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The Billionaire's Apprentice

The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund
Narrated by: Dan Woren
Length: 16 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Economics
4.5 out of 5 stars (119 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Just as WASPs, Irish-Catholics, and Our Crowd Jews once made the ascent from immigrants to powerbrokers, it is now the Indian-American's turn. Citigroup, PepsiCo, and Mastercard are just a handful of the Fortune 500 companies led by a group known as the "Twice Blessed". Yet little is known about how these Indian émigrés (and children of émigrés) rose through the ranks. Until now...

The collapse of the Galleon Group - a hedge fund that managed more than $7 billion in assets - from criminal charges of insider trading was a sensational case that pitted prosecutor Preet Bharara, himself the son of Indian immigrants, against the best and brightest of the South Asian business community. At the center of the case was self-described King of Kings, Galleon's founder Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan-born, Wharton-educated billionaire. But the most shocking allegation was that the éminence grise of Indian business, Rajat Gupta, was Rajaratnam's accomplice and mole. If not for Gupta's nose-to-the-grindstone rise to head up McKinsey & Co and a position on the Goldman Sachs board, men like Rajaratnam would have never made it to the top of America's moneyed elite.

Author Anita Raghavan crisscrosses the globe from Wall Street boardrooms to Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology as she uncovers the secrets of this subculture - an incredible tale of triumph, temptation and tragedy.

©2013 Anita Raghavan (P)2013 Hachette

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent investigative journalism, ugh narrator

Let me start with the book, first.This is great investigative journalism and reveals so much about investment-related crime, as well as some of the unique effects of our unrivaled access to the US economy as an immigrant community. Raghavan digs deep, is honest about her leaps of logic, and ties together her story in a way that is persuasive, that offers deep character insight, and is riveting to listen to. The major downside with the book is that the book is much, much less than it initially seems about the broad story of Indian-Americans or Indian-American wealth generation, and much, much more focused on the Rajaratnam and Gupta story. There is very little broad extrapolation or demographic analysis - it makes up well less than 5% of the book.

The biggest other negative about this rendition has to do with the narration. The narrator does really annoying (and often inaccurate) accents for all his Indian characters. At times this is really painful to listen to - for instance, he does all these accents but then mispronounces well known names of Indian cities. It's not just style - it's notable that he does no accents for the Europeans in the story - only the Indians. Particularly absurd is when he does an accent for Preet Bharara. Bharara grew up in the US, and has no accent. The narrator knows this, because it's in the book. And yet he gives Bharara a ridiculous accent. This is really offensive. I just don't want to throw Raghavan under the bus, because her book is fantastic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Utterly ridiculous performance

What would have made The Billionaire's Apprentice better?

Every time an Indian character speaks in this book, they are given a stupid imitation Indian accent. Even emails and instant messages by Indian characters get the same Saturday-night live treatment. You get a middle aged white guy spending the whole book putting on this stupid accent.

If the author countenanced this, it was an incredible mistake. Even if the intent was to honor the ethnic mannerisms of the characters, this approach overlooks that when one is reading, they don't assign characters any particular accent. Having to listen to this completely takes the reader out of the book.





4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narrator ruins the experience

What didn’t you like about Dan Woren’s performance?

Dan, for some strange reasons, decided to speak the lines of Indian characters in a made up accent. It sounds like a combination of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Apu from Simpsons. All the Indian characters sound exactly the same. It doesn't matter whether the Indian person was born and brought up in the USA. Every time Dan spoke in this weird accent I cringed. It killed the book for me. Unfortunately the sample didn't play his Arnold-Apu accent.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A myopic view of the scale of corruption and mocking narration of indian accents

The book seems like to be written for sole purpose of praising rajat gupta and demonizing rajaratnam. The book puts out a perspective which is dangerous and paints rajaratnam as wolf of wall street. Nobody can deny the crime, but for a crime of these proportions far too few people are punished.

Lastly the person who gave the voice over in audible is an “A grade asshole and an idiot” (please read with indian accent used all over the audible version) as he gave a mocking simpsons voice to every south asian in the book.

The audible version of the book deserves negative stars.

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the story of Indian immigrants living the American

This was a good story which preceded SAC Capital and Steven Cohen once you finish this book then check out Black Edge.

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The Indian Connection

Would you listen to The Billionaire's Apprentice again? Why?

No.I found it fantastic just listening to it once.

What did you like best about this story?

The writing was high fantastical. The characters, being real life, were depicted in such a way that I felt I was often reading fiction

Have you listened to any of Dan Woren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

NoBut I willHe was awesome

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, I learned a lot about McKinsey, and a whole world of consulting that havingfriends in that field I never understood.I had already learned a lot from Dark Edge about the intricacies of hedge funds. I remember reading Barbarian at the Gates decates ago, on vacation in Mexico. I couldn't put the book down, this book and
Black Edge show that when one has a fantastic writer, who is able to do research and get into the minds and hearts of his "characters" provides not only a griping story but also a
seminar on so many things, the SEC, the Feds, the traders,

Any additional comments?

This is a tragedy. But I learned a lot, although I had so much compassionfor Gupta.

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Long, boring, tedious

Wish this great story had been taken up by a better writer. Good story but written in a dull and tedious style.

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Fascinating Story--Well-told

Would you listen to The Billionaire's Apprentice again? Why?

No--I only listen to a book once. I have so many to listen to that I would not have time to re-listen.
Also, I find that when I listen to a book I comprehend so much more of it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Raj Gupta--I had just finished listening to a book about McKinsey, his former employer, and was fascinated by how such a successful and beloved person could have done what he did to get convicted.

Have you listened to any of Dan Woren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The convictions of the two major characters.

Any additional comments?

This book was so well-written that it "read" like a novel. The detail of how the Indian elite conquered business in the U.S., and how some of them fell, was fascinating. One of my favorite books from 2013.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful