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Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff Hardcover – August 11, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ms. Arvedlund...works hard to situate the Madoff mess within the larger framework of hedge-fund mania and the Wall Street recklessness that led to the fiscal cataclysms of 2008." ---The New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Erin Arvedlund is an investigative journalist who has written for Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TheStreet.com, and Portfolio.com. In 2001, she wrote the first skeptical article about Bernard Madoff for a major publication. This is her first book.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; First Edition edition (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842875
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842873
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
..if you followed all the news reports of Bernie Madoff (NY Times, Fortune, Vanity Fair). I wanted to read this book over the others because the author was a Barron's reporter who years ago suspected something was wrong, so if anything, she would be the most clear-eyed & in a better position to tell Madoff's story. It is a meticulously researched book, but much of what it covers has been covered by other news outlets. There are also some parts that became repetitive, namely the stories of how managers of each feeder fund perpetuated the fraud, as well as bits & pieces about Robert Jaffe (who is described in the book earlier & is re-described in a similar way towards the end). There were also some inconsistencies in the description of Ezra Merkin (on the same page that he is described as being scholarly, someone turns around & said that he never acted scholarly, a complete contradiction). There is a feeling that maybe this book had to be rushed to publication because of timeliness, & they did not do a good job of editing.

But to the author's credit, it is a long & complicated story to tell & she ultimately did a good job of presenting all the factors that contributed to the massive fraud. The part about SEC really exposed how incompetent the people there were, for whatever reason. What happened should serve as a guide for the SEC & other regulatory bodies on hiring experienced & knowledgeable people in the industry they're regulating, & not just paper pushers with law degrees.

This is probably as good as it gets, when it comes to trying to explain what happened in the Madoff scheme at this point in time. The only people who can tell the story better are Madoff himself, possibly DiPascali, Ruth, & other family members.
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Format: Hardcover
Erin Arvedlund brings a unique perspective to the Madoff story. The other Madoff books offer a collection of interviews, or are a re-hash of what we've all already read in the newspapers, or they're written by authors who have little connection to the story. Arvedlund's 2001 article "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in Barron's was the first attempt to "out" Madoff in a major publication. A Deutsche Bank executive tipped her off to his suspicions back in early 2001, and this led to that seminal Barron's article that could have led to Madoff's unraveling years earlier if more people had listened. She has years of history with the Madoff story, and that perspective shows.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms. Arvedlund did a fantastic job in laying out the history of Madoff's life, his inner circle of family and friends and their purported roles in his Ponzi scheme, and putting together the pieces of the puzzle as to how Madoff did it. Surprisingly lacking the fluff that some journalists and writers add in this media climate to try to hook their readers. Ms. Arvedlund thoroughly researched the information available and presented a logical and cogent explaination from an investigative journalist perspective on how his crimes were most likely effectuated.
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Format: Hardcover
With Bernie Madoff convicted and behind bars the deluge of books on him and his crimes can be unleashed. But considering the investigations into what became of the money lost and his co-conspirators any initial books are little more than a second draft of history, initial news coverage being the typical first draft of history. While these initial books may provide a considerable wealth of information on Madoff himself and what he did they will never be the complete story nor the final word on the subject. Witness the book Disconnected: Deceit and Betrayal at WorldCom, a book so rushed to publication it was out before WorldCom's Bernard Ebbers was even convicted. "Disconnected" shows the perils of rushing a book to publication to capitalize on a timely topic; in the rush to get it to market it's hardly a complete or nuanced story. "Too Good To Be True" is certainly far better written than "Disconnected" and sticks to presenting facts in a more objective manner, especially when compared to the gossipy tabloid style of Madoff with the Money, which also covers Madoff. Arved's background as a journalist shows through especially in their style of writing, making "Too Good To Be True" a satisfying read like any good novel. Arved was one of the first to question what Madoff was doing back in 2001 and has written a series of articles for a number of business magazines on the subject. My initial worry was this would be nothing more than a compendium of those stories, but instead Arved refashions them into a superior narrative that focuses more on the financial aspects.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic read, and very real depiction by Erin Averdlund - the lady who wrote the "Don't ask don't tell" Barron's article in '01. Take it from me (a person who's worked on Wall St in the institutional community almost 2 decades - and had a stint at BLM), she did her research and know's what's up! You won't regret this purchase, and will read it more than once.
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