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WRITING/STORY: Good, not great. Balances the tedium of law/finance and the intrigue of white collar crime. A bit redundant, especially when revisiting concepts or using analogies.
NARRATION: Ok. Not a lot of energy put forth, but this is non-fiction, so I wasn't expecting an over-the-top performance. The narrator handled dialogue quite well.
EDIT/SOUND: Lots of missing consonants on the end of words - enough that it became distracting. Also could have used some treatment for sibilance. It's important to note that I could not listen to this title faster than 1.25x speed. It may have been the subject matter, but it took a lot more attention than most books.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Most interesting to me was the clever design baked into the business organization itself and its internal protocols to prevent the top guy from directly, technically violating the insider trading laws. It is unclear whether that is top guy Steve Cohen's work of legal art, in particular, or some advisor's. But Cohen is a guy who gets things like that lined up sharply. There is a meticulousness in it, and obviously a great intellect behind it. Steve Cohen is not a guy who lets details slip by. We see a portrait of an intensely analytical, laser-focused moneymaker, from the poker days in college onward. He seems like a lopsided person, which translates to a moneymaking machine, turned on full-force 24/7. On the other hand, admitting up front this portrait (in virtue of his private nature) is very incomplete, the visible things can be very off-putting, at least to me. His art purchase grandstanding strikes me as mostly puerile, nihilistic showing-off, despite the slobbering blandishments of the sycophants who make money off him. He would nickel and-dime an ex-wife, it is suggested, spending plenty to do so, but think nothing of spending over $100 million for a status-oozing art object to hang in a hallway. No way would I trade places with this guy, But he is fun to watch. In some weird way it is tragic, so grandiose and yet so seemingly shallow. But this could be largely the optics of this book. He seems forever anxiously internally impoverished and frantic to acquire symbols to pretend otherwise. The ultimate object of juvenile-minded nihilism must be that shark in the formaldehyde tank he spent $8 million for. His intelligence is obviously formidable, and I would like a more 3-D portrayal of that, but that is not easy for anyone to provide, as he's very private, of course. We have infinitely more on J.P. Morgan and even Michael Milken. The view here seems a bit one-dimensional. Or maybe the guy is. And sadly, as his story progresses, we are not treated to a lot of pivotal deal details or methods, as these are very closely guarded, and that would probably have helped a lot to display what must be his genius. The explanations we do receive are well laid-out and patiently edited and understandable to any novice/layperson. Obscure terms are defined. The story flows very straightforwardly, and the narration is a good match. Anyone who has not been around modern criminal investigations gets a fair look at how they work, including some of the dynamics affecting prosecutors' decisions in a political and legal hothouse like Manhattan. The character of the convicted underling, Michael Martoma, is interesting in his own way. All these folks show an intense drive for success of a kind that built this country, but can get on the wrong track, and lose all context and meaning.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful