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Before Charles Ponzi (1882â"1949) sailed from Italy to the shores of America in 1903, his father assured him that the streets were really paved with gold - and that Ponzi would be able to get a piece. As journalist Zuckoff observes in this engaging and fast-paced biography, Ponzi learned as soon as he disembarked that though the streets were often cobblestone, he could still make a fortune in a culture caught in the throes of the Gilded Age. Zuckoff deftly chronicles Ponzi's mercurial rise and fall as he conjured up one get-rich-quick scheme after another. Charming, gregarious and popular, Ponzi devised and carried out the scheme that carries his name in 1920 in the open (and with a brief period of approval from Boston's newspapers and financial sector). Many investors did indeed double their investments, as Ponzi would use money of new investors to pay old investors, and Ponzi himself became a millionaire. Eventually, Zuckoff shows, the Boston Post uncovered this "robbing Peter to pay Paul" system (as it was then known), and Ponzi's life unraveled. Zuckoff provides not only a definitive portrait of Ponzi's life but also insights into immigrant life and the social world of early 20th-century Boston.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A journalism professor at Boston University, Zuckoff has written a solid biography of a great American legend. Zuckoff, who mined archival newspapers, almanacs, letters, and photographs, recreates intriguing characters. Greed may have driven Ponzi, who led a comfortable life in Italy, and yet the great schemer emerges as charismatic, clever, and even strangely lovable. The efficient narrative, despite some digressions, focuses on Ponzis story and largely ignores the eras social and political milieu. At the same time, a parallel tale of young Boston publisher Richard Grozier competes for attention. Flaws aside, Ponzis Scheme captures a compelling story. After all, wrote the Boston Post at the time, "Of all the get-rich-quick magnates Ponzi is the king." In this day and age, that is quite an accomplishment.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
It was very interesting to read this story of the original Ponzi scheme in our present time os similar activities.Published 4 days ago by ron nevinsMyron Nevins
Rating this work as brilliant would do Mr. Zuckoff an injustice. I am currently on vacation with my family and am sorry to say that I have spent most of my time glued to these... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Kindle Customer
Interesting book, but probably could have been condensed by 25%. Seemed to get sidetracked by the extensive backgrounds of peripheral characters.Published 1 month ago by Non PC
Good read. The twists and turns of this financial version of Elmer gantry confirms that greed and pride usually come before the fall.Published 5 months ago by David F. Pope
An excellent read, bought it used. I swear people know the name but are clueless about how a real shyster's mind works. Read morePublished 8 months ago by PondKeeper
Some things are timeless and none more than the business hustle. Fun to read about this famous con manPublished 8 months ago by Karen Vance