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Wonder Boy: Barry Minkow, the Kid Who Swindled Wall Street and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Wonder Boy: Barry Minkow--The Kid Who Swindled Wall Street Hardcover – January, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A hyperactive child, compulsive teenage achiever and adult charmer, Barry Minkow at age 21 in 1987 controlled a $100-million, California-based carpet-cleaning and building-restoration business. A media darling well connected on Wall Street, he was in prison within a year. He was a con man: there were no restoration jobs or carpet-cleaning profits. Lenders were paid off by later investors in a Ponzi scheme, with Minkow extracting funds from girlfriends, gangsters, imprudent bankers and venture capitalists while his lieutenants set up dummy work sites in order to deceive investors and creditors. Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal correspondent Akst, whose reporting spurred Minkow's rise as well as his fall, breathlessly tells an intricate story of greed, chicanery and ruin, which he does not make entirely comprehensible. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Akst, who broke the ZZZZ Best scandal in The Wall Street Journal , has written a very reliable account of Barry Minkow and his now-infamous swindle involving his ZZZZ Best carpet cleaning service company. This work reads like a novel and gives a clear account of Minkow and his unbelievable charm, which induced so many institutions and people to back him. It also paints a picture of a period in America when greed overcame common sense. This is very much like Joe Domanick's account on Minkow, Faking It in America ( LJ 9/1/89). Either gives sufficient coverage of the issue; this would be first choice if only buying one book on the subject.
- Michael D. Kathman, St. John's Univ., Collegeville, Minn.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (January 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684189887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684189888
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,254,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel Akst is a writer whose columns, essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Wilson Quarterly, Slate, Metropolis and many others. He's also the author of two novels and two nonfiction books. He works as an editorial writer at Newsday, on Long Island, where he also writes a weekly column that is distributed by the McClatchy-Tribune news service. For more information, visit

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Wasserman on March 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I would like to recommend this book to anyone interested in Barry Minkow, con-artists, or a good read. The author, Daniel Akst, brings a new light to this old story. Also, Homeland Security is mistaken, it is written by Daniel Akst, not the target of the book, Barry Minkow.
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By S. Wozniak on February 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book on an intriguing subject. I wish that the TV series that was developed from the series of books on Minkow had made it!
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2 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Homeland Security on July 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Barry Minkow is trying to profit from all of the misery, pain and suffering he has bestowed upon thousands of individuals, destroying their lives and taking their life savings.

Barry Minkow in my opinion is one of the most disturbing and disgusting scam artists in modern history. As one of the youngest federal prisoners he was considered fresh meat the first couple of years behind bars. He allegedly quickly flipped and became a FBI informat.

Barry Minkow's shining moments was paroled early (he must have informed on quite a number of prisoners) and then proceeded to find his old trait as a confidence scammer in the way of the christian ministry. Once there, he used his informer contacts to get rid of a competitive priest who was investing money in the securitys market without the SEC securitys license. Busting a fellow priest was no doubt, one of Barry Minkow's shinning moments in his infamous life. That just graphically goes to show you how truely disgusting and twisted Barry Minkow is.

Shun this man and give him no profits from stealing millions of dollars from home owners and investors by buying his books.
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