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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
This is very well researched book. It documents the systematic fraud, deceit and corruption that is commonplace in Wall Street and the big banks. It documents how often times the very financial institutions that want you to speculate with your money, in fact do not speculate with their money.

The book covers a a many topics including:

The Federal Reserve and it's impact on the average American.
The repeal of The Glass-Stegall Act and the passage of The Gramm-Leach-Biley Act of 1999.
Why big banks want all regulations to be consolidated at the federal level.
Wall Street and it's appetite for speculation (The Casino Age)
How big banks circumvent state usury laws that allow them to charge twenty plus percent on credit cards loans. These provide billions in profits to the big bank.

Kickbacks, bribery, embezzlement, collusive bidding practices and other dishonest practices take place in International banking which has NO regulations. (The IMF and The World Bank)How international banks which are often owned by Big U.S. Banks, call on the Federal Reserve, The International Monetary Fund, The World Bank and the United States Treasury to bail them out. Once again, the American tax-payer gets hosed!

The breathtaking amount of violations, fraud, and deceit that have taken place in the mutual fund industry. (Pages 108-115)

The author did an enormous about of research on the topic of Bank Owned Life Insurance. Banks own billions of dollars in BOLI's. In fact up to 25% of many of the major banks have their tier one capital assets in cash value life insurance. In fact, these institution were buying up billions of dollars in cash value life insurance while they were advising many of their clients to do the exact opposite.

The book does a good job contrasting the stability of the life insurance industry compared to the banking/ investment banking industry. Around the year 1900 approximately 50% of peoples savings were deposited with a life insurance companies. During the great depression it was the insurance industry that provided liquidity to the banks and the federal government. While over 10,000 banks failed, deposits with life insurance companies were found to be 99.6% percent safe.

If you want to know the truth, then this is a great book. Be forewarned, it will upset you!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
My Husband's Review: Scathing Report on American Financial System. True insider view of what's wrong with American Finance.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2010
VERY WELL WRITTEN AND EXTREMELY INFORMATIVE; GIVES A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON USES FOR PERMANENT LIFE INSURANCE.

LARRY STEWART, SHELTER INSURANCE COMPANY
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2012
This book is an eye opener to those who want to understand how to build wealth securely. It explores common myths and reveals the inter-connectedness of popular financial advisers and financial companies. I would have never known there was a better way to build wealth and protect my family if a friend hadn't recommended this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2014
The modern finance industry, what Dyke calls "The Casino Age," is focused on rapid wealth using risky investment vehicles and screwing the little guy. Banks have been fined millions of dollars over the years in penalties for fraud and unethical activities, but the fines pale in comparison to the profits they earned by those actions, and almost nobody ever goes to prison, and so the abuses continue. Banks and other financial corporations have lobbied successfully to centralize most regulations at the federal level--laws that ultimately protect their rapacious, economically destructive activity and protect them from the losses that arise from speculative investments made with other people's money.

Next is a sort of odd section that seems to contradict his professed commitment to free market principles and lack of government intrusion. Dyke spends a lot of time describing the deregulation spree of the 80s and 90s, arguing that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (which Dyke claims repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933) allowed the banks to increase their risky speculation and caused the market crashes that followed. But as author and investor Peter Schiff has argued in his own book, The Real Crash, this was not a full repeal; all it did was remove bank restrictions that the market otherwise would have put in place but kept the implicit promise of government bailout, so it only incentivized the banks to speculate. Schiff writes: "The market used to regulate banks; Glass-Steagall [1933] killed the market regulation and replaced it with government regulation; Gramm-Leach-Bliley [1999] killed the government regulation but didn't replace it with anything." So while Dyke is right that the banks' behavior was illegal and unethical, by blaming "deregulation" he doesn't go far enough. Regulations that skewed the banks' incentives to speculate irresponsibly were the real culprit.

The next section is well summarized by the chapter title: "Never Met A Man Who Made His Millions In Mutual Funds." Dyke explains why mutual funds are terrible investment vehicles for the layman; they tend to make money for the fund managers and stock brokers, not for the consumers providing the capital and taking on the risk. The modern mainstream financial world--from mutual funds to retirement planning--is a hoax, filled with advice that the biggest and most profitable banks decline to follow themselves. Which leads Dyke into surprising territory.

You probably wouldn't expect him to go here, but the next section is an incredibly detailed look at permanent ("whole life") insurance. Although this type of insurance has been around for over 200 years, and indeed was the most common type of policy held by American households prior to the mid-twentieth century, it is denigrated and sneered at by mainstream financial advisers. Dyke argues that "Buy term and invest the difference" is one of the most wealth-destructive lies ever told in investment history. As it turns out, banks and corporations have literally stashed hundreds of billions of dollars in high-cash-value permanent life insurance policies. It makes up significant portion of many banks' Tier-1 capital, the safest and most secure of any financial institution's assets. But the benefits and advantages of this type of vehicle are even greater for the average consumer, if you know how to leverage it. Whole life insurance provides liquidity, preferential tax treatment, guaranteed growth, creditor protection, retirement funds, a simple and tax-free way to pass on an inheritance, and a source for financing a lifetime's worth of expenses. This section is the gold mine of the book, for those with eyes to see. It's a paradigm shift, but one that pays incredible dividends (pun intended).

The book is self-published and in desperate (at times embarrassing) need of an editor, and the author has an annoying habit of referring to himself in the third person. But those quirks aside, this book is a fantastic resource for anyone looking for a straightforward description of the havoc wreaked by modern "crapitalism" (government + corporations; not Dyke's term), and the common sense solution out of the malaise presented by whole life insurance. I highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
The Pirates of Manhattan is an eye-opening description of the deceit on Wall Street and with the Federal Reserve Bank that has been going on for decades. It also admirably touts the benefits of using whole life insurance as an integral part of a sound financial plan.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2012
First and foremost, this book is financially technical and SO boring! I'm a computer programmer who really likes finance. I get technical things. However, I think "this author" (as he calls himself often) is writing to an audience with at least some sort of college degree in a financial sector. It was a very hard read.

The first half or more of this book exposes example after example of treachery and fraud in banks, financial investment companies, and government. He almost makes an honest banker an oxymoron. While it was obvious to me that his political views are significantly different than mine, the amount of corruption going on was certainly eye opening.

The second half of this book focuses on whole life insurance and the benefits it offers to banks, corporations, and individual consumers. If I understood it right (big caveat there!), banks are the largest purchasers of whole life insurance in the nation, perhaps the world. They use it, among other things, to both fund and recover the costs of the big golden parachutes and pension plans of their executives. I never quite understood the details of how this works, but then I wasn't a finance major. :)

Would I recommend this book? Not to an average Joe, never. Not even to a highly intelligent Joe. It's just too boring! Lots of typos, but who could blame the editors?! I wouldn't want to re-read it either! It's probably the perfect book for investment coaches, insurance agents, etc. But I'm the kind of person who hires those people, not who is one of those people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2015
EXCELLENT book!!! Everyone should read this author he is unbelievably thorough and diligent in his research, very sophisticated in the way he puts the book together and makes it completely understandable to the reader. He has his own website if you cannot find one of his books on Amazon. ALL of Barry Dyke's material is a MUST for your library. REALLY enjoyed this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book has a very important message about the state of investments on wall street. The endless lists of abuses were lost in the lack of easy to follow story lines of how and why these occurred.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2014
This should be required reading for anyone in the financial field and anyone who wants to get a handle on becoming financially astute.
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