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No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller is exactly what the title promises. This is more than another book about the Bernie Madoff scandal, this is a fast-paced, blow-by-blow, true-crime story that you have to hear to believe. In a true David and Goliath tale, the underdog number cruncher uncovers the largest financial fraud in history, and has to fight everything and everyone in the system to bring it down. Harry Markopolos and his team of financial sleuths tell first-hand how they cracked Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme yet, amazingly, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) refused to hear the truth for nearly 10 years. Told from the perspective of the ultimate whistleblower in modern corporate memory, No One Would Listen is bound to be the definitive narrative of this scandal.
This special edition includes an exclusive 10th chapter available only in audio, featuring testimony from three victims of the Madoff scheme who came in to the Audible studios to share their shocking and heartbreaking stories. In addition, David Kotz, the Inspector General of the SEC, speaks candidly about his investigation. Throughout the audiobook, you’ll also hear scathing commentary from congressional leaders on the blatant failures of the commission. No One Would Listen is more than an audiobook. It's a lasting audio testament to the largest white-collar crime in history.
The Securities and Exchange Commission disclaims responsibility for any private publication or statement of any SEC employee or Commissioner. This audiobook expresses the author's views and does not necessarily reflect those of the Commission, the Commissioners, or other members of the staff.
Click here to listen to Dr. Gaytri Kachroo's speech to the World Legal Forum.
The story of Bernie Madoff's ponzie scheme is truly remarkable. The ability of one guy to single handedly steal billions of dollars from innocent people in broad daylight is an amazing feat, but even more amazing was the ignorance of the SEC, the organization that's sole purpose is to protect investors.
For the first half of the book I was amazed by the way the SEC kept shunning Markopolos' attempts to investigate Madoff's company, but as I listened more I began to understand a little better why they may have responded like they did. Markopolos is just a little too sure of himself, and as the book progressed he began to get annoying. He loved to use "clever" little phrases throughout the book, like "they couldn't find a batter in the batter's box", "they couldn't find a steer in a stampede", "it was like trying to reign in a beehive with a chainlink fence", or "they pay peanuts and wonder why they wound up with so many monkeys". A few of these phrases scattered throughout the book would have been great, but they were used non-stop throughout the book, and I could just visualize Markopolos beaming with pride each time he dropped one, especially when it was to blast the SEC.
If you aren't familiar with this story, this audiobook will be very intriguing to you. The time passed very quickly and the book didn't ever drag on. I just became increasingly annoyed with the author towards the end of the story.
75 of 79 people found this review helpful
Everyone knows what a ?*&% / Bernie Madoff was, but how many people know that most of the damage he did could have been prevented by a simple phone call from the SEC to verify his trades several years before, and some 55 billion dollars before, his collapse? The incompetence of the SEC is legend. They simply refused to even consider so much as asking a question about the legality of what Madoff was doing. The question that comes to my mind is what WERE they doing with their time, if it wasn't investigating things like this? Wasn't that their job description? Although Madoff was the biggest fish, there were many other crooks that they also ignored. Maybe a better word would be 'protected' because that is what they were doing, protecting the bad guys from their investors - the exact opposite of what they had been hired to do.
Having once been Securities licensed myself, this book was all the more interesting to me. I know a little of what goes on in the world of finance, and in fact was burned myself to the point that I just don't want anything to do with it. That is probably not a good place to be either, but it is tough to have some dishonest person effect the quality of the rest of your life. Luckily I didn't lose everything as so many of these investors did, but I will be paying for my mistake of trusting someone who seemed so good and who turned out to be a crook for the rest of my life. I wept when I heard the stories of some of these people. Hell is too good a place for people like Bernie Madoff.
This book reads like a novel. The legendary Scott Brick is a fine narrator. There were times throughout the recording that the real voices of participants were heard, which made it so authentic, but also reminded me why most authors don't read their own works. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in finance, or in bringing bad guys to justice. It was ultimately satisfying to see that justice was done. This country owes a huge debt to Harry Markopolos and his team (who were never paid for their work in bringing Madoff down) for hanging in there when it would have been so easy to quit. Thanks to them, the whole SEC is restructured and re-staffed. I hope the people at the SEC today are doing their jobs the way they should be done.
25 of 26 people found this review helpful
It could be subtitled "Markopolis versus the SEC."
This isn't a book about how Bernie Madoff pulled off his scheme, his successes and his failures. If this were fiction, Madoff would be a macguffin---a peripheral character to drive the plot of the real story, which is Harry Markopolis' investigation of Madoff and the SEC's ongoing failure to stop him.
Harry Markopolis was tasked by his employers to figure out how Bernie Madoff's strategy could be so successful (so they could imitate it). The more Harry dug, the more he realized that the whole thing had to be a fraud. He brought this to the attention of the SEC, who promptly allowed Madoff to continue right along. This started an 8-year fight in which Markopolis kept learning more about Madoff and kept trying to get the SEC to shut him down...then (after Madoff turned himself in) became Markopolis' crusade for reforming the SEC.
My biggest complaint---and it is a big one---is that Markopolis' autobiography (which is what this is) is very self-congratulatory in tone. He spends a good deal of time telling us about his brilliance and the SEC's incompetence. All in all, I think it could have used trimming, which is why it only gets 3 stars in my book.
I like Scott Brick as a reader in general, and I definitely liked his reading of this book. He did a very good job capturing Markopolis' frustration and snark. At several points, Markopolis and some of his colleagues read their emails themselves....didn't really add much. Several investors gave their first-person testimony at the end of the book...that was interesting, although, it was too much and an edit was needed.
64 of 68 people found this review helpful
This book could have been shorter by half. As what Harry Makopolos calls "my team" discovered the Ponzi scheme and used math skills plus financial-industry contacts to assemble proofs I was enthralled. Then, as he waited and fumed because "No One Would Listen" I began to understand which of his personality traits made people disinclined to join his crusade. I started to regret downloading the second half of the book and Harry finally lost me completely when he assembled an arsenal to shoot at the SEC while admitting employees of said agency don't carry firearms. I felt he worked too hard to add tension to what was already a sufficiently dramatic true story.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I am not normally a fan of Scott Brick, for me, he too often makes it sound as if he's reading a dirty book. Which is fine when it is a mucky book, not if its not.
I do know that Scott Brick is talented and enunciates very well, you can always hear every word.
He's got this just right.
The book is shocking, detailed and frightening. How could we all have been so stupid? Greenspan was not the hero he was puffed up to be.
If you've ANY money in the bank, this book is for you. If you haven't any money, this is even more for you. Scary......
Scott Brick did a great job, well done.
77 of 84 people found this review helpful
I found both the book and the audio to be so compelling that I looked for opportunities to do other things while I listened. This financial thriller was so good that I finally gave up trying to do anything else and just sat down with my iPod to listen.
No One Would Listen is the story of Markopolos and three others, who figured out as early as 1999 that the highly respected Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, ultimately cheating investors out of more than 60 billion dollars. The fascinating thing about his story is that on three different occasions, in 2000, 2001, and again in 2005, Markopolos provided detailed documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proving his case against Madoff. Each time Markopolos was ignored.
Markopolos tells how he was frightened by the possibility that either the mob or, after Madoff was arrested in December 2008, the federal government would attempt to murder him because of what he knew. The reader, in his or her more rational mindset, would be right to believe that Markopolos might have exaggerated this danger to himself. But then again, when either billions of dollars are involved (in the case of the mob) or massive embarrassment is involved (in the case of the S.E.C.), one may excuse Mr. Markopolos for his paranoia.
For those who like to read either finance or thrillers, No One Would Listen is the perfect amalgamation. Listening to the audio version is especially a luxury, with Scott Brick doing a masterful job of reading the story. The audio editors must have thought it would be helpful to have other readers handle the email portions. These portions, however, I found amateurish and distracting. However, near the end of the book, the audio book also includes the scathing comments by Rep. Gary Ackerman (in his own voice) during the SEC interview at the Madoff-SEC Congressional hearing. This was compelling after having listened to the Markopolos story.
49 of 54 people found this review helpful
The book lacks tight editing. It's not a literary masterpiece. But the story is compelling and it accurately describes one of the common environments that allows Ponzi schemes to grow. The book is essentially a warning to all and sundry that the SEC is useless and that the financial industry is full of crooks and sharp practices. Some reviewers here have complained that Harry is annoying and that's probably why people wouldn't listen to him. People always want to blame the messenger. He does come off as a genuine person with his own personality, even a possible dose of paranoia, but the dangers were real, and living with them for years has to change you after awhile. Ponzi schemes thrive because greed, self interest, pride, sociopaths and unjustified trust exist in a completely inadequately regulated financial environment. Is there any way to control them? Why do people fall for them? Why do people run them when they know they will always fail in the end? Why won't regulators do their duty? If you like exploring these sorts of questions you will love this book. It won't give you all the answers, but it gives a few, and the answers it gives are very real.
28 of 31 people found this review helpful
This was a great listen, I cant believe the effort Harry Markopolos went to, to expose Bernie Madoff. The money and potential investors that could have been saved is astounding.
That the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to discover the fraud even though they were given this information is incredulous and should be frightening to all investors in this country and abroad. The financial system has still not been fixed and we have a real danger of having another collapse in the near future. This will be the case as long as the only guiding incentive is GREED.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
A great listen! Scott Brick puts the perfect vocal spin on this true life story of the man who found an emperor with no clothes back in 1999. Sadly, everyone else had blindfolds on. Markopolos rips the SEC apart at least 50 times in this book - it gets a bit old hearing "they couldn't find a steer in a stampede" and similar comparisons over and over again. I didn't care for the real-person email reading, but overall this is a one-of-a-kind story that is about some amazing U.S. history and the power of a government agency to be completely useless.
23 of 26 people found this review helpful
Life is stranger than fiction--or in this case--more tragic. Through this book you will learn about the largest Ponzi scheme in history; those who tried to stop it; how the SEC didn't give a damn, over and over again; and how lives were changed forever, including the author.
But, in the end, it is about the triumph of good men, ethical men who had the fortitude to be believe in what is right. Markopolos, his team, and those who finally listened are true American heroes.
The book is well read by Scott Brick and others, although, I did not see the need for the others. Previously, I've found Brick to be melancholic at times; here, he is a good fit for the tone and message. (Perhaps Demille was the ghost writer.) I enjoyed listening to Brick. I would recommend this book to anyone, including those like myself who know little about the banking industry.
In the end you may ask yourself, so why does the SEC exist, and are we really protected from this happening again? Moreover, why the heck aren't more people pissed off and shouting at the SEC demanding to know why they failed to do their job?
It is a great read. Go ahead, get it now.
27 of 31 people found this review helpful
I'm honestly not sure why I even bought this - I have so little knowledge, understanding and interest in the financial markets that I hadn't even heard of this ponzi scheme before - but I loved this audiobook.
I found the story utterly absorbing - the narrator was easy to listen to and the financial products, markets and institutions were explained clearly and in a way that I could follow and understand. I went from a complete lack of interest in the subject matter to being rather sad to reach the end.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
A thriller in terms of the effect on the financial markets rather than for heart-stopping action.
For anyone interested in how the largest financial fraud ever succeeded for such a long period of time, this book provides fascinating insight into a small group who uncover the Madoff ponzi scheme and their attempts to bring this to the attention of the SEC so as to have Madoff investigated and the scheme shut down. The aftermath of the scheme is examined including the actual testimonies and the effect on investors.
The story is retold in a fairly dry style which suits the content and does well to avoid an 'I told you so' stance from colouring the material or annoying the audience; isn't likely to entice casual listeners, however if you have a particular interest in financial markets in the aftermath of the 'credit crunch' debacle, you'll enjoy it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Many years ago I was told by someone who I admired that laws alone will not help you.
For any good law to work you have to know how it applies to the circumstances:
✴ Elements of the law applied to the;
✳ evidence; and
✳. someone to prosecute the case.
Without all of the above your laws are worthless.
This is also a fine example why mixed economies work better than pure market based economies.
Great book, sad story that no one would listen for all the people involved. Insightful and humerous.
Where does No One Would Listen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This book had me hooked 75% of the way through. The ending was a little bit of a let down, and I have to admit I skipped through a little. It just seemed to not go anywhere once the story had climaxed. Having said that I would still recommend it, as it was an excellent story that I thoroughly enjoyed until close to the end.
Any additional comments?
Amazing to think that someone could get away with such a crime when the facts were so well laid out by Harry Markopolos, and so plain to see for everyone else.