Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff

  • by Christine S. Richard
  • Narrated by Caroline Shaffer
  • 13 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An exposé on the delusion, greed, and arrogance that led to America's credit crisis.
The collapse of America's credit markets in 2008 is quite possibly the biggest financial disaster in U.S. history. Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff is the story of Bill Ackman's six-year campaign to warn that the $2.5 trillion bond insurance business was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Branded a fraud by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and investigated by Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ackman later made his investors more than $1 billion when bond insurers kicked off the collapse of the credit markets.


Unravels the story of the credit crisis through an engaging and human drama
Draws on unprecedented access to one of Wall Street's best-known investors
Shows how excessive leverage, dangerous financial models, and a blind reliance on triple-A credit ratings sent Wall Street careening toward disaster

Confidence Game is a real world "Emperor's New Clothes", a tale of widespread delusion, and one dissenting voice in the era leading up to the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A PEEK INTO THE WORLD OF THE 1%

All are villains in this world. The wizard of Oz (Municipal Bond Insurance Corporation), is caught choreographing the fantasy. David (Bill Ackman, the wicked shorter) slays Goliath (MBIC). The multiple regulatory bodies mimic Snow White in her sleep mode. And Warren Buffet tries to put Humpty Dumpty (today's economy) back together again. The prognosis? Well, the Wizard has changed his name and the show goes on. Stay tuned for the next instalment. There's an election on the horizon.

Although there are many short comings with this book, the fact remains that I could not put it down. However, I found the author's style of writing frustrating. She starts out with one scenario, then quickly flashes back to another point in the past or future that appears to have no connection, at least to me, as a lowly member of the 98%. This works well for fiction but not for non fiction which requires explanation and examples. The book should have been much longer. Also, the narrator's voice is screechy at times and again this detracts from the material under discussion. At the beginning of the second section of the book, the narration breaks down altogether for a few minutes? Sentences/paragraphs are missing and this left an extra gap in my understanding. It sounds like a bad phone connection. That being said, I have read at least a dozen books dealing with the meltdown so I was not totally in the dark.

Suffice to say this work is reminiscent of Harry Markopolis' No One Would Listen wherein a quant (math whiz) spends about ten years spelling it out for the regulators so that they can put a stop to Bernie Madoff before he bilked thousands of investors out of sixty billion dollars. Now that we know that regulation is frowned upon by corporations and Alan Greenspan on down, it has become clear that investors and citizens would be wise to listen to the whistle blowers of society, no matter how unsavory they may appear to be. Are they not, when all is said and done, the supermen/batmen in our midst? The regulators are owned by the corporations and vice versa, so let Superman fly and heed his presence!

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- ann "Ann."

Great book, greaty story, awful narration

Would you listen to Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff again? Why?

Wouldn't listen to it again, but it was a good book and worth hearing once.


What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Love the detail the author goes into and doesn't have a problem with calling out the analysts that got it wrong.


What didn’t you like about Caroline Shaffer’s performance?

Narration was awful, nobody helped the narrator properly pronounce financial terms. Have worked over 15 years in the investment industry and nobody pronounces a BBB bond as "Bee Bee Bee", people say "triple B". Also a "Tranche" is pronounced "Tron-ch" not "tran-ch". However, she did do a very overly stylized "filet mignon" which lets me know she has the ability to say french words correctly so a little confused on why she couldn't say "tranche". I know this sounds petty but for the amount of times she says "bee bee bee" i thought my ears were going to start bleeding.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me cry every time the narrator said bee bee bee.


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- B Franklin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-04-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios