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Serpent on the Rock Paperback – December 27, 2005


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Serpent on the Rock + Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story + The Informant: A True Story
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767923847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767923842
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

ABSORBING . . . A PAGE-TURNER . . . THE BOOK IS GREAT FUN TO READ . . . As a tale of ego and greed on Wall Street, Serpent on the Rock is up there with Barbarians at the Gate.
USA Today

A COMPELLING TALE, richly laced with details, that shows how trust can be quickly tapped for huge profits by unscrupulous advisers.
Chicago Tribune

ENGROSSING . . . A BLOW-BY-BLOW ACCOUNT OF AN UNPARALLELED CRIME.
Barron’s

A GENUINE PAGE-TURNER . . . reads like a novel with bigger-than-life
characters . . . comprehensive, impeccably sourced and striking in its detail.
Dallas Morning News

Kurt Eichenwald’s cinematic storytelling and command of complex details create a disturbing and damning drama.
New York Times

IF YOU WANT AN INSIDE LOOK AT WALL STREET AT ITS WORST, READ THIS BOOK.
Washington Post

A DRAMATIC BOOK . . . A RIVETING ACCOUNT . . . GREAT WRITING THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO KEEP THE PAGES TURNING. —San Diego Union-Tribune

BLOWS AWAY THRILLERS BY JOHN GRISHAM AND TOM CLANCY . . . This book has it all: suspense and horror, greed and pure malice, along with heartbreak and the eternal, valiant struggle of the little guy against the forces of evil . . . By two sentences into Serpent, I found myself hooked, unable to put the book down.
Insight

About the Author

KURT EICHENWALD has written for the New York Times for more than seventeen years. A two-time winner of the George Polk Award for Excellence in Journalism and a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, he has been selected repeatedly for the TJFR Business News Reporter as one of the nation’s most influential financial journalists. His last book, the highly praised Conspiracy of Fools, was a New York Times bestseller. His book The Informant is currently in development as a major motion picture. Eichenwald lives in Dallas with his wife and three children.

More About the Author

Kurt Eichenwald has written about Wall Street for The New York Times since 1987. He began investigating the Prudential scandal in 1989 and, in 1993, took a leave from his daily Market Place column to investigate Prudential Bache full time. His efforts yielded Serpent on the Rock and a Publisher's Award from the Times.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Excellent and thorough book on Prudential by Eichenwald.
M. Drees
For anyone interested in books about business, this is an absolute must-read.
Robert B. Lamm
There was only so much ... everyone else could do to hold him off.
Steven H Propp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By CKE TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Serpent on the Rock" is the first of Kurt Eichenwald's investigative works on the greed of corporate America. Eichenwald has made quite a reputation for himself dealing with large firms and the chain-of-mistakes that cause them to be disgraced. All three of his books read as good fiction. However, "Serpent on the Rock" does not quite reach the level of "The Informant" and "Conspiracy of Fools".

"Serpent on the Rock" deals with the Prudential-Bache scandals of the late 80's and early 90's. Interestingly enough - much of logic that created the scandal seems to have been repeated with our current "sub-prime" meltdown. This alone makes it a must read. I will not give away too much of the plot, but it is familiar. A company begins activities that are on the fringe of legality. This gradually moves into completely illegal and immoral.... Which eventually blows up in their face. Next we have the cover-up.

Eichenwald has written a very fast paced account of the Prudentail-Bache scandal, and should be a must read for all MBA students, so that may learn from history and not fall into this endless cycle of business on the fringe. 4 stars ONLY because it is not quite on the same level as "Conspiracy of Fools" and the "Informant" (both of which I highly recommend).
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tonian on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is not Eichenwald's best book. But it's still better than 95 percent of the junk that passes for thrillers these days. In fact, I would be raving over this book if I hadn't read Eichenwald's "The Informant" and "Conspiracy of Fools" first. Those two set a very, very high bar. This one doesn't clear it completely, but it still gets darn close.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Lamm on August 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finally got around to reading "Serpent on the Rock" years after having read "Conspiracy of Fools" and "The Informant." Given the passage of time since I read Mr. Eichenwald's later books, it's possible that I don't remember them as well as some of the other reviewers. However, "Serpent on the Rock" strikes me as equal to "Conspiracy of Fools" and quite possibly better than "The Informant" - though the latter is really a different sort of book and isn't entirely comparable.

At any rate, for me "Serpent on the Rock" cements Mr. Eichenwald's status as the pre-eminent author of the "Companies Gone Wild" genre; his books are immensely readable, well organized, abundantly footnoted and well indexed (a rare occurrence these days). Moreover, if being a great non-fiction writer is dependent upon picking the right story, he's a genius; even though I know the book is factual, I found myself saying over and over again that if this had been a novel it would have been criticized as being too far out and/or lacking in credibility.

For anyone interested in books about business, this is an absolute must-read. As one of the other reviewers said, it should also be required reading for anyone seeking an MBA or a law degree (as should "Conspiracy of Fools").

I met Mr. Eichenwald about a year ago or so and asked him if he had given up writing books. He told me that he was writing one, but that it was not about a business debacle but instead was about the government. His new book, "500 Days," is due out next month, and I can't wait to read it. I'm disappointed that he's not writing the definitive book about the ongoing financial crisis (though "Too Good to Fail" and "The Sellout" are pretty much classics of that tale), but if he's as good in his new area as he is in this one, it's going to be fabulous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward J. Barton VINE VOICE on July 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a reminder of the potential excesses in the financial services space. And this was 20 years ago. Kurt Eichenwald does a great job of writing a "Grisham like" novel - except it is true.

The story revolves around the marketing and sale of limited partnership interests in various Prudential-Bache backed investments, and the rather questionable to downright illegal interactions among general partners, limited partners, investors and lenders. Sounds eerily similar to current news...

The book is a great read, very entertaining, and enlightening given the topic. Makes you wonder what financial product is next, since the cycle appears to continue unabated.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ayal Rosenthal on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Its not the best written story of a financial scandal and overly relies on several characters for the facts and anecdotes. That written, it is a disturbing look at what was allowed to happen in the key mid-tier brokerage firm as controls lapsed in the pursuit of profits.
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By Herb Depke on April 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In spit of a seemingly dull subject, this book is a real page Turner. Well written. And there are lessons not yet realized.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was disturbing and absolutely riveting. How Prudential Bache is still in business is a mystery - although with this country I shouldn't be surprised. Corporations and Moneyed individuals are never held accountable. This is a must read!!!
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