Ponzi may have been a charlatan, but he was also a wonderfully likable man. His intentions were noble, his manners impeccable, his sales pitch enchanting. Born to a genteel Italian family, he immigrated to the United States with big dreams but no money. Only after he became hopelessly enamored of a stenographer named Rose Gnecco and persuaded her to marry him did Ponzi light on the means to make his dreams come true. His true motive was not greed but love.
With rich narrative skill, Mitchell Zuckoff conjures up the feverish atmosphere of Boston during the weeks when Ponzi's bubble grew bigger and bigger. At the peak of his success, Ponzi was taking in more than $2 million a week. And then his house of cards came crashing down, thanks in large part to the relentless investigative reporting of Richard Grozier's Boston Post.
In Zuckoff's hands, Ponzi is no mere swindler; instead he is appealing and magnetic, a colorful and poignant figure, someone who struggled his whole life to attain great wealth and who sincerely believed, to the very end, that he could have made good on his investment promises if only he'd had enough time. Ponzi is a classic American tale of immigrant life and the dream of success, and the unexpectedly moving story of a man who, for a fleeting, illusory moment, attained it all.
©2005 Mitchell Zuckoff; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.
"Zuckoff...tells Ponzi's story amicably and briskly, and keeps the complicated financial intricacies understandable." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Zuckoff's biography of Ponzi is meticulously accurate, based on memoirs and newspaper accounts of the day, weaving the story of the rise of this small-time Italian immigrant with that of Richard Grozier, second-generation editor of the Boston Post." (Booklist)
The way Mitchell Zuckoff takes these characters who you believe to be secondary or tertiary in nature to the story and develps them as if they were major players. The research that was presented in the book was scrupulousw and masterful. It takes you from having Ponzi being a poor immigrant bon-vivant with dreams and ambitions much larger than life to an enterprising businessman/scoundrel that still has a heart of gold. I still don't understand his donation of skin to someone he did not know... almost as if he was buying "postal coupons" for heaven. All I had heard or read about Ponzi to date has been negative, this book opened up a human window into the person.
The reporters and editors of the Post, who believed enough on themselves to risk embarrassment and finacial ruin exposing Ponzi.
Ponzi discovering the International Postal reply coupons and the follow up scheme.
If there was, I suppose the arrival of Ponzi's mom at Boston.
An excellent, well researched book Thank you Mr. Zuckoff.
I found this book to be VERY interesting and like Ponzi thru out the book. I only wish the story was longer. It was a good way to learn about the man, and frankly I liked him very much.
Story of Ponzi's life is well told, if maybe too briefly, before and after the main days of his Scheme. In the midst of the craziness of the Scheme, when hundreds of thousands of dollars are flowing into Ponzi's company, the author does a very good job of reconstructing. He carries us along as each of the players involved converged on Ponzi's ultimate downfall. As for Ponzi, he was oddly unaware of the harm he was causing. From this author's telling, he could see moral problems in some areas of his and other's lives, but not as much with his Scheme.
I was completely fascinated from start to finish. What a great tale. I will never hear "Ponzi scheme" the same way again.
This book was such a good read. I really didn't know what to expect, you actually feel quite sorry for Ponzi in the end. He had such good intentions, but you know what they say about "good intentions".
From start to finish I just couldn't put this book down.
I always like reading about how certain phrases or actions get into society. This one was very intriguing and at times I felt sorry for Ponzi. He started out with honest motives but got in over his head. An interesting story that puts a friendly face on one of the most ridiculed ways of thievery.
What a fun book to listen to! It's hard to believe that people in the 20's were that gullible. But, given all the TARP money that Washington has handed out, maybe we haven't changed that much. I actually liked Charles Ponzi at the end of the book....
This book is excellent. As this book provides the color of the 1900 - 1920's in Boston, it provides an entertaining account of the flawed optimist Charles Ponzi rags to riches to rags story. Nicely written and well read.
This is the type of publication that is perfect as an audiobook. The author tells the facts about Ponzi, in a way that makes it as entertaining and dramatic as good fiction. There?s a lot of material on the subject of Ponzi and Boston in the 20?s, and I?m sure some of it could have been left out without compromising the book. But it is an entertaining insight in the man, Ponzi, and in the mechanisms that lead to the dramatic end of the story.
Say something about yourself!
The first book I read by Mr. Zuckoff was "13 Hours in Benghazi." By coincidence I next read "Lost in Shangri-La." I then picked up a third book entitles "Frozen in Time." It was at this point I look at the author's name and realize that I had just read three of Zuckoff's books in succession... by accident. He is a wonderful writer and is able to bring which story to life in a way that is rather poetic. His work flows from one chapter to the next and makes you want to continue on in discovery of what comes next. When starting this latest book "Ponzi's Scheme," I was wondering how he could possibly hit 4 home runs in a row. Well, he didi. I listen to the book in less than 3 days, sometimes repeating chapters because of so much information. I can't wait to see what he releases next. In a very short time, he has become one of my top 3 authors. Bravo. and very well done.
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