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)
Having heard of a Ponzi Scheme nearly all my life, it was very, very interesting to find out where and how it all started (and ended). This certainly falls into the "...it seemed like a good idea at the time..." category. I enjoyed this book very much.
I have seldom enjoyed a book more, and Grover Gardner's reading as always is the best! An inciteful look at the 20's and at the shambles that was (and still is?) Boston politics.
What does this book have going for it? It has a great narrator & a brisk style of writing. What does this book have going against it? Alot of extraneous material shoved in to make it thicker, a fairly despicable main character who is painted somewhat sympathetically by the author, a relatively simple-minded fraud (unlike two other books on tape I have recently listened to off of Audible -- on Enron & on LTCM) that does not have enough finance intricacy to be of significant interest. Oh, I should say that the book is probably worth reading just so you know where the term Ponzi scheme came from. I am sorry that I am not more enthusiastic about it.
About the second or thrid best book I've listened to.
It is hard not to sympathize with Charles Ponzi, who had a brilliant idea put forgot to put the paperwork in the mail. And forgot to do the real work too. But by selling his efforts as "Helping the little man", became everyone's hero.
His reading speed is brilliant, and the subtle way in which he emphasizes important quotes makes listening very easy and entertaining.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. The author doesn't overdo the coverage on any part of Ponzi's life, or spend time going over pointless antidotes that don't serve the purpose of illustrating either a pivotal moment or the character of Ponzi. As a result, the story moves along at a really nice pace and is never too slow or boring.
The narration was also really good - as good as it gets in my opinion. Some narrators are really boring to listen to, but this guy (Grover Gardner) did such a great job I felt that his narration added to the interest of the story. Some narrators sound like they just got woken up from a nap to do a reading, but Gardner's treatment is upbeat and lively.
I felt listening to this book was time well spent and worth the purchase/credit.
A truly fascinating story that is set up very well by the author in order to have the reader understand the context of how Ponzi could coordinate such a scheme(scam). There is a bit more information than is necessary, like the entire college history of who turns out to be the main antagonist, but it was worth it in the end. This is moxie beyond imagination........
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.
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