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The Believers: How America Fell For Bernard Madoff's $65 Billion Investment Scam Hardcover – 8 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297859196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297859192
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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LeBor calls Madoff a modern "schtarker", or gangster, who used technology, charm and brilliant social connections to rule, and, ultimately, destroy. His motivation was deep and determined - the result speaks for itself. (CITY A.M.)

In these turbulent times we want a morality tale, dressed up with glamour and glitz, about how Madoff seduced and shafted the rich, sophisticated and stupid. LeBor stumps up these rewards in a lively story that will satisfy even the economically literate. (THE TIMES)

This book brilliantly answers the "How?" question about Bernie Madoff and his giant Ponzi, or pyramid-selling, scheme. Madoff used a mixture of charm, arrogance and breathtaking cruelty. (Bryan Appleyard NEW STATESMAN)

a fascinating, poignant, subtle portrait of the United States itself. (Simon Sebag Montefiore THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

The chilling message of this account is that no regulatory regime, however sophisticated, can ever totally protect us from the chameleon fraudster. (Bill Jamieson THE SCOTSMAN)

LeBor's great strength, in addition to a page-turning journalistic style, lies in his detailed and perceptive analysis of how and why so many so-called experts were fooled for so long. (THE OLDIE)

Book Description

How America fell for financier Bernie Madoff's $65 billion investment scam

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter Wade VINE VOICE on 14 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
"We are never deceived : we deceive ourselves " Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The Madoff story seems to have got lost in the general demise of the banks but it is a great story.

I am always fascinated by the ways of con artists particularly if they start out without any obvious skills.

I picked up this book after reading some extracts in the Sunday times. I read it in a day and some of that day I was at work.

He was a very smart operator as he exuded success and this attracted people to him As a result they did not look into how he made his money.

He used his Jewishness to ingratiate himself with people who thought he was their friend. he involved himself in philanthropy which lulled people into thinking he was kosher.

The author introduced me to the world of yekkes and shtarkers. It appears the yekkes were sophisticated jews from Germany who had good manners and ambition. as result they wanted to get on with American society and not make waves or create any antisemitism. The shtarkers were poor eastern European jews who had rough manners and as a result the yekkes didn't like to them. It appears Madoff was a shtarker and ingratiated himself with the yekkes who had all the money and the social standing.

The suggestion is that Madoff was getting his own back on these people but I am not sure because he conned all his friends and family so the theory doesn't hold water.

He didn't do particularly well at university or go to the right schools but got himself a reputation as a financial wizard.

He created as network through the country clubs that the Americans have created to socialise with people like themselves. They were lulled by the fact that he looked and sounded respectable .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harry Markopolos's "No One Would Listen" was not trying to tell The Madoff story. His crusade was to expose the abject non-performance of the Regulatory Authorities and this was achieved brilliantly. However, Erin Arvedlund's "The Man Who Stole...." and this work by Adam Lebor both fall short of the mark because they fail to answer several fundamental questions that I am sure have a wide audience awaiting in expectation of hearing the complete story of The Madoff rip-off.

OK we now know that he was a scoundrel and that there were lots of rich people whose brains went into reverse as a consequence of greed and foolishness. We are, however, non the wiser as to any substantive details of how Madoff ran this massive deception for so long. What was the full truth of the involvement, co-operation and connivance (unless they were blind, deaf and stupid) of his wife, brother, family, and staff, and finally how much did Madoff and family pocket and where did it go?

The Believers author gives a great deal of the background of the methods of fleecing the investors and tales of the hardships this scam has caused those who were parted with their money rather too easily. I, like another reviewer writing here under the title "the victims" started getting a bit bored with this line of approach and found myself 'skipping' through the pages ahead in search of a fuller picture.

Mr Madoff, got away with hijacking the full truth for decades. It seems that this entrapment still persists.
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I have had a life-long interest in finacial and business fraud since the 1970's, when I was briefly involved with a business called 'Golden Chemicals' ( I just got out with my skin intact!!) and I have a comprehensive library on the subject. Books on such frauds tend to fall into two types, detail overload or racy skim. This book manages to combine all of the important detail of a complex fraud with in-depth character portraits of the main players, their social backgrounds, and how those backgrounds were key in facilitated the fraud. Not an easy read, but a very satisfiying one, and well worth the effort. A first rate demonstration that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is, and that there will always be a multitude of eager dreamers who fail to realise this.
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I learned a great deal from reading this book about the milieu in which Madoff worked, about his famlly and the people he worked with and deceived, but I was left still wondering how precisely he worked his scam and got away with it. There is of course material on those topics but I had expected more.
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