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on 21 January 2013
This is such an audacious, edge of seat suspenseful book you simply cannot put it down and couldn't make it up if you tried.
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on 21 April 2015
As true-life stories go this is absolutely barking mad! Well worth a read though.
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on 21 August 2013
Long held belief that we are all living on a promise is confirmed in this very readable account. Everyone of us is dependent on someone to look after our assets and no-one can truly be trusted. Your pension and personal wealth may well be a figment of your imagination, only valid as some unknown person's gift.
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on 29 July 2013
I'd never heard of the man,but after reading it I did go and search for a bit of info regarding Israel.Really was a great page turner and you kind of hoped he'd made the money to give back.However,very worrying how easy a 'Ponzi' scheme starts and snowballs.Very enjoyable.
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on 19 July 2013
Not sure I can praise this book highly enough. As tightly wound as any Hollywood thriller, Lawson makes the story jump off the page. Greed, it does strange things to a lot of people. With Octopus you have a front row seat.
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on 12 March 2013
This is entertaining enough, but becomes a little repetitive when it come to all the rather far fetched shenanigans concerning the con man, Bob Nichols and his cohorts. The principal character of the book, Sam Israel, comes over very much larger than life, as indeed were many of the stock dealers of his ilk, but the breezy style of journalese in which this book is written tends to lend an overall lack of credibility to the whole enterprise.
It may be that much of what is described in the book is true, fantastical as it may seem, but there is also a lot that seems highly improbable, if not impossible to have happened. The trouble is knowing what is true and what is false. Sam Israel was certainly not the first high powered whiz kid in the hedge fund world, nor the biggest fraud. In hedge fund terms he was a minnow, but none the less spectacular for that. The first third or so of the book describes his "rise to power," which is interesting enough. His surprising incompetence as a trader was trouble enough. Big trouble then comes along in the shape of an even more outsized character than Sam himself, by the name of Bob Nichols. This is where the title of the book comes in, and where things get out of hand - for the reader as much as for the protagonists.
Mr. Nichols is the villain of the piece, since he manages to convince the gullible Sam of the existence of Octopus, being the secret organization which controls and even more secret "shadow market," where securities are traded secretly outside the regular markets, where immense profits are made by the few who have access to it. Baloney; real James Bond??? Who knows.
I remain unconvinced by most of what is related, and instead treated the book as a moderately entertaining journey through the world of make-believe.
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on 1 December 2012
Nice try at trying to make a simple con job part of a worldwide conspiracy. Promised a lot but delivered less than that. However, still an easy read and entertaining offering some interesting insights into the workings of the "city".
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on 30 September 2013
Sadly it seems, this IS for real! But, as is stated over and over, "You can't con an honest man!" 'Too good to be true' is for sure a warning!
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on 22 November 2012
This is a great story, brilliantly told by the author! Hard to believe it is a real life story when you read it! Would highly recommend.
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on 2 September 2013
A man who was determined to succeed and was prepared to do anything to achieve his objective, only to fail in a big way!
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