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Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street's Wildest Con Hardcover – 10 Jul 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY) (10 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307716074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307716071
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,937,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Lawson [has] found gold...This is a fantastic story, in both senses of the word, with a freshness that recalls "Liars Poker.""
"--"Bryan Burrough, "New York Times"
"Read this book to understand Wall Street...Someone is going to "Octopus "into a movie. By this time next year, Lawson will have a fat deal...The reason for that is that "Octopus "is an incredible dark comedy with one of the craziest true-life ironic twists you can possibly imagine."
"--"Matt Taibbi, "Rolling Stone"
"Lively...turns a lens on the fast and loose ways of Wall Street...would make an excellent gift for a regulatory complicance officer...or a shrink."
"--""Bloomberg Businessweek"
"Lawson's spellbinding account of Sam Israel's rise and fall is a phantasmagoric trip through the larcenous outer reaches (as well as the dark heart) of the world of finance. Octopus made me worry that I was being followed or swindled."
"--"Nick Paumgarten, " New Yorker"
"A cautionary tale of the highly sophisticated, often endemic fraud that still lurks on Wall Street...I was riveted by Mr. Lawson's telling...the story is mind-boggling."
"--"Andrew Sorkin, "New York Times (Dealbook)"
"Entertaining...a colorful contemporary story about greed and ambition warping judgment, about con men duping other con men...replete with secret markets, shady intelligence operatives, and even a space alien that overdosed on ice cream."
"--""Reuters"
"Full on "Twilight Zone..."features not just rampant fraud but guns, supposed CIA double agents, drugs, JFK's assassination, and oh yes, world domination. Did I mention that this is a nonfiction book?...An outrageous but definitely movie-worthy tale. Lawson's reporting is prodigious."
"--""Fortune
"
"Like "The Sting..."An astounding story that forces you to remind yourself that this actually happened not ten years ago, to real people with real money."
"--""Maclean's"
"[Features] a series of spy-thriller escapades that could have been plucked from a Jason Bourne movie...More fun and thrilling than any work of journalism about hedge funds has the right to be."
"--""Canadian Business"
"An inside look at a savage tribal society [of Wall Street traders] that also reminds one of that rollicking farce concocted by Mel Brooks, 'The Producers'... Brings to life one of the most colorful, and often engaging, con men of this or any other century...an entertaining, well-told tale."
"--""Washington Times"
"If you dig movies about cons, like "Catch Me If You Can, The Sting, "and "The Spanish Prisoner, "you will blow through "Octopus, "Guy Lawson's deftly and enthusiastically told tale of Same Israel and the Bayou hedge fund."
"--""The Daily Beast"
"Penetratingly comprehensive...Lawson nimbly traverses the labyrinthine depths of a worldwide banking con that managed to involve looted Federal Reserve notes and the JFK assassination...An eye-opening window onto Wall Street's destructive culture of unchecked hubris and a harrowing thrill ride into the unraveling mind of a desperate operator."
"--""Kirkus Reviews"
"Lawson has mined the darkest, most seductive world I can imagine and delivered up a story that almost defies comprehension. "Octopus" is written with a force and clarity that I found absolutely irresistible...It's a hell of a book."
"--"Sebastian Junger, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Perfect Storm"
"Liars and fraudsters and con men, oh my. Beyond the Bayou hedge fund implosion and faked suicide, Guy Lawson wonderfully winds the bizarre tale of Sam Israel's demise into a swirl of global conspiracy and ultimate delusion."
"--"Andy Kessler, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Running Money "and "How We Got Here"
"A scintillating real-life thriller about one of the most peculiar frauds in history...Part true-crime thriller, part Wall Street investigation, "Octopus "is filled with startling revelations."
"--"Gary Weiss, former investigative reporter for "Business Week "and author of "Born to Steal, Wall Street Versus America" and "Ayn Rand Nation"
"An absorbing, splendidly detailed and darkly illuminating tale of our times."
"--"David Whitford, Editor-at-Large, "Fortune "magazine
"A rollicking, roller-coaster ride of a book that is utterly impossible to put down. Crackling with energy, Guy Lawson's account of Sam Israel -- rogue Wall Street trader and grifter par excellence - and the con within a con within a con that led to his ruin is a story that no novelist could possibly make up. Forget the sniveling Bernie Madoff and his garden-variety Ponzi Scheme; for anyone wanting to understand just how truly crazy Wall Street became and why, this is the book to read."
"--"Scott Anderson, "Vanity Fair" contributor and author of "Triage
"
"[Israel's Ponzi scheme] speaks to the banality of evil. But there is nothing banal about Guy Lawson's telling of the most incredible story I've ever heard in or out of Wall Street."
"--"Jared Dillian, author of "Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers
"
"Thrilling, outrageous and true, "Octopus" is a riveting ride through the shadow world of global high finance. A desperate man with a touch of insanity, Sam Israel is a character straight out of what we could only wish this story were: fantastic fiction."
"--"Martin Kihn, author of "House of Lies" and "Bad Dog (A Love Story)"


Lawson [has] found gold This is a fantastic story, in both senses of the word, with a freshness that recalls Liars Poker.
Bryan Burrough, New York Times

Read this book to understand Wall Street Someone is going to Octopus into a movie. By this time next year, Lawson will have a fat deal The reason for that is that Octopus is an incredible dark comedy with one of the craziest true-life ironic twists you can possibly imagine."
Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
"Lively...turns a lens on the fast and loose ways of Wall Street...would make an excellent gift for a regulatory complicance officer...or a shrink."
Bloomberg Businessweek
"Lawson's spellbinding account of Sam Israel's rise and fall is a phantasmagoric trip through the larcenous outer reaches (as well as the dark heart) of the world of finance. Octopus made me worry that I was being followed or swindled."
Nick Paumgarten, New Yorker
A cautionary tale of the highly sophisticated, often endemic fraud that still lurks on Wall Street I was riveted by Mr. Lawson s telling the story is mind-boggling.
Andrew Sorkin, New York Times (Dealbook)
Entertaining a colorful contemporary story about greed and ambition warping judgment, about con men duping other con men replete with secret markets, shady intelligence operatives, and even a space alien that overdosed on ice cream.
Reuters
Full on Twilight Zone features not just rampant fraud but guns, supposed CIA double agents, drugs, JFK s assassination, and oh yes, world domination. Did I mention that this is a nonfiction book?...An outrageous but definitely movie-worthy tale. Lawson s reporting is prodigious.
Fortune

Like The Sting An astounding story that forces you to remind yourself that this actually happened not ten years ago, to real people with real money.
Maclean s
[Features] a series of spy-thriller escapades that could have been plucked from a Jason Bourne movie More fun and thrilling than any work of journalism about hedge funds has the right to be.
Canadian Business
An inside look at a savage tribal society [of Wall Street traders] that also reminds one of that rollicking farce concocted by Mel Brooks, The Producers Brings to life one of the most colorful, and often engaging, con men of this or any other century an entertaining, well-told tale.
Washington Times
If you dig movies about cons, like Catch Me If You Can, The Sting, and The Spanish Prisoner, you will blow through Octopus, Guy Lawson s deftly and enthusiastically told tale of Same Israel and the Bayou hedge fund.
The Daily Beast
Penetratingly comprehensive Lawson nimbly traverses the labyrinthine depths of a worldwide banking con that managed to involve looted Federal Reserve notes and the JFK assassination An eye-opening window onto Wall Street s destructive culture of unchecked hubris and a harrowing thrill ride into the unraveling mind of a desperate operator.
Kirkus Reviews

Lawson has mined the darkest, most seductive world I can imagine and delivered up a story that almost defies comprehension. Octopus is written with a force and clarity that I found absolutely irresistible It s a hell of a book.
Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Storm

"Liars and fraudsters and con men, oh my. Beyond the Bayou hedge fund implosion and faked suicide, Guy Lawson wonderfully winds the bizarre tale of Sam Israel's demise into a swirl of global conspiracy and ultimate delusion."
Andy Kessler, New York Times bestselling author of Running Money and How We Got Here
"A scintillating real-life thriller about one of the most peculiar frauds in history Part true-crime thriller, part Wall Street investigation, Octopus is filled with startling revelations.
Gary Weiss, former investigative reporter for Business Week and author of Born to Steal, Wall Street Versus America and Ayn Rand Nation

"An absorbing, splendidly detailed anddarkly illuminating tale of our times.
David Whitford, Editor-at-Large, Fortune magazine
"A rollicking, roller-coaster ride of a book that is utterly impossible to put down. Crackling with energy, Guy Lawson's account of Sam Israel -- rogue Wall Street trader and grifter par excellence - and the con within a con within a con that led to his ruin is a story that no novelist could possibly make up. Forget the sniveling Bernie Madoff and his garden-variety Ponzi Scheme; for anyone wanting to understand just how truly crazy Wall Street became and why, this is the book to read."
Scott Anderson, Vanity Fair contributor and author of Triage

"[Israel's Ponzi scheme] speaks to the banality of evil. But there is nothing banal about Guy Lawson's telling of the most incredible story I've ever heard in or out of Wall Street."
Jared Dillian, author of Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers

"Thrilling, outrageous and true, Octopus is a riveting ride through the shadow world of global high finance. A desperate man with a touch of insanity, Sam Israel is a character straight out of what we could only wish this story were: fantastic fiction."
Martin Kihn, author of House of Lies and Bad Dog (A Love Story)

"

"Lawson [has] found gold...This is a fantastic story, in both senses of the word, with a freshness that recalls Liars Poker."
--Bryan Burrough, New York Times

"Read this book to understand Wall Street...Someone is going to Octopus into a movie. By this time next year, Lawson will have a fat deal...The reason for that is that Octopus is an incredible dark comedy with one of the craziest true-life ironic twists you can possibly imagine."
--Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
"Lively...turns a lens on the fast and loose ways of Wall Street...would make an excellent gift for a regulatory complicance officer...or a shrink."
--Bloomberg Businessweek
"Lawson's spellbinding account of Sam Israel's rise and fall is a phantasmagoric trip through the larcenous outer reaches (as well as the dark heart) of the world of finance. Octopus made me worry that I was being followed or swindled."
--Nick Paumgarten, New Yorker
"A cautionary tale of the highly sophisticated, often endemic fraud that still lurks on Wall Street...I was riveted by Mr. Lawson's telling...the story is mind-boggling."
--Andrew Sorkin, New York Times (Dealbook)
"Entertaining...a colorful contemporary story about greed and ambition warping judgment, about con men duping other con men...replete with secret markets, shady intelligence operatives, and even a space alien that overdosed on ice cream."
--Reuters
"Full on Twilight Zone...features not just rampant fraud but guns, supposed CIA double agents, drugs, JFK's assassination, and oh yes, world domination. Did I mention that this is a nonfiction book?...An outrageous but definitely movie-worthy tale. Lawson's reporting is prodigious."
--Fortune

"Like The Sting...An astounding story that forces you to remind yourself that this actually happened not ten years ago, to real people with real money."
--Maclean's
"[Features] a series of spy-thriller escapades that could have been plucked from a Jason Bourne movie...More fun and thrilling than any work of journalism about hedge funds has the right to be."
--Canadian Business
"An inside look at a savage tribal society [of Wall Street traders] that also reminds one of that rollicking farce concocted by Mel Brooks, 'The Producers'... Brings to life one of the most colorful, and often engaging, con men of this or any other century...an entertaining, well-told tale."
--Washington Times
"If you dig movies about cons, like Catch Me If You Can, The Sting, and The Spanish Prisoner, you will blow through Octopus, Guy Lawson's deftly and enthusiastically told tale of Same Israel and the Bayou hedge fund."
--The Daily Beast
"Penetratingly comprehensive...Lawson nimbly traverses the labyrinthine depths of a worldwide banking con that managed to involve looted Federal Reserve notes and the JFK assassination...An eye-opening window onto Wall Street's destructive culture of unchecked hubris and a harrowing thrill ride into the unraveling mind of a desperate operator."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Lawson has mined the darkest, most seductive world I can imagine and delivered up a story that almost defies comprehension. Octopus is written with a force and clarity that I found absolutely irresistible...It's a hell of a book."
--Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Storm

"Liars and fraudsters and con men, oh my. Beyond the Bayou hedge fund implosion and faked suicide, Guy Lawson wonderfully winds the bizarre tale of Sam Israel's demise into a swirl of global conspiracy and ultimate delusion."
--Andy Kessler, New York Times bestselling author of Running Money and How We Got Here
"A scintillating real-life thriller about one of the most peculiar frauds in history...Part true-crime thriller, part Wall Street investigation, Octopus is filled with startling revelations."
--Gary Weiss, former investigative reporter for Business Week and author of Born to Steal, Wall Street Versus America and Ayn Rand Nation

"An absorbing, splendidly detailed and darkly illuminating tale of our times."
--David Whitford, Editor-at-Large, Fortune magazine
"A rollicking, roller-coaster ride of a book that is utterly impossible to put down. Crackling with energy, Guy Lawson's account of Sam Israel -- rogue Wall Street trader and grifter par excellence - and the con within a con within a con that led to his ruin is a story that no novelist could possibly make up. Forget the sniveling Bernie Madoff and his garden-variety Ponzi Scheme; for anyone wanting to understand just how truly crazy Wall Street became and why, this is the book to read."
--Scott Anderson, Vanity Fair contributor and author of Triage

"[Israel's Ponzi scheme] speaks to the banality of evil. But there is nothing banal about Guy Lawson's telling of the most incredible story I've ever heard in or out of Wall Street."
--Jared Dillian, author of Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers

"Thrilling, outrageous and true, Octopus is a riveting ride through the shadow world of global high finance. A desperate man with a touch of insanity, Sam Israel is a character straight out of what we could only wish this story were: fantastic fiction."
--Martin Kihn, author of House of Lies and Bad Dog (A Love Story)



-Lawson [has] found gold...This is a fantastic story, in both senses of the word, with a freshness that recalls Liars Poker.-
--Bryan Burrough, New York Times

-Read this book to understand Wall Street...Someone is going to Octopus into a movie. By this time next year, Lawson will have a fat deal...The reason for that is that Octopus is an incredible dark comedy with one of the craziest true-life ironic twists you can possibly imagine.-
--Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
-Lively...turns a lens on the fast and loose ways of Wall Street...would make an excellent gift for a regulatory complicance officer...or a shrink.-
--Bloomberg Businessweek
-Lawson's spellbinding account of Sam Israel's rise and fall is a phantasmagoric trip through the larcenous outer reaches (as well as the dark heart) of the world of finance. Octopus made me worry that I was being followed or swindled.-
--Nick Paumgarten, New Yorker
-A cautionary tale of the highly sophisticated, often endemic fraud that still lurks on Wall Street...I was riveted by Mr. Lawson's telling...the story is mind-boggling.-
--Andrew Sorkin, New York Times (Dealbook)
-Entertaining...a colorful contemporary story about greed and ambition warping judgment, about con men duping other con men...replete with secret markets, shady intelligence operatives, and even a space alien that overdosed on ice cream.-
--Reuters
-Full on Twilight Zone...features not just rampant fraud but guns, supposed CIA double agents, drugs, JFK's assassination, and oh yes, world domination. Did I mention that this is a nonfiction book?...An outrageous but definitely movie-worthy tale. Lawson's reporting is prodigious.-
--Fortune

-Like The Sting...An astounding story that forces you to remind yourself that this actually happened not ten years ago, to real people with real money.-
--Maclean's
-[Features] a series of spy-thriller escapades that could have been plucked from a Jason Bourne movie...More fun and thrilling than any work of journalism about hedge funds has the right to be.-
--Canadian Business
-An inside look at a savage tribal society [of Wall Street traders] that also reminds one of that rollicking farce concocted by Mel Brooks, 'The Producers'... Brings to life one of the most colorful, and often engaging, con men of this or any other century...an entertaining, well-told tale.-
--Washington Times
-If you dig movies about cons, like Catch Me If You Can, The Sting, and The Spanish Prisoner, you will blow through Octopus, Guy Lawson's deftly and enthusiastically told tale of Same Israel and the Bayou hedge fund.-
--The Daily Beast
-Penetratingly comprehensive...Lawson nimbly traverses the labyrinthine depths of a worldwide banking con that managed to involve looted Federal Reserve notes and the JFK assassination...An eye-opening window onto Wall Street's destructive culture of unchecked hubris and a harrowing thrill ride into the unraveling mind of a desperate operator.-
--Kirkus Reviews

-Lawson has mined the darkest, most seductive world I can imagine and delivered up a story that almost defies comprehension. Octopus is written with a force and clarity that I found absolutely irresistible...It's a hell of a book.-
--Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Storm

-Liars and fraudsters and con men, oh my. Beyond the Bayou hedge fund implosion and faked suicide, Guy Lawson wonderfully winds the bizarre tale of Sam Israel's demise into a swirl of global conspiracy and ultimate delusion.-
--Andy Kessler, New York Times bestselling author of Running Money and How We Got Here
-A scintillating real-life thriller about one of the most peculiar frauds in history...Part true-crime thriller, part Wall Street investigation, Octopus is filled with startling revelations.-
--Gary Weiss, former investigative reporter for Business Week and author of Born to Steal, Wall Street Versus America and Ayn Rand Nation

-An absorbing, splendidly detailed and darkly illuminating tale of our times.-
--David Whitford, Editor-at-Large, Fortune magazine
-A rollicking, roller-coaster ride of a book that is utterly impossible to put down. Crackling with energy, Guy Lawson's account of Sam Israel -- rogue Wall Street trader and grifter par excellence - and the con within a con within a con that led to his ruin is a story that no novelist could possibly make up. Forget the sniveling Bernie Madoff and his garden-variety Ponzi Scheme; for anyone wanting to understand just how truly crazy Wall Street became and why, this is the book to read.-
--Scott Anderson, Vanity Fair contributor and author of Triage

-[Israel's Ponzi scheme] speaks to the banality of evil. But there is nothing banal about Guy Lawson's telling of the most incredible story I've ever heard in or out of Wall Street.-
--Jared Dillian, author of Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers

-Thrilling, outrageous and true, Octopus is a riveting ride through the shadow world of global high finance. A desperate man with a touch of insanity, Sam Israel is a character straight out of what we could only wish this story were: fantastic fiction.-
--Martin Kihn, author of House of Lies and Bad Dog (A Love Story)

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘Extraordinary’.FT best books of 2012

THIS IS IMPROBABLE by Marc Abrahams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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