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Catastrophe: The Story of Bernard L. Madoff, the Man Who Swindled the World Paperback – March 15, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
If you were a Madoff customer, a Madoff-news-addict, or a person interested in Jewish charities, this book is well-written and clear.
If not one of the above, the book offers little that's practical or entertaining. If I were an investor, I would like to understand what the numerous Madoff red flags were--not detailed in this book. If I wanted to be entertained, I would want to read about how Madoff was so devious and calculating, and the spine-tingling risks he took. Neither of these are detailed here. Instead, it's a set of sentimental interviews about whom so and so lost so much money. Tells little about what they could do to prevent these.
Also, the author separates Jews from "gentiles", and focuses on Jews. I thought Madoff has broader appeal.... Affinity scams are well known in churches, for example. This book doesn't teach how affinity scams work in general.
Didn't learn much of value.
A typical investment fraud plays along Andersen's famous "Emperor's New Clothes" tale scenario, and it includes four key participants: swindlers, an exposing child, an ignorant and sycophant crowd, and victims. Strober's book hyperbolizes all four key components to a unique degree:
1. The main character is Bernard Madoff, a highly respected financier, previous NASDAQ chairman, and a member of multiple exclusive clubs. Since establishing his financial securities investment firm in 1960, he posted an uninterrupted record of outstanding financial performance, accumulated billions in assets under management, and frequently turned away investors only too eager to participate.
2. The cries about the naked emperor include Barron's article (2001) and Markopolos's letter to SEC (2005) that lists twenty nine (29) redflags.
3. The crowd is the regulatory bodies, other hedge fund managers, and the media that failed to notice and report the largest Ponzi scheme in human history in spite of suspicions and warnings.
4. The list of victims includes dozens of major banks, hedge funds, charities, and universities, as well as individual investors.
Having interviewed some 30 people, including classmates, investors, lawyers, and other Wall Street experts in a short time span during the few weeks since the news of Madoff's arrest on December 11, 2008, Strobers' book is necessarily limited to the few facts printed in the media and a few individual victims' perspectives.Read more ›
I am really quite impressed by the job the Strobers have done under the circumstances. The main sign of haste is that the book is slightly repetitious here and there, but not to any bothersome extent. Their narrative is clear and literate, and although there are plenty of quotations these are skilfully placed so as to provide variety, and they do not suggest padding. The authors make some attempt to account for the personality of Bernard Madoff, but the main focus is on the actual events. To me, this is the right way of doing it. The first need is clarity about what actually happened, so far as that can be ascertained early on in the saga, the actual sequence of events is exciting enough in its own right to constitute a sufficient narrative thread, and I actually doubt that we are ever going to improve greatly on the simple perception regarding Madoff that his nature was inherently criminal.Read more ›
The book explains things in a way in which even someone who is finance and investment challenged can understand what is being said. Much of the book leaves the reader with just as many questions about Madoff and his Ponzi scheme, than answers, however, but I feel the book has been written to introduce us to Madoff and not give us definitive answers.
Accounts of the damage done to investors are numerous, jarring and saddening. I can more understand how individuals could be fooled by Madoff - ego plays a big role in what happened on both sides of the fraud. But, it is difficult for me to fathom how huge, agencies could be fooled, and for so long.
Court and other documents are published in the back of the book, which could only be understood by an attorney, most likely. Remarks by bloggers about the crime, Madoff and what should happen to him are published, and these are interesting.
This book is by no means the final word, or even a true journalistic look into the scheme and the perpetrator, but it is enlightening to someone like me, who has little understanding of the world of the ultra rich, finances and investing. I slowly began to understand what happened and how it happened. And, the book also gives readers a peak into the mind of the person who committed, ". . . the white-collar crime of the century."
If nothing else, this book is a good starting place to learn about the crime and the criminal.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I cant stand this selfish Immoral monster. I didn't like hearing about him and all the total life devastation he caused because
he wanted to live large without working for... Read more
The book is not what I expected. It is more a laundry list of the individuals and charities that Madoff ripped off. Read morePublished on June 26, 2013 by Don Wills
This book was very interesting to read. I received it in excellent condition. I bought this book to help with a fraud class I was taking at the time. It did help. Read morePublished on January 12, 2013 by kuhl
I "read" this book by listening to the audio version (free, from my local library!). The version I listened to had been updated to include Madoff's conviction and sentencing. Read morePublished on May 24, 2010 by Smith's Rock
It was thrown together in haste. It offers little critical thought and reads like an old newsmagazine. Read morePublished on March 2, 2010 by J. Mann
This book provides a concise view of the 1000s of documents, articles and reports related to the Madoff Swindle. Read morePublished on September 30, 2009 by KB
I was looking forward to receiving this book. What a complete disappointment! The first 60 pages are references to all kinds of people that are victims of Madoff. Read morePublished on July 24, 2009 by Zamoc
This book really reads like a supermarket checkout tract. That is to say, it is short on details, was rushed to market, and is very short (180 pages excluding appendices, with... Read morePublished on July 15, 2009 by Michael Callaghan
I was a bit skeptical about any book that comes out so soon after a major news event. So when I read Catastrophe I was prepared for it to be a bit rough around the edges ---... Read morePublished on July 11, 2009 by Robert Stinnett