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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We are never deceived : we deceive ourselves " Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
"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...
Published on 14 Nov. 2009 by Peter Wade

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER ONE FALLS SHORT
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...
Published on 16 Sept. 2010 by DOPPLEGANGER


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We are never deceived : we deceive ourselves " Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 14 Nov. 2009
By 
Peter Wade (Colchester England) - See all my reviews
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"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 . As a result the money came flowing in.

When the returns were so good they wanted to believe in it. When it all went wrong the same people never blamed themselves for believing it. I rememberNicola Horlick who was described as super woman and she is quoted as not blaming herself but said it was the fault of the US regulators. If she is such a smart operator why was she taken in . It means they are kidding themselves they are clueless as the rest of us.

People believed what they wanted to believe. They believed he was front running that is using advance information from his companies legitimate trades.

Even when people were warned they believed in him hence the title of the book .Accountants warned people that no-one could keep up such returns but they still believed in Madoff.

A great book and very easy to read. It is a manual for the confidence tricksters and you just know it could all easily happen again.

Old Von Geothe is right we end up deceiving ourselves. We believe what we ant to believe. Have you even tried to convince someone of the opposite of what they believe in. You might as well save your breath . it is not going to happen.
The only frustrating thing is that there were so many clues and so many reports that it was a Ponzi scheme but he was still not caught. I bet he could not believe that he had been so lucky.

He was charming to all and that is how he did it. All con artists are good at it. The number of times you hear. But he was such a charming man of course he was that was how he did it. Rude, arrogant people aren't usually confidencetrickers because nobody likes them.

The sort of book I would easily read again and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER ONE FALLS SHORT, 16 Sept. 2010
By 
DOPPLEGANGER (TEDDY B) - See all my reviews
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive and detailed, 7 July 2012
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but ultimately unsatisfactory, 28 Nov. 2010
By 
Michael G. Hinton (Dover U.K.) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's to blame?, 10 Jan. 2010
By 
Mr. Richard Eames (Vienna, Austria) - See all my reviews
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This is a hugely interesting and well-written book from a highly experienced and versatile author (I'd also strongly recommend his recent debut novel, The Budapest Protocol).

Why did Madoff get away with his pyramid scheme for so long, especially when US regulators and a handful of financial professionals smelt something fishy back in the early 90s?

Yes, Madoff was a smooth talker with an answer for everything. But what about his investors? Most were innocent victims. But when the returns were so good, few were inclined to look too closely at what was going on. It's not a surprise that the most sophisticated financial fraud in history was committed during an era of greed, easy money and colossal wealth.

I liked this book because it kept the financial stuff simple and focused instead on the human element of the fraud: Madoff's background and motivation, as well as the thinking of his associates and his many victims. I strongly recommend it!

Could this sort of fraud happen again? Of course, and it probably will.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly unbelievable, 7 Sept. 2013
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It's all there in black & white how greed can turned around and bite you on your A%#E and how he was allowed to get away with it for so long, while I was growing up I was told " if it sounds too good to be true it isn't "
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the victims, 25 May 2010
By 
Hugh van der Mandele (Harlingen, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
I read three books on the Madoff scam: Arvelunds: Madoff: the man who stole 85 billion,
Markopolos, No one would listen, and this book Le Baron's The believers.
The first focusses on the scoundrel, the second on the failure of the supervisory authorty, and this book on the victims.
I found this book rather boring. Once you find out how stupid one victim was, the second is less interesting, the third still less.
Hugh van der Mandele
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