From the earliest financial scams of the 17th century, through the headline-grabbing Wall Street scandals of our times, History of Greed provides a comprehensive history of financial fraud. In it, David E. Y. Sarna exposes the true and often riveting stories of how both naive and sophisticated investors alike were fooled by unscrupulous entrepreneurs, lawyers, hedge-fund managers, CPAs, Texas billionaires, political fundraisers, music managers, financial advisers, and even former Mossad agents.
From the people behind the financial fraud and how they did it to why people continually fall prey to scam artists, Sarna outlines what actions you can take today to protect yourself from becoming the victim of tomorrow's "too good to be true" investment opportunity. History of Greed details how markets are manipulated, books are cooked, Ponzi schemes are hatched, and how the government only closes the barn door once the cows have all escaped.
©2010 David E.Y. Sarna (P)2010 Audible, Inc
"If you're bent on becoming the next Bernie Madoff, these profiles in greed form a veritable guidebook on how to build your own financial weapon of mass destruction." (Bloomberg)
"A comprehensive review of what has happened to us in our financial markets over and over and over and over again. It's an important history, written with wit and delivered with wisdom. Undoubtedly, History of Greed will become required reading for anyone serious about understanding the capital markets." (Frederick L. Gorsetman, Founder and Managing Member, Oxbridge Financial Group, LLC)
I wouldn't call this a page-turner. Often it read like a series of newspaper articles. But, I have a fascination for fraud tales, and a legal background, and I really clicked with its thoroughness in describing the schemes, and also the procedural details of the "crime and punishment" side of the stories. I like the combo of enough story and enough technical detail to be satisfying on both fronts. The stories are not an exhaustive review of frauds from tulip days to Madoffs'. The narrative skips across big stretches of history and quickly lands in modern times. But there is no lack of lurid fraud schemes in recent years -- the most famous are here. The Madoff aftermath story was not completed as of this publication -- "The Wizard of Lies" audiobook goes deeper in detail and gives a more updated story of that. All in all, though, I am very satisfied with this book.
My reading and listening tastes are eclectic.
This was a great listen, and you will want to be able to re-listen to parts of this book. Sometimes it is information dense, and I found I needed to re-listen to that part to get all the information. It was very educational on the way greed works on the corporate level.
The author seems to have been under an irresistible urge to get this published in the midst of Bernard Madoff scandal. The half of the book devoted to that particular exhibition of greed is full of suggestion and innuendo but little substantial fact. It was written before charges were settled or investigative information publically disclosed. Needless to say, years later it reads like a newspaper story of the time, not a considered review of the final outcome. I did not find this major section of the book to be illuminating or even-handed.
The rest of the book, however, was what I was hoping for. While certainly not inclusive of all financial frauds, it was illustrative of the kind of frauds that can be successfully implemented. Anyone who thinks they can spot a "great investment opportunity" ought to read through the sad experiences of the past.
There was a distracting onslaught of case numbers and websites, which can be quickly skimmed in a paper book but grated on my ear in audio form. The author seemed to be under the misapprehension that anonymous bloggers have as much credibility as respected journalists.
The narrator was not a good choice for this book. He mispronounced company and individual names - demonstrating a lack of familiarity with the financial world.
I would love to find a good book that delivers what this volume advertises – a history of fraud and greed throughout history.
The facts are put forward well but the story would run smother without all the case numbers and bits of trivia that only becomes useful as a written reference, not when heard.
If the narrator was less boring.
I felt this book was not sold to me correctly. It focuses on the recent crisis, which is not surprise, but it does not really tell me the historical gems that I would like to know from a story that purports to tell stories of greed across human history.
Yes. I would have a better feel for who is at fault, the author or the reader.
A disappointing book. Instead of the measured history of financial fraud I was expecting, this work focuses on a simplistic "shocked" approach to modern events and reads history in their light rather than on appropriate contemporary terms. If you're looking just for reassurance that you have a right to feel affronted, then this book will give it. If you're looking for actual understanding, seek elsewhere.
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