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The Wizard Of Lies

 

The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Unless you live in a cave you would have been bombarded by the media coverage of Bernie Madoff’s monumental financial fraud during late 2008 when it was discovered that he’d been operating the biggest ponzi scheme in history for, some say, as long as 20 years. The Wizard of Lies chronicles Madoff’s career from early life as a successful and innovative securities dealer, to the degeneration of his business into what most know as one of the largest financial frauds in history.  It was an enthralling read, Henriques turns the book into a Michael Lewis-style gambit between Madoff and the SEC, a real page turner.  I was absolutely flabbergasted to learn that the SEC had been warned by banks and individual investors for years about Madoff’s “too good to be true” returns and actually investigated him on multiple occasions, but sloppy investigative work allowed his fraud to continue.  No wonder there was such a shake-up at the SEC after the Madoff investigation came to light!  And no wonder the SEC now takes such an aggressive stance on insider trading and the investigation of money managers, no matter how small…

Amazon: Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history?  These questions have fascinated people ever since the news broke about the respected New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out of $65 billion through a fraud that lasted for decades.  Many have speculated about what might have happened or what must have happened, but no reporter has been able to get the full story – until now.  In The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques of The New York Times – who has led the paper’s coverage of the Madoff scandal since the day the story broke – has written the definitive book on the man and his scheme, drawing on unprecedented access and more than one hundred interviews with people at all levels and on all sides of the crime, including Madoff’s first interviews for publication since his arrest.  Henriques also provides vivid details from the various lawsuits, government investigations, and court filings that will explode the myths that have come to surround the story.  A true-life financial thriller, The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff’s remarkable rise on Wall Street, where he became one of the country’s most trusted and respected traders, with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction.  It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff’s downfall–the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities – and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street.

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