The Match King

  • by Frank Partnoy
  • Narrated by L. J. Ganser
  • 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At the height of the roaring 20s, Swedish émigré Ivar Kreuger made a fortune raising money in America and loaning it to Europe in exchange for matchstick monopolies. His enterprise was a rare success story throughout the Great Depression.Yet after Kreuger's suicide in 1932, the true nature of his empire emerged. Driven by success to adopt ever-more perilous practices, Kreuger had turned to shell companies in tax havens, fudged accounting figures, off-balance-sheet accounting, even forgery. He created a raft of innovative financial products - many of them precursors to instruments wreaking havoc in today's markets. When his Wall Street empire collapsed, millions went bankrupt.Frank Partnoy, a frequent commentator on financial disaster for the Financial Times, The New York Times, NPR, and CBS's 60 Minutes, recasts the life story of a remarkable yet forgotten genius in ways that force us to rethink our ideas about the wisdom of crowds, the invisible hand, and the free and unfettered market.

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What the Critics Say

"A fascinating depiction of a man and his era (Greta Garbo makes memorable cameos), this book is a snapshot of a time all too familiar now: a speculative real estate bubble, unbridled consumer spending, investors buying derivatives based on sketchy information and a Wall Street operating by its own rules." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

excellent Depression era history-biography

A powerful morality tale - Ivar Kreuger's scams are as relevant today as ever, and the reading of financial biography works nicely.
Partnoy peppers his biography with colorful history, as well as the occasional tangent (e.g., where did the term "bucket shop" come from?).

Whereas Ponzi's scheme (and Madoff's variation) are relatively simple pyramids, feasible only when observers opt to maintain their ignorance, Kreuger's methods are far more convoluted, and such methods continue to elude professionals today.

The reading is accessible, the pacing appropriate, and the lessons learned far more useful than those available in most financial/biographical options.
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- Don R. "donoglen"

A fascinating story well-told

This was a terrific story of amazingly creative deception and greed - almost hard to believe because it had so many twists and turns. I really enjoyed LJ Ganzer's narration and energetic delivery.
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- Frances

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-13-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios