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You Can't Cheat an Honest Man: How Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Frauds Work...And Why They're More Common Than Ever Paperback – January 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Silver Lake Publishing; 1st edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563431696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563431692
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,370,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Buxman TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2002
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If you've ever wondered how pyramid schemes get started and how they unravel, this book makes an interesting read. You will be both amazed and appalled at the mass stupidity involved in getting these schemes off the ground. However, you might feel a little foolish yourself when the author points out that our very own Social Security System is a textbook Ponzi scheme.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "repeatonceagain" on August 11, 2002
This book explains ponzi scheme after ponzi scheme, in an interesting, informative way. The people who run these schemes (called "perps") use seemingly endless variations but it all comes down to the same thing: robbing peter to pay paul. The perp offers a guaranteed return on investment, usually an outrageous amount, usually in a short period of time. The explanation for why the perp can give this huge return is basically a varation on the same theme: he has an investment vehicle that will return him even bigger profits then what he's giving you but he needs your money to expand his operation.
Just a few problems with this. First of all, the activity that the perp claims to me making these huge profits from are usually just a cover to take people's money. If the perp actually does use the money for some kind of trade or investments, he typically looses in much of his trading or, even if he is good at it, he has too much money flowing in from the "investors" to keep up. The money just comes too fast even if he has good intentions so...
Here comes robbing peter to pay paul, in other words, paying early investors with later investors money. Its always doomed to fail because it is based on continual growth that cannot possibly be maintained. Ponzi scemes can still last for years however, depending on many factors. This book beautifully explains these things in example after example.
This book also talks about multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes in depth. Also, what should you do if you have been taken by a ponzi scheme? This book offers a number of chapters of advice.
One of the most important points this book makes is that the biggest ponzi scheme of them all is run by our own government. This is the politically untouchable program of Social Security!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 6, 2005
Some books may not be particularly recent publications but deserve renewed attention and ongoing recommendation in light of modern events or contemporary concerns: James Walsh's You Can't Cheat An Honest Man: How Ponzi Schemes And Pyramid Frauds Work...And Why They're More Common Than Ever is one of them, focusing on how pyramid frauds work, why they're common, and how to avoid scams and cons. The scheme name may change but the scheme is the same: it involves case studies in greed and exploitation, outlined in You Can't Cheat An Honest Man so that investors may learn from the woes of the 'taken'. As relevant today as it was in 1998.
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By Patrick on July 22, 2013
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This is a fine book on the topic --- Ponzi. However, I failed to check the publishing date (1998) until I was half thru the book. I really would like a book with current (since 1998) cases and studies. After all, there have been so many expose's over the most recent 15 years.
A great read, nevertheless.
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2 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2004
Alot of people think that network market is a semi-legal pyramid scheme, but not all network marketing companies are a pyramid. If many of you do your research, you'll see that companies such as life plus, melaleuca, market america, etc. are true network marketing companies they'll really compensate you if you refer people to their company & products. Before anyone pre-judges a network marketing company, do your research on each company, plan, products, etc. The true pyramid schemes are the one's that you get in the mail that ask you to send between a $1 - $5 to each name & address, and in return, you'll make millions within a few months...that's a true pyramid scheme, I know because I've lost money to these pyramids through the mail. I now know how to tell the difference between a pyramid & a real opportunity. These pyramid schemes give real & great network marketing companies a bad reputation. So again, do your research on a company before enrolling or sending out money. There are truly real gold mines out there, so please do your research by reading articles on them, and check the Better Business Bureau ([...]) . Thank you.
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