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Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  30,805 Ratings  ·  1,517 Reviews
I stole every nickel and blew it on fine threads, luxurious lodgings, fantastic foxes and other sensual goodies. I partied in every capital in Europe and basked on all the world's most famous beaches'. Frank W Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams and Ringo Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters and escape artists in history. In ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 23rd 2003 by Mainstream Publishing (first published 1980)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 20, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing
"What I learned from this book," Goodreads asks? That "con man" really does mean "confidence man": the more you act like you deserve something, the more likely you are to get it.

A precocious child who devised clever modes of personal gain, Frank A. grew into an even smarter man. He faked college degrees, professional affiliations, career histories - pretty much everything, including his name. Without any relevant schooling, throughout his life he "was" (meaning he successfuly convinced people h
May 16, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is honestly the best book I have read in a long time. It's one of the few that I couldn't put down and had to know what was going to happen next. I know I had already seen the movie, but the book was better. I was disappointed to find out that the movie was actually a watered-down version of the story, and that the events were shuffled around and sometimes completely made up to go along with the flow of the movie. The actual story is much harsher and emotional, and there is really no cat-an ...more
Misericordia ❣
Apr 02, 2016 Misericordia ❣ rated it it was amazing
One of the New York cops who’d worked hardest to catch me read the report and snorted. “This head doctor’s gotta be kiddin‘ us,” he scoffed. “This phony rips off several hundred banks, hustles
half the hotels in the world for everything but the sheets, screws every airline in the skies, including most of their stewardesses, passes enough bad checks to paper the walls of the Pentagon, runs his own goddamned colleges and universities, makes half the cops in twenty countries look like dumbasses w
Gary Taylor
Mar 10, 2009 Gary Taylor rated it it was ok
Although I knew the ghostwriter, Stan Redding, as far back as the 1970s and in the 1980s when this shot to the top of the bestseller lists, I never sat down to read it until 2008. When I was done, I couldn't understand the fuss. I've had to chalk it up to the tenor of the times, in which any sort of true confession like Abagnale's would seem a revelation. In addition, I am sure the excitement of such an accomplished, child-prodigy con artist overshadowed the omission of some elements I would hav ...more
«–Podrías estafar a tu propio padre, Frank.
Ya lo hice.»

Qué decepción me llevé con este libro. Creí que iba a ser como la película, o incluso algo similar a la serie White Collar, pero la realidad fue otra y lo que encontré no me gustó.
Esta es una novela de crímenes reales, supuestamente basada en la vida de un estafador. El problema es que terminé por no creerle el 90% de lo que contaba. Sobre el otro 10%, espero de verdad que no sea cierto, porque sino Frank Abagnale ya se ganó una cálida p
Tom Germain
Feb 06, 2011 Tom Germain rated it really liked it
This is the true crime book that inspired the fun movie starring DiCaprio and Hanks. Truly amazing what Abagnale, a guy who never finished high school, got away with, such as impersonating an airline pilot, a lawyer and a teacher...and all at a very young age. Sometimes the veracity of his claims may be in doubt, as after all, he was a con man, but even if half of it happened as he describes it, it serves as a lesson in human relations, namely that you should never trust what your eyes or ears t ...more
Isabella F
Nov 18, 2015 Isabella F rated it really liked it

I chose the book, catch me if you can, because my dad recommended it to me. My dad told me the plot of this book and it caught my attention, and I just want to find out more. The reason this book interests me is because I think it’s all about business, and how a young boy can become anything he wants, without actually doing all the work.

I expect this book to be very intriguing and fascinating, and full of twists and turns because usually boys around 20 years old are in University studying and
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
True story of Frank Abangale's con artist ways. Really enjoyed it! Though the movie with Leo was great too, I loved knowing how the real Frank came to be.
Apr 25, 2013 Nina rated it liked it
Entertaining, if somewhat lightweight. Two big things that hold me back from rating this higher: 1)The author's attitude towards women is stuck pretty firmly in the early 60s. Women, to him, are basically ornaments that are so dazzled by his looks and brilliance that they go along with his schemes unquestioningly. Even women who supposedly played major roles in his life and exploits (including one he nearly married and one who helped him escape from prison) seem to have no personalities of their ...more
Oct 31, 2009 Carly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
The first 200 or so pages--I was SO into. Then, the repetitiveness about how smart he is, how young he was, how he managed to rip of countless people, etc, etc..just got old.

It was a really different feeling than I had from the movie. In the movie, I felt bad for poor Leonardo DiCaprio, and didn't want him to get caught. In the book, I couldn't wait for him to get caught. (And was a little peeved that he ended the book when he escaped--leaving it to the ghost writer to clarify in the afterword.
Evi Routoula
Jun 24, 2015 Evi Routoula rated it really liked it
Είχα δει την ομώνυμη ταινία πριν μερικά χρόνια και μου άρεσε, ήταν έξυπνη και ενδιαφέρουσα. Το βιβλίο κινείται στο ίδιο στυλ. Γρήγορο, ευκολοδιάβαστο και ευχάριστο. Η ιστορία ενός ιδιοφυούς απατεώνα. Αυτό που μου έκανε εντύπωση είναι η αφέλεια ενός όχι και τόσο μακρινού παρελθόντος: βρισκόμαστε στην δεκαέτία του 1960, πριν την εισβολή του διαδικτύου στην ζωή μας και της καταγραφής της παραμικρής μας κίνησης.
Gorab Jain
Jun 12, 2016 Gorab Jain rated it liked it
Frank "the con-man" Abagnale's real life story is shockingly interesting as he assumes and annually keeps switching identities. From a a Pan Am pilot, to an attorney, to a paediatrician, to a Rolls Royce paper hanger.... all of this while still in his teens! The torture faced in prison life is detailed and hair raising stuff.
For entertainment purpose, the movie is more interesting as it parallely shows every counter move and pursuing trails by the FBI agent O'Reily.... plus Tom Hanks, plus Leona
Jefther E.
Mar 15, 2015 Jefther E. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, crime
2.5 Estrellas

Cuando decidía darle un rating a este libro mi Estúpida Consciencia y mi Querido Sentido Común tuvieron una discusión al respecto, iba más o menos así.

Estúpida Consciencia: ¡¿Cómo que 2.5?! ¡Pero si te reíste y todo!
Querido Sentido Común: ¿Y eso qué?
E.C.: ¿Te molestó que el tipo fuera todo arrogante?
Q.S.C.: No, la verdad me dio lo mismo.
E.C.: Entonces fue que creías que exageraba las cosas.
Q.S.C.: Un poco, pero también me dio tres pitos.
E.C.: Si no fue eso, ¿cuál fue el problema e
Jan 04, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it
This memoir is by a man considered by many police agencies to be one of the cleverest con men they had ever pursued. By the age
of 17, he was successfully impersonating a PanAm pilot, deadheading around the country and using fake identification to cash NSF
checks. He was almost caught in New Orleans, but convinced the FBI and local police that his credentials were authentic -- he had, after all, managed to pull the wool over experienced airline pilots -- but he was pretty lucky, too, because the P
Christopher Roth
Nov 15, 2011 Christopher Roth rated it liked it
Quite a good page-turner. I love the detail about the bad-check-passing scam, which for me ranks this book alongside Maurer's pickpocket ethnography "Whiz Mob." However, I must say that the book has a feel of pathological lying about it. I have known people who are or aspired to be confidence men/women, and who get their kicks from impersonating people and lying about their backgrounds, and most of them are pathological liars and thus cannot be trusted even, perhaps especially, when they are des ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Monte rated it it was amazing
This book was actually written about twenty years before the movie was made. Stephen Spielberg took the liberty in changing some of the details and made a movie out of it. According to Frank Abagnale, the movie is about 80% accurate. I don't like how he bragged about how gullible these people were when he was able to con them. I could see his inner struggles when it comes to his love life. He wanted to get married with certain women; and yet, he knew that no way can the marriage take place becau ...more
Alex Dunn
Jan 01, 2013 Alex Dunn rated it it was amazing
Is it possible to be a pilot, a doctor, a professor, a lawyer, and a millionaire all before you are 21? Frank William Abagnale Jr. completed such feats as a teenager. Forging signatures, swindling checks, and charming every pretty bank teller were part of the normal routine For Abagnale. Mainly “Abagnale” was not his name though, as he had many pseudonyms and fake identities. All of Abagnale's stories and crimes are accounted for in his autobiography, Catch Me If You Can.
Abagnale's first con
Mar 28, 2016 Dale rated it liked it
3.5 stars in the end.
It was really good for about 40-50% and then it just got a bit samey.Don't get me wrong it was still good in parts for the last half but as said it was just a little of the same.
Overall I thought it was a good recount of his escapades.
It makes me want to watch the film again now although the book is slightly different(which is always the case) but I will watch it still.
Overall,an enjoyable read. (Sorry it's a short review,I didn't have too much to say about this one I guess!
Nikinnia Smith garcia
This book would have gotten 5 stars from me, but the guy left us hanging. I haven't seen the movie, so I had to Google this guy to find out what happened to him. If you're going to write an autobiography Mr. Abagnale give us the full story.

I was amazed at all that this guy was able to get away with. He was a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer before he was 30. Well not really, but he got away with pretending to be one, and flew all over the world. He eventually got caught and spent some time in a hor
I really enjoyed the movie, but I did not believe any of it. For how could a 16 year old pull off all these scams posing successfully as an airline pilot, lawyer, doctor, and FBI agent? To my amazement, almost nothing in the movie was dramatized. Frank Abagnale did it all. And, this even includes the acrobatic escape from a commercial plane as it lands. The book depicts a far richer story than the movie since the movie skipped over interesting jobs, including a stint as a college sociology teach ...more
Feb 15, 2011 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of true crime, folks who want to take down "the man".
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake is all about how a 16 year old boy became the most daring con-man in US history. Over the course of 4 years, Frank had stolen millions of dollars and flown all over the world posing as a piolet for Pan-Am airlines. Oh, and did I mention he also posed as a doctor, lawyer and school teacher?

Not only was he caught (several times before finally being put away) but he was later employed by the US government to help catch those trying to do what he d
Jul 17, 2013 Brad rated it really liked it
First, this new edition leaves off the Epilogue. This happened when when the movie came out. Geez--what's so difficult about including 7 more pages? Get the 1980 edition, Grosset & Dunlap, publishers for the last seven pages that explains what happens next in his life, ISBN 0448165384. Or see if your library has it, Call No. HV6760.A18 A33.

Like others, I found this book to be great entertainment. He's a criminal, yet, you laugh out loud at how he pulled some of his cons off and shake your he
Adam Wilson
May 12, 2011 Adam Wilson rated it it was amazing
Catch Me If You Can is an excellent novel. For me, the fact that it’s a non-fiction tale made it all the more engaging. It’s easy to read countless fiction books and, when things are getting interesting or horrifying, you can say “it’s all make-believe.” With this book, you must remind yourself that this really happened. Abagnale really pulled this stuff off at such a young age.
The plot seems to be one that most people are familiar with so I won’t go into it much, but I will say that it is one o
Jan 31, 2016 Julia rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I liked the book! Although there were a lot of similar parts to the movie it was still quite different. The chapters were long, 30, 45, 50 minutes each on the Kindle which I find incredibly irritating.
Brigid Cruickshank
Feb 18, 2016 Brigid Cruickshank rated it liked it
A fun ride and just what I needed after a crappy read. Wonderfully written as well. I'm amazed by all Frank was able to accomplish. As usual, far more fulfilling than the movie - though I couldn't help picturing Leo as Frank.
Nicole Edwards
Jan 01, 2014 Nicole Edwards rated it it was amazing
Seriously loved this. I like a good memoir anyway, but Frank Abagnale, Jr. is the James Bond of American criminals. Everything he did was so original, creative, interesting, ballsy and often quite funny. I laughed aloud a few times. And I'm glad that after all the crazy caper stories the book delved into how bad prison and "paying his debt to society was"; People who read this book don't get any ideas about living an exciting jet-setting life of crime because once he was caught and convicted he ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
Fascinating first-person account of Frank Abingale's con life. You may know the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The book was even better. Honestly, between the age of 17 and 20, he posed as (1) an airplane pilot, although he only flew a plane once and then put it on autopilot; (2) a medical doctor, where he was the supervisor emergency room interns, but encouraged the interns to state their expert opinions and then agreed with them; (3) a harvard-graduated lawyer clerking at a law firm, where ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Corrine rated it really liked it
When I was offered the opportunity to borrow this book from a friend I was completely ecstatic. I have seen the movie dozens of times and can't help but get wrapped up in what an action packed story plays out.

For this particular book, I am glad I saw the movie first. The book starts off relatively slow and without having some previously acquired knowledge of Frank's story, you might not feel incredibly compelled to continue on. Not to mention- the movie gives a little bit more detail into the t
Josh Miller
Mar 12, 2016 Josh Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read of one of the most well-known con artists of all time. Several items from the book really jumped out at me:

1) Frank Abagnale stated that if his parents hadn't gone through their divorce, he most likely would not have turned to crime in his young years. He made it very clear that he was not blaming his parents for his actions; however, it is a stark reminder to married couples that our actions have rippling effects on those we raise.

2) Having digested this story rather quickly, I
Mar 06, 2015 Andi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this film. Naturally, I saw the movie first so I went into this book thinking that I would be familiar with the life of Frank W. Abagnale. Wrong. By chapter one, the movie was already a lie and I was in for a treat.

While it was a pretty solid memoir, and it completely blew me away on how creative and intelligent he was between the ages of 17 - 20, I felt that it was missing bits and pieces. Or maybe what was there was there.

The one thing that puzzled me is how the book ended the way
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Born and raised in the Westchester County city of Bronxville, New York, Abagnale attended Iona Preparatory School, an all boys Catholic high school which is run by the Irish Christian Brothers. He was the third of four children (two brothers and one sister) born to a French mother, Paula Abagnale, and an American father, Frank William Abagnale, Sr.

One of the early signs of his future as a fraudste
More about Frank W. Abagnale...

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“What bothered me most was their lack of style. I learned early that class is universally admired. Almost any fault, sin or crime is considered more leniently if there's a touch of class involved.” 33 likes
“When you're up there hundreds of people will claim you as a friend. When you're down, you're lucky if one will buy you a cup of coffee.” 26 likes
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