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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Serpent on the Rock
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on February 22, 2015
It is a book that takes you behind the curtains of "investments" for one's retirement. I am not a big specialist on investment etc. and yet Kurt Eichenwald managed to keep me hooked on this book. I would love to believe these swindles can't happen again, but when you don't administer an exemplary punishment to the fat cats who swollowed the retirement money of the small citizens you know they will invent new mechanisms and new products to get even fatter.
3 people found this helpful
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on January 15, 2018
The average citizen has no idea of the corruption and fraud that occurred during this time. Once learning of this, the reader is astonished that punishment was so light...even, some of these crooks avoided punishment completely! Frankly, I doubt that a lesson was learned from this; yet, there may be a few grains of hope.
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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.
9 people found this helpful
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on February 16, 2016
A startling account of greed and avarice and the sociopathic thinking of people who put other's financial lives in ruin.
A non-stop read written with detail and excitement. If one is a novice investor this is a must read. For those of you who are sophisticated in the ways of the financial world, this book will not be a surprise, although still unsettling .
2 people found this helpful
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on September 26, 2017
Great book. Reads like a novel. Could not put it down. 5 star book. Don't base it on the movie. The movie was no where close to how great this book is.
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on June 17, 2015
Serpent on the Rock is a fast-paced read with loads of intrigue where every word written by Eichenwald counts. Each paragraph drives the reader to keep going to find out what happens next. Want to know how these guys at Prudential-Bache operate and how they think? Read this book.
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"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).
25 people found this helpful
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on August 14, 2015
a riveting account of shameless greed, crime and fleecing Mom and Pop investors.
Eichenwald is a master storyteller
One person found this helpful
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on April 4, 2016
Well paced story that is too crazy not to be real.
Eichenwald spins a great yarn with many villains and hope that there may be comeuppance, though any who know wall street know how it will end.
2 people found this helpful
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on October 7, 2014
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