This is the best book that I have read on the Madoff scandal so far. Why is it great?
- It is well written.
- There are few if any factual errors in the text.
- She talked with a wide number of people to try to get the full story.
- It’s neutral. it doesn’t takes positions on a wide number of unanswered questions, and treats what Madoff says with skepticism.
- It takes you through the previously unwritten history of the scam, where the only real doubt is when the scam started — did it start in the early ’90s, late ’80s, or in the ’60s? We still don’t know.
According to this book, Markopolous discredited himself via crude behavior, fear of retaliation, and inability for the SEC to understand simple quantitative investing concepts. The “victims” did not exercise common prudence. The biggest red flag over any investment business is no independent custodian, and that was glaring with Madoff.
Yes, they were victims, but they were people who should have known better. To call oneself a victim here is to call oneself stupid.
There will be another article after this one to explain why the Madoff Ponzi lasted so long, and why the recoveries ended up so much higher than anticipated.
The book starts with the blow-up, and then reverts to telling the life story of Madoff, progressing to the eventual demise, but with many blow-ups averted in the interim. After that, one-third of the book deals with the aftermath, with the suicides, estrangement, and aggressive lawyers that recover far more than was originally expected.
It’s quite a tale. I learned a bunch here, and recommend the book to you.
Who would benefit from this book:
If you want to understand how Madoff did it, this is the book to read. If you want to get a feel for how to avoid con men, this book will also be useful. Give it to your overly credulous brother-in-law.
If you want to, you can buy it here: The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.
Full disclosure: The publisher asked me if I wanted it.
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