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Circle of Greed: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to Its Knees [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Dillon , Carl Cannon
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $13.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Circle of Greed is the epic story of the rise and fall of Bill Lerach, once the leading class action lawyer in America and now a convicted felon.  For more than two decades, Lerach threatened, shook down and sued top Fortune 500 companies, including Disney, Apple, Time Warner, and—most famously—Enron.  Now, the man who brought corporate moguls to their knees has fallen prey to the same corrupt impulses of his enemies, and is paying the price by serving time in federal prison.       
If there was ever a modern Greek tragedy about a man and his times, about corporate arrogance and illusions and the scorched-earth tactics to not only counteract corporate America but to beat it at its own game, Bill Lerach's story is it.   

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


“John Grisham would have to struggle to invent a character as brilliant and unethical as Bill Lerach. It is a credit to the reporting talents of Patrick Dillon and Carl M. Cannon that, in “Circle of Greed,” they capture the felon-lawyer in all his charm and ruthlessness. Along the way they show how the plaintiffs' bar has transformed the process of class actions into big business.”
Wall Street Journal

“[A] revelatory yarn . . . In “Circle of Greed,” the authors do justice to their subject and have produced a book that proves the adage that truth can be stranger than fiction.”
Washington Times
“Mr. Dillon and Mr. Cannon have written the type of book that, like “Den of Thieves” and “Smartest Guys in the Room,” helps to explain an era.”
“In Circle of Greed , this compelling narrative becomes an irresistible metaphor for the hubris at the heart of capitalism . . . Lerach is lucky to have Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Patrick Dillon and Carl Cannon as his chroniclers. They tell his tale with an authority and depth that comes from having followed his career since the late 1970s. . .  Amid the entertaining knockabout and big personalities, the authors raise important questions about how the rule of law should work in a capitalist democracy.”
Financial Times
 “[R]iveting . . . Telling this complex story is a tricky business, but Circle of Greed is up to the task: it is impressively researched and well paced, and offers reporting, not editorializing, leaving the reader to form his or her own judgments.”
Washington Monthly

"A well-reported, densely written saga" --Kirkus Reviews

"In modern co...

About the Author

Patrick Dillon has won many journalism awards including a share of the Pulitzer Prize- and is the author of the acclaimed Lost at Sea.  The executive editor of California magazine, he was formerly editor in chief of Forbes ASAP, a writer for the Christian Science Monitor, and an editor and columnist at the San Jose Mercury News.  He lives in San Francisco, California.
Carl M. Cannon is the deputy editor of and coauthor of Reagan's Disciple: George W. Bush's Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy.  He has won numerous awards, including a share of the Pulitzer Prize in 1989, and the prestigious Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting of the Presidency.  He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Product Details

  • File Size: 876 KB
  • Print Length: 546 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0767929942
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (February 24, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4EMS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,667 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rorschach Test: Class Actions April 26, 2010
Circle of Greed provides a fascinating account of the rise and fall one of the most famous--or infamous--class action lawyers, Bill Lerach. The book has many fine qualities. First, it is very interesting reading. Lerach has lived a colorful life, and Dillon and Cannon tell a heck of a story.

Second, because Lerach was so prominent in prosecuting class actions, the book provides a concise history of many of the most important cases of fraud in the financial industry over the last several decades, a history that could not be more timely. Dillon and Cannon do a wonderful job of explaining in clear and accessible terms some of the shenanigans in which corporate America has engaged. Those descriptions by themselves justify the price of the book.

Third, Circle of Greed offers a balanced account of class actions and their virtues and vices as a means of achieving justice. Lerach himself appears as a complicated character: a true believer who was so committed to his cause--and to winning--that he was willing to bend and even break the rules, leading to his incarceration.

As a law professor, I teach about and study class actions and complex litigation. Over the years I have learned that people's ideological commitments tend to shape their views of class action litigation rather than the other way around. As a result, Circle of Greed is likely to be a Rorschach test. Those who hate class actions may object that Dillon and Cannon fail to condemn Lerach in clear enough terms. Those who are enamored with class actions may think Dillon and Cannon were too tough on Lerach--or should have chosen a more sympathetic subject, a class action lawyer who acted more ethically. But those who read Circle of Greed with an open mind may learn a little bit about one man's story, as well as a bit about the strengths and weaknesses of class litigation. Dillon and Cannon just provide the facts. The reader has to decide what to do with them.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Culture of Contradictions April 28, 2010
I found the book compelling and timely - given today's social, political and economic climates. Cannon and Dillon have created an amazing and very readable account of the inner workings of class-action suits within the legal system, the formation of questionable political, legal, and corporate liaisons, the lack-luster SEC, investigative work, and cheating. The unfolding revelations within the text are both troubling and fascinating at the same time. The authors clearly reveal there is not much of a delineation between narcissistic, brilliant people and stupidity. Lerach is a conumdrum; and his world of law is clearly full of moral and ethical contradictions. Kuddos to the authors for providing such a wonderfully detailed account of Lerach's world and giving greater insight into the socio-political inadequacies that have become a part of this nation's conscience.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, fascinating, fair and insightful March 16, 2010
By Whiz
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A tremendous book. A gripping page-turner that every reader will enjoy - even people without a background or specific interest in politics or law. Objectively and thoroughly reported, the authors make complex subjects understandable and present the tale of a larger-than-life character in a tale that someone will certainly turn into a blockbuster movie.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bill I Hardly Knew You March 30, 2010
This book is interesting journalism about a character who is bigger than life. Bill Lerach is a brilliant individual whose creative theories and ruthless execution made his an enemy of many companies. The authors decided to tell a story and they told a fascinating one with unbelievable characters. The story really is similar to others in 1990 who started out with an effective business plan and then overdid and destroyed themselves. In many ways Lerach was not different than the Enron folks who he clearly hated. He was so caught up in the need to make money or to be powerful that he felt the normal rules of law did not apply to him. He cheated to get cases. It is unclear from the book whether he thought he could do a better job or that he was manic.

Like so many people like him he either never had a moral compass or he lost it. In any event, he became a disgrace to the bar through his tactics.

My issue with this book is that there is no effort to consider the real issues seriously. I was hoping there would have been an more in depth consideration of Lerach's contribution to general welfare. Also I missed any analysis by the authors of why they felt he acted as he did. i do not believe that the authors made the case that people like Lerach reduce corporate fraud. I think because they destroy respect for the system they give the abusers the ability to say the law is not fair so I am not doing anything wrong by abusing it. Like Lerach explaining why he bought plaintiffs. The lack of such an effort did not reduce the pleasure of reading this book I just felt cheated that I did not get to understand Bill better.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you enjoy well-written non-fiction about interesting characters and their foibles in the business/legal world, certainly add 'Circle of Greed' to your reading list. Bill Lerach's personality, actions and place in history are certainly worthy of a serious book like this one. The authors Cannon and Dillon maintain a compelling narrative flow while relating an enormous volume of impeccably-researched information- some of it arcane- which is no small feat.

If, however, you are looking for an excellent business-legal world character study/history book/thriller that is simultaneously a textbook on securities law and class action lawsuits, a precise survey of commute times in the Cleveland metropolitan area and completely devoid of any conventional narrative language, this may not be the book for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent merchant!
Terrific book, thank you for getting it to me so quickly.
Published 1 month ago by Anne K. Perry
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, although it did bog down a few ...
Good read, although it did bog down a few times. Love the term "Larached". This story reminds me a lot of THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF ZEUS. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Biz Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars great read !!
A must read for any litigator, especially those attorneys who handle class work or mass actions. Very entertaining and educational
Published 3 months ago by Roman A. Shaul
4.0 out of 5 stars Power unbridled
My son works in this law firm ( after the fall) Its a different place now. This was interesting revelation, but it seems the whole thing started out with good intentions,but... Read more
Published 12 months ago by James reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Insightful
Fascinating story, well researched, thoughtful, incisive, insightful , well written. Author did his homework and demonstrates a deep understanding of the real world of lawyers... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mnemosyne
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Research/Reporting Produces a Real Page Turner
The story of the lawyer Wall Street most feared for more than a decade is a difficult one to tell. The authors have excelled in their digging out of the the facts and then... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Reckless Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding; reads like a well-paced novel
Excellent read for anyone interested in either the business of mass tort law in the U.S., or in learning the story of a William Lerach, a fascinating character. Read more
Published on April 29, 2013 by avid reader
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner!
I enjoyed this book tremendously. The lawyer is totally three-dimensional, an authentic human being; the story is engaging, in fact, I could not put the book down. Read more
Published on January 10, 2013 by Simone Signoret
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, but could have been told better
Definitely a fascinating story, but it reads more like a textbook than a novel. Geared more towards disciples of the law than the average reader... Read more
Published on October 2, 2012 by ReyAce
5.0 out of 5 stars Like War and Peace In Its Coverage of the Human Experience.
A college roommate implored me to read Tolstoy's War and Peace.

His persuasive pitch was that the book covered every aspect of the human experience. Read more
Published on December 29, 2010 by Richard J. Radcliffe
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