It was a good reminder for those who lived through the 2008 crisis. For those who didn't pay much attention I believe it would still be a worthwhile listen. Its told in a manner that doesn't require much knowledge about the finance industry but for those who do have it you really get what Harry's saying.
Lots of jaw dropping while listening to the book on the train.
This book is a great practical primer on why regulation in its current state is inadequate--the author would say inept--and presents a compelling argument for the introduction of quantitative methods as part of a the investigative process. The author names names and outs the people who had the Madoff fiasco handed to them, only to find a reason not to pursue it. It is a shocking and credible account of the subtleties of professional motivation on the part of regulators who, assuming they do not screw up too badly at the Commission, find themselves lucrative positions as compliance officers at the companies they once regulated.
Be warned. This is a 13 hour book. At times, it seems like there is a great bottle of wine trapped in a giant vat of sticks seeds and skins...it really needs to be filtered. In fact, this is perhaps the most poorly edited book on the financial crisis I have read to date, and I have read a dozen or more. You might consider waiting for the abridged version, which I can't believe will be more than 6 hours.
Don't you just love a great story well told?
This TRUE STORY is of one very bright guy who EASILY figured out Bernie Madoff was a Ponzi schemer. He also explains how anyone with simple market knowledge could have proved that fact.
Hear to the anguish of a man who tried valiantly to stop a the financial Titanic that was Madoff before he hit the "iceberg".
This story of incredible government incompetence should be read as ammo for letters written to your federal congressmen and women.
There is other narration to give voice to e-mails exchanged.
The scary thing is that, in spite of this ONE massive fraud falling apart business as usual continues! 1) The story gives insight into the amazingly clever / complex devices ingenious investors continually concoct.
The problem we, John/Jane. Q. Public depend on the government to check those firms. Here, the market was essentially unregulated by a lame S.E.C. (How lame? Read and be shocked.) For those who think all regulation is bad this book will give you shivers about your ostensibly SAFE "funds". (Well, all but T-Bills and Certificates of Deposit)
The author has common sense suggestions to fix a very broken system. Read, write or call and get the system fixed. ONLY THEN will your $$$$$ FINALLY be truly safe from investors who gamble on ever more complex financial "products." Right now you have just the luck of the market with no guarantee that your firm is even honest.
Teensy gripe: The editor and/or writer endlessly attempt to amuse with metaphors for the inability of the Security Exchange Commission to find ANYTHING. It stops being funny after the 6th, 7th, 10th, one. Sheesh, a better editor might have cut them to half and keeping the funniest.
It is interesting to read this book in light of the recent Gulf oil spill and Minerals Management Service (MMS) incompetence. I see similar parallels. Maybe there will be a similar book on MMS. As a former Fed Gov employee at the Dept of Interior (I escaped after 3 years), I am not totally surprised at the SEC problems which is one of the main ideas in this book. It is much worse to have incompetent government agencies that APPEAR to be regulating some industry, and just like the Gulf oil spill - find out they don't do their job. So I'm always left to wonder why everyone seems to have so much faith in government and appears to want to give government more and more responsibility. I wish everyone could have a summer job of working for a government agency - I think the political landscape would change for the better. Many of the issues the author brings to light at the SEC were the same issues at the Fed agency I worked. I think this is a good book (but not a masterpiece) and I recommend it.
There's a good story here, but so repetitious. I get that he is bright, his motives are true and yes he deserves lots of credit for trying to expose this crook, but halfway through the book I'm thinking perhaps there's a reason no one would listen to him. He is admittedly eccentric, possibly comes across in real life as a bit of a crank, and the world tends to not take such people seriously, which in this case is a shame, and a very expensive one.
I enjoyed this book. I want my children to listen and understand not to buy into any else's crap. Some parts are a bit repetitive but I didn't care - it would be frustrating to keep blowing the horn to warn the authorities and the people who are supposed to protect us couldn't care less. I found it fascinating.
The first half of this book is great. You learn alot you did not already know if you've been keeping up with the Madoff scandal. But the second half is repetitive as the author relentlessly complains about the SEC.
The book was interesting, but far from a thriller. When I purchased it, I had envisioned the tobacco whistler blower scenario. Not even close. The Author and Madoff had no connection at all. He stretches and equates a death of someone unconnected to him to his fear of being found out by Madoff and being "knocked off." But it really doesn't equal a fear factor to this reader. The author gave up absoutely nothing for this "whistle blower" activity. He quit his job and decided to become a whistler blower. He did not lose his family, house, car, friends or anything, especially money, that would make me feel he had any fear in his life. While there might have really been some, I don't think it came through in the reading of this book. The only thing that happened was he made money off of Madoff's scheme. A little ironic isn't it.
It is worth listening to this if you are looking to understand the depth of incompetence and even potential corruption in government and finance. It is the story of Bernie Madoff and how Harry Markopolos discovered his fraud, tried to report it, and was nearly completely ignored by everyone. Had Markopolos been listened to early on, billions of dollars would have been saved and lives saved as well. But alas, neither the so-called smartest investors nor the Security Exchange Commission took him seriously.
So far so good for this book. But it was more a "look at me" by Markopolos than a "look at him" about Madoff. I'm glad Markopolos wrote it but it would have been a far better book with considerable editing.