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American Sucker

3.01 of 5 stars 3.01  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Denby's writing has made him one of the country's most sought-after critics, and "Great Books" was a "New York Times" bestseller. Here Denby tells the story not only of his own decline, but of his new friends Sam Waksal, indicted founder of ImClone, and Henry Blodgett, disgraced analyst for Merrill Lynch.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 12th 2004 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2004)
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Jay Hinman
I pulled this unread hardcover book from 2003, bought on remainder maybe ten years ago, out of my garage stash of unread books and read all 300+ pages in two sittings. David Denby is to this day the film critic at the New Yorker, and his autobiographical account of his (and our) stock market mania during the late 90s/early 00s dotcom boom ended up being far better than I anticipated. There’s probably a reason I’m so drawn to books about capitalism gone mad; I’ll snap up books about Enron and Ber...more
Stephen Gallup
Jul 14, 2008 Stephen Gallup rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone planning to beat the odds
This memoir is actually a useful history of the infamous tech-stock bubble of 1999-2000, as told by one of the more enthusiastic participants. I too was involved back then -- I had some of the same mentors and was invested in some of the same stocks -- so I felt almost as if the author were talking about me. Fortunately, I didn't have as much on the line as he did, but the differences between him and me, and all the others involved, were just a matter of degree.

The personal story he tells is fai...more
Bookmarks Magazine

"[N]obody really wants to read about his own foolishness," notes the Wall Street Journal. "Or write about it." Except Denby. How did this smart man (and author of Great Books) become a half-witted speculator? Denby, simultaneously whiny, pedantic, and giddy as befits the boom and bust cycle he recounts, charts his personal transformation. At best, American Sucker is an honest, well-written memoir about marriage, professional responsibility, and love and loss--even if his attempt to grapple with

David Denby is a film critic who has worked at The New York Magazine and at The New Yorker. In early 1999, when he was 56, his wife, a novelist by occupation, told him that she wanted to divorce him. They owned a 7-room apartment in Manhattan that was worth $1.3 million. What they should have done was sell the apartment, split the proceeds, and move into smaller apartments in less glamorous places. However, Denby was so sentimentally attached to this apartment that he decided to make money on th...more
david denby, the market forces, and a cautionary tale. a serious snapshot of time and place: america at the turn of the millennium -- worth reading and interestingly a bit self-righteous in parts, small parts. which only adds to the human voice of the telling. overall, however, he is reviewing in real terms what happened to the stock market bubble of the beginning of the millennium. and he gives plenty of details and draws accurate conclusions. and it is reasonable to see THIS book as prophet fo...more
I guess I was expecting this book to be something totally different. From the description, I expected it to be more a memoir of the unraveling of a marriage and the financial lengths Denby went to trying to drum up the money to save his apartment. Which it was -- but only after lengthy discussions of the stock market tech bubble of 2000-01. Frankly, most of this book was about as interesting as reading the stock pages, which is not something I'm interested in. Issues such as his divorce, his rel...more
This was truly a brave account of one man's failure in the stock market. Moving all of his family's money into the Nasdaq tech bubble to try and but out his apartment during his divorce, Denby delves into the psychology of investing for the individual and explores some of the main players in the Wall Street scandals during that time. Using his influence as a writer for the New Yorker, Denby was able to interact with a number of Wall Street "hotshots" and follow their rise and fall. A very honest...more
David Denby is one angry man. In this mostly "one note" rant, Denby chronicles how he lost (on paper) almost a million dollars during the tech stock bubble and burst. His memoir makes him come off as a very unlikable man. It is somewhat interesting to read about his life in the stock market in the early 2000's given what is going on in the world of banking and finance today. His chronicle of his history with and the downfall of Sam Waskal is intriguing.
The dot-com bubble burst seems so quaint now, but at the time it was a big deal. And Denby does a good job of putting you inside the irrational exuberance of the time.
It's rare that someone writes a book about an incredibly stupid thing they did. That is primarily what David Denby did, and I was glad to learn from his mistakes!
If only there were a Pulitzer for self-impressed obliviousness. He congratulates himself for recognizing 9/11 as a tragedy.
I never got through this, finally returned it to the library basically unread.
Dan Piette
Trying to make a million in the new economy.
Oct 08, 2009 Damika marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't finish. :-( Maybe another time.
How to lose money in the last economy.
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Oct 19, 2014
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