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The story of Bernie Madoff's ponzie scheme is truly remarkable. The ability of one guy to single handedly steal billions of dollars from innocent people in broad daylight is an amazing feat, but even more amazing was the ignorance of the SEC, the organization that's sole purpose is to protect investors.
For the first half of the book I was amazed by the way the SEC kept shunning Markopolos' attempts to investigate Madoff's company, but as I listened more I began to understand a little better why they may have responded like they did. Markopolos is just a little too sure of himself, and as the book progressed he began to get annoying. He loved to use "clever" little phrases throughout the book, like "they couldn't find a batter in the batter's box", "they couldn't find a steer in a stampede", "it was like trying to reign in a beehive with a chainlink fence", or "they pay peanuts and wonder why they wound up with so many monkeys". A few of these phrases scattered throughout the book would have been great, but they were used non-stop throughout the book, and I could just visualize Markopolos beaming with pride each time he dropped one, especially when it was to blast the SEC.
If you aren't familiar with this story, this audiobook will be very intriguing to you. The time passed very quickly and the book didn't ever drag on. I just became increasingly annoyed with the author towards the end of the story.
75 of 79 people found this review helpful
Everyone knows what a ?*&% / Bernie Madoff was, but how many people know that most of the damage he did could have been prevented by a simple phone call from the SEC to verify his trades several years before, and some 55 billion dollars before, his collapse? The incompetence of the SEC is legend. They simply refused to even consider so much as asking a question about the legality of what Madoff was doing. The question that comes to my mind is what WERE they doing with their time, if it wasn't investigating things like this? Wasn't that their job description? Although Madoff was the biggest fish, there were many other crooks that they also ignored. Maybe a better word would be 'protected' because that is what they were doing, protecting the bad guys from their investors - the exact opposite of what they had been hired to do.
Having once been Securities licensed myself, this book was all the more interesting to me. I know a little of what goes on in the world of finance, and in fact was burned myself to the point that I just don't want anything to do with it. That is probably not a good place to be either, but it is tough to have some dishonest person effect the quality of the rest of your life. Luckily I didn't lose everything as so many of these investors did, but I will be paying for my mistake of trusting someone who seemed so good and who turned out to be a crook for the rest of my life. I wept when I heard the stories of some of these people. Hell is too good a place for people like Bernie Madoff.
This book reads like a novel. The legendary Scott Brick is a fine narrator. There were times throughout the recording that the real voices of participants were heard, which made it so authentic, but also reminded me why most authors don't read their own works. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in finance, or in bringing bad guys to justice. It was ultimately satisfying to see that justice was done. This country owes a huge debt to Harry Markopolos and his team (who were never paid for their work in bringing Madoff down) for hanging in there when it would have been so easy to quit. Thanks to them, the whole SEC is restructured and re-staffed. I hope the people at the SEC today are doing their jobs the way they should be done.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful
I'm honestly not sure why I even bought this - I have so little knowledge, understanding and interest in the financial markets that I hadn't even heard of this ponzi scheme before - but I loved this audiobook.
I found the story utterly absorbing - the narrator was easy to listen to and the financial products, markets and institutions were explained clearly and in a way that I could follow and understand. I went from a complete lack of interest in the subject matter to being rather sad to reach the end.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
A thriller in terms of the effect on the financial markets rather than for heart-stopping action.
For anyone interested in how the largest financial fraud ever succeeded for such a long period of time, this book provides fascinating insight into a small group who uncover the Madoff ponzi scheme and their attempts to bring this to the attention of the SEC so as to have Madoff investigated and the scheme shut down. The aftermath of the scheme is examined including the actual testimonies and the effect on investors.
The story is retold in a fairly dry style which suits the content and does well to avoid an 'I told you so' stance from colouring the material or annoying the audience; isn't likely to entice casual listeners, however if you have a particular interest in financial markets in the aftermath of the 'credit crunch' debacle, you'll enjoy it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Many years ago I was told by someone who I admired that laws alone will not help you.
For any good law to work you have to know how it applies to the circumstances:
✴ Elements of the law applied to the;
✳ evidence; and
✳. someone to prosecute the case.
Without all of the above your laws are worthless.
This is also a fine example why mixed economies work better than pure market based economies.
Great book, sad story that no one would listen for all the people involved. Insightful and humerous.