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The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, the Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals Hardcover – 24 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs,U.S. (24 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586487434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586487430
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,808,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


George A. Needham, Founder and Chairman of Needham & Company
"The tale of Ivar Krueger, vividly brought to life by Frank Partnoy, is a reminder that Wall Street has not changed much since the late 1920's. The players change, but the animal spirits remain the same. Anyone interested in today's financial crisis will be captivated by this story."

"Time," January 13, 2009
"Frank Partnoy has an exceptionally well-timed book on Ivar Kreuger coming out."

Robert A. G. Monks, author of "Corpocracy" and "The New Global Investors"
""The Match King" is a skillfully told tale of the romance and the corruption involved in attempting to be on top of the world. How did Krueger enlisted the loyalty of the people essential to him? Yes, some he bought, but most -- he beguiled."

Ron Chernow, "The New Yorker," 3/23
"An engrossing study of Ivar Kreuger."

"Kirkus," 4/1
"A pertinent, timely tale of financial fraud and how it was maintained for so long."

"Booklist," review 4/15
"A timely and excellent book."

"Wall Street Journal"
"Frank Partnoy tells the story of Kreuger's rise and calamitous fall in an eminently readable and scholarly biography...the tale of the Match King holds lessons for our own day and for future generations."

"An absorbing tale and a poignant reminder that every boom has its scoundrels...Partnoy gives us a rich account of the Roaring Twenties' most astounding confidence man"

"The Economist"
"["The Match King"] provides a fascinating insight into how high society falls prey to such colourful characters. Kreuger's story is uncannily relevant today."

"New Jersey Star Ledger"
"Ivar Kreuger, the super-secretive Swede who made Ponzi look like a piker, doesn't readily come to mind when discussing over-the-top scamsters. But Frank Partnoy's spreadsheet-thorough book should help change that."
""The Match King" is a fun, thought-provoking read that might have seem

Book Description

'An enthralling cautionary tale of the recurring excesses of global finance ... The author displays a vivid touch in describing the Swedish parvenu's successful efforts to infiltrate the upper echelons of US finance.' Francesco Guerrera, Financial Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
Readers who love fascinating stories with unforgettable characters will thank professor and market expert Frank Partnoy for his book on 1920s business icon Ivar Kreuger. This remarkable figure was a global financier, Greta Garbo's close companion, and an adviser to prime ministers, kings and a U.S. president. Though he was one of the world's greatest con men, he has somehow slipped, all but forgotten, from popular history. Partnoy resurrects Kreuger in all his tragic glory: a successful, well-known entrepreneur whose abrupt fall from grace and apparent suicide - by a bullet through the heart - coincided with the Great Depression. Kreuger's financial chicanery led to comprehensive U.S. securities reform in the early 1930s. getAbstract considers this business biography a rollicking good tale. It holds particular lessons for those looking to make sense of recent financial history: how a brilliant businessman made some innovative - and eerily familiar - promises to greedy, willfully ignorant investors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jet Lagged TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
"Everything in life is founded in confidence." - Ivar Kreuger

"Boiler-room operators, peddlers of stocks in the imaginary Canadian mines, mutual-fund managers whose genius and imagination are unconstrained by integrity, as well as less exotic larcenists, should read about Kreuger. He was the Leonardo of their craft."
- J.K.Galbraith

This book was shortlisted for the 2009 Financial Times Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. Author Frank Partnoy wrote an earlier excellent book entitled F.I.A.S.C.O. about the derivatives business. Here he turns his attention to the Swede Ivan Kreuger, the so-called "Match King".

It is only when I go to review it in detail that I realise just what an excellent book it really is. I have updated it to 5 stars.

(Kreuger was friends with Greta Garbo. Both were lukewarm on the idea of marriage. Partnoy astutely notes that, though they both felt a strong connection to each other, the bond was a kind of shared loneliness.)

How did Krueger pull off such a financial scam? The one attribute that he possesed in spades was CONFIDENCE. It appears to have been contagious to his victims.

Warren Buffett has said that, when the financial tide goes out, you get to see which companies are swimming naked. So it was in the depression year 1932 that it finally dawned on investors that Krueger's enterprise was one big Ponzi scheme.

An accountant, A.D. Berning, couldn't understand the statements he was being sent by International Match, Kreuger's company - "He couldn't decipher the financial statements Ivar sent." (page 61). Red Flag number 1. That's always a bad sign. Berning was to eventually suffer a nervous breakdown.
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By D. Radic on 30 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books on the finance profession that I have come across. The book rings true today more than ever and should serve as a timeless reminder that crooks can wear suits too. That is difficult to feel any kind of negativity towards the main character as the author does a very good job of painting a picture of the challenges that Ivar had to overcome at the time. This story fits well with other books that deal with the period such as the House of Morgans or Lords of finance...and should be read by anyone interested in how family empires are started and kept. In all honesty...I cannot recommend this book highly enough - especially if you work or have an interest in finance. Ivar was the mind behind some of today's most widely used financial instruments such as convertible bonds. His life story truly is one of the most fascinating reads of the year for me and will likely be something I will read again. On the downside I do have to say that the writing does on occasion show some weakness...nevertheless having not heard this story before it was more than gripping enough to get me to read the whole thing in a few days.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read Frank Partnoy's earlier books, i had a high expectation on this title. It happily bears it out. A good exposition of Kreuger's financial gimmickry using legitimate and often very profitable businesses as front. A must for anyone wishing to understand one of the memorable frauds of the previous century.
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