SAR

The business class cabins on Cathay Pacific's 747s jumbo jets have a unique configuration-- the seats are fully flat (very comfortable for a long flight) and laid out at a 45 degree angle in order to maximize the number of seats. As such, you get a pretty good view of what the guy across the aisle is doing.

On my particular flight this morning (which started with[...] Click here to continue reading

What you never hear about in Zimbabwe

October 18, 2010
Harare, Zimbabwe

In the late 1800s, English businessman and serial eponymist Cecil Rhodes forcibly colonized a huge chunk of southern Africa on behalf of Great Britain that became known as Rhodesia.

Like other African colonies, Rhodesia was harshly segregated. By the mid-1900s, a series of black freedom movements began spreading across the continent, and one of the Rhodesian leaders was an educated, charismatic young man named Robert Mugabe.

Like[...] Click here to continue reading

Lessons from Zimbabwe

October 15, 2010
Harare, Zimbabwe

When I told my close friends and family that I was heading back to Zimbabwe, I got the same request over and over: "bring me back some money with a lot of zeros."

With multi-trillion dollar bank notes, Zimbabwe was once the laughing stock of the world economy.  Now Zim's policymakers are having the last laugh, particularly as the US dollar falls to all-time lows against gold, the[...] Click here to continue reading

Michael Jackson lives in Tanzania

October 14, 2010
Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania

The selection of books for sale from the street vendor was rather peculiar. Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich), Kiyosaki's Rich Dad series, Warren Buffet investment guides, finance and accounting textbooks, etc. Mostly in English, but many in Swahili. And they were popular.

You don't really expect to see a bunch of locals thumbing through business books in a country where the largest[...]

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My conversation with Neil Strauss

October 13, 2010
Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania

I had a really great conversation with Neil Strauss last night, author of Emergency. If you haven't checked out the book, I would really encourage you to find it and read it.

In his book, Neil tells a very compelling story.  Years ago, after a series of events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, he had an awakening. He realized that the system in place-- our[...] Click here to continue reading

Job and Investment opportunities in South Africa

October 12, 2010
Johannesburg, South Africa

As it turns out, vuvuzelas weren't the only good thing to come out of the World Cup this year. In 2008 and 2009, when the rest of the world was careening off a financial cliff, South Africa was kept afloat because of its 'World Cup stimulus'.

Billions of dollars flowed into the economy through sponsorship deals, tourism, and construction, and all of this activity provided a significant[...]

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Why this is one of my favorite cities…

October 11, 2010
Cape Town, South Africa

If someone held a gun to my head and forced me to choose one place to live in for the rest of my life, Cape Town would be on a very short list.

It's not that I don't like other cities-- the world is full of amazing places that are full of opportunity... that's one of the reasons I travel so much. But to spend an entire life[...]

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Questions: Top Secret?

October 8, 2010
Cape Town, Republic of South Africa

It's been several months since I've put boots on the African continent. This place changes all the time, and I believe that, country-by-country, it's probably the most diverse and intriguing continent on earth... constantly teetering between boom and bust.

To be clear, most of Africa has the right ingredients to be wealthy and successful-- there is no shortage of resources on the continent, including[...] Click here to continue reading

What the currency wars mean to you

October 7, 2010
Cape Town, South Africa

On the flight down to South Africa last night, I read a rather pointed article in the FT entitled, "IMF chief warns on exchange rate wars." Here's the basic premise:

In their fight against the Great Recession, politicians and central bankers around the world have slashed interest rates, inflated their money supplies, and spent incalculable billions in fiscal stimulus.

The measures aren't working. Growth in[...] Click here to continue reading

Big Brother is coming…

October 5, 2010
London, England

In its ongoing contest to outdo other countries in the global crackdown against productive citizens, British tax authorities recently unveiled their latest series of measures designed to prove one thing without a doubt:

Big brother is coming.

I should pause for a moment to clarify some important definitions: tax evasion is the willful nonpayment or underpayment of taxes owed through illicit means... usually through things like underreporting[...] Click here to continue reading

3 countries that are getting it right

October 4, 2010
Vilnius, Lithuania

The instability over the last few days was pretty intense... and no, I'm not talking about Ecuador. Over the weekend, somewhere between 1-3 million protestors in France demonstrated against President Nicholas Sarkozy's plans to reform the broken French pension system-- most notably by raising the retirement age from 60 to 62.

The French will hear nothing of this nonsense. After all, retiring at age 60 at the expense[...] Click here to continue reading

Hello, irony…

October 1, 2010
Vilnius, Lithuania

Yesterday was an eventful day. I had stayed up most of the prior evening in Kiev with a rather interesting group (including the Ukrainian national Monopoly champion and some folks from the foreign ministry), and in the morning my wonderful friends Sasha and Dasha took me to Boryspol airport for my departure.

Now, the airport experience in Ukraine is nothing short of a complete disaster-- hour-long queues, lost[...] Click here to continue reading

Planting flags in Ukraine

September 29, 2010
Kiev, Ukraine

In our regular conversations, we talk a lot about planting multiple flags to diversify sovereign risk. I'm convinced that governments are the greatest enemy to prosperity, and the way to protect ourselves is to diversify our assets and interests across multiple geographies so that no single government has control.

Ordinarily, we talk about jurisdictions like Panama or Hong Kong-- great places to bank or structure a company. But[...] Click here to continue reading

What I told the audience in Kiev

September 28, 2010
Kiev, Ukraine

I gave a speech last night in Kiev to a large audience of bright, young minds who are about to start their professional lives and wanted to find out more about global opportunities.

The topic of my remarks was how to survive and thrive in the Age of Turmoil, why there are tremendous opportunities around the world, and how to capitalize on them.

In order to set[...] Click here to continue reading

A city in transition… sort of.

September 27, 2010
Kiev, Ukraine

The last time I was here in Ukraine, I left after just one day, in disgust.

This doesn't happen too often for me-- I'm hardened and patient enough with any country's problems to stick it out for a while. But my last encounter a few years ago went something like this:

* Chaos at the airport. Upon arrival, it took well over 3-hours to clear immigration and[...] Click here to continue reading

German Assets at Greek Discounts

September 23, 2010
Munich, Germany

Despite being governed and regulated by federal policies, local economies within a single nation or monetary union typical vary wildly. In the United States, for example, Texas is having an easier time than, say, Florida. Oklahoma City isn't suffering as much as Detroit. Etc.

The same holds true within the European Union... big time. In fact, the whole of the continent is being split into the 'haves' and[...] Click here to continue reading

Tearing down The Wall

September 22, 2010
Frankfurt, Germany

From the moment he walked out on stage, the crowd was in a frenzy. Roger Waters may be 67 years old, but as one of the chief creative forces behind the band Pink Floyd, his seminal work "The Wall" resonates even more today than it did 30+ years ago.

I was there at Chicago's United Center on Monday night with floor seats to his concert. Actually, it was[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s time to act

September 20, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

If you've ever been on a safari or studied animals in the wild, you've probably noticed that they have razor sharp instincts. For animals, sometimes their lives depend on their sense of awareness and instinct.

Whether it's a deer in the forest or herd of wildebeest in the Serengeti, animals have a highly attuned sense of danger. They don't know why, they don't know from what, but[...] Click here to continue reading

How I planted multiple flags

September 17, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

My time here in the United States is winding down, and I'll be heading back overseas shortly. This trip has been great, affording me ample time to spend with my family, and especially my father who is now feeling much better.

Unfortunately, due to these personal commitments, I've been unable to hold any subscriber gatherings during my trip to the US... but I will look forward to[...] Click here to continue reading

Pick your battles

September 16, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

I was reading an article online a few days ago that one of our members was kind enough to send along. The article described how public transit commuters in Philadelphia are now being randomly subjected to forced pat downs and baggage searches with explosives-sniffing dogs.

Another subscriber followed that up with an article about the US Department of Homeland Security implementing a new technology that can scan[...] Click here to continue reading

Hedge your bets

September 15, 2010
Dallas, Texas USA

Think about all the various things most people depend on as they go about their days... they get up in the morning, flip the switch, and the lights come on. One turn of the faucet and the water starts running. They open the refrigerator to a cornucopia of food and beverage.

They get in their cars and make an uneventful drive to work down the highway, perhaps[...] Click here to continue reading

Building trusted networks

September 14, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

It's true that no one is an island. The concept of a community is one of the basic building blocks of the human experience, and we have been building communities since we first walked the earth.

Traditionally, human beings formed families, and families became tribes. These were large collectives based on common factors like geography, DNA, and eventually languages and core values.

Over time, tribes grew[...] Click here to continue reading

Declare your economic independence

September 13, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

What would you do if your sole source of income dried up tomorrow?

Would you be prepared? Do you have a plan?

In the Age of Turmoil, many income sources that were considered 'stable' in the old system will be at risk; this includes retirement pensions, investment income, salaries and wages, and small business profits.

For example, retirees living on company pensions[...] Click here to continue reading

Information about our premium service

September 10, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

I've really enjoyed reading so many of your insightful comments over the last few days as we've engaged in a serious discussion about the Age of Turmoil. Like you, I hate to dwell on the negative, but I think it's critical to frame the solutions we've only started to cover.

The game is changing. Success or failure in the future will no longer depend on accidents[...] Click here to continue reading