Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel” as Want to Read:
The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,399 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Accountant's Story Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel . Grand Central Publishing, 2010.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 11th 2010 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Accountant's Story, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Accountant's Story

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I am probably the worst person to review this book. I know my Opinion will not be the Popular idea, I may be Biases on the subject.... > >

I think this book shows a side of Pablo Escobar that not many knew, nor seen. He Showed us who his brother was, not the Character people portray him as. He Himself states many times that "he was not a saint but he was not the devil neither"....I was very excited to read this book for the place setting, My Grand-Mother took her children (my mom was
Rob Maynard
Escobar's book is one of the strangest I've read, simultaneously acknowledging the damage done in Columbia by his brother's work while at the same time defending his brother's right to be the king of cocaine and a hero to many to this very day in his homeland. Roberto Escobar had a job and a life on the 'legit' side of things before he became his brother's money man. It's fascinating to read his disillusionment when he realizes that joining the cocaine business and hiding billions of dollars for ...more
The details were what was most interesting in this book to me - the fact that they spent $2500 a month on rubber bands to hold their money together. That they lost about 10% of their cash each year to moisture damage, misplacement, or because it was eaten by rats.

The sheer volume of money involved is staggering.
I'm too young to recall when all this went down in the early '90s, but I did find myself feeling compassion towards Pablo, however dark his bad side may have been.

The narrator, Pablo's
David Edwards
Jan 24, 2015 David Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually bought this book in-person from Roberto himself (includes his signature and thumbprint too!). My review is somewhat in two separate parts; the book itself, and the larger picture. The book itself is a fascinating read. It is ten times better than ‘Killing Pablo’ which is interesting for of the book, then it is just about how awesome the Americans were and how incompetent the Colombians were (it was written by an American). It may well be all true, but reading a few hundred pages of h ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Abdul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This book started off well but ended in a huge disappointment.

Alas the author did not tell the whole story and made Pablo Escobar look like an innocent hero who was simply running a harmless business. While in in reality he was the head of a ruthless organization who's only goal was to make money irrespective of who got in their way.

If you read the history and lived through the times one can only conclude that Pablo was a dangerous amoral killer who ruthlessly clawed his way to the top of
Carla Marie
Nov 30, 2016 Carla Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many reviewers have complained that Pablo Escobar was portrayed as saintly in this book. There are two sides to every story and The Accountant's Story gives you an inside look on the thoughts and reasoning behind Pablo's actions. The book was very interesting as far as the content, but I felt that it could have been executed better. I mainly took issue with the fact that the author kept jumping around from one decade to the next and then back again. It was more as if a friend was telling you a s ...more
Dec 23, 2013 Licha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mind-boggling. The story is fascinating, even though it’s obvious that some details were “laundered”. After all, this is a man who does not think he has committed any crime, other than being the brother of the most infamous drug trafficker ever. To a certain extent, I was ok with the fact that some of the events were going to be white-washed. Roberto has to protect the image of his brother as much as he can. Most brothers would. What the reader ends up with is the admittance of some events, but ...more
Jenn Klee
Mar 03, 2015 Jenn Klee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at Pablo Escobar from one who knew him best. Roberto outlines the human tragedy of Pablo Escobar's life, from growing up lower-middle class during La Violencia to becoming an epic drug king in Colombia directing literally tons of cocaine into the US and billions of dollars back out of the US. Two gems from this book are 1. "There is more than one way to be addicted to drugs." Roberto's poignant words about his brother. Pablo never used cocaine saying, "Never sleep on another man ...more
Tom M
Jan 23, 2011 Tom M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An autobiography of Roberto Escobar, the brother of the infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who gives first person information and anecdotes about the rise and fall of the Medellín drug cartel.

Prior to reading this book I'd only known vaguely the Escobar name in the drug smuggling world. Roberto's accounts give vivid details of the inner workings of the Medellín cartel. Naturally it can be assumed that there is always room for exaggerations and lies when dealing with a former high ranking drug
Joel Ungar
Sep 29, 2013 Joel Ungar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ok, let's be honest here. I graduated with a degree in accounting 25 years ago. I go to the library and over the years see all sorts of medical intrigue and legal intrigue books. Never once do you see a book about an accountant. So when I saw a book called "The Accountant's Story" I had to pick it up.

My hope for a book that features an accountant as hero is still not met.

That being said, this was a very disturbing book. More than 15 years after the death of his brother, Roberto Escobar seems t
Aug 24, 2009 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
This book is the story of Pablo Escobar, Medellin drug cartel leader, as told by his brother, Roberto, who served as Pablo's chief accountant.

Overall, I was disappointed by this book. The biggest problem I had with it was the wandering narrative. It was written as I suspected it was told: as a story recounted regardless of the chronological occurrence of events. The retelling followed a rough timeline, beginning with Pablo's exploits in the smuggling business (which he was involved in prior to t
Interesting story from an insider about the Medellin cartel.

Roberto Escobar is the brother of the infamous head of the Medellin cartel, Pablo Escobar. He paints a loving picture of his brother. This is to be expected. He says he knows that Pablo was a killer but not a ruthless killer. He paints a rosy picture of his brother. This is definitely a one-sided story. I would agree, though, that (1) Pablo did spend his money for the improvement of the local Columbians and (2) the Columbian extradition
Ian Kemp
Pablo Escobar - famous in the West mainly for giving Columbian and US authorities the slip on many occasions. His name evokes the larrikin archetype of the crafty rebel, up there along with Ned Kelly, and the Scarlet Pimpernel, though whether his name evokes the same feelings in Spanish speakers is questionable (his name translates as "Paul Brush").

This book is a major contribution to the mythmaking process, as well as being an apologia for Pablo and his brother Robert. Why, says Robert, they ne
I was not yet ten years old when Pablo Escobar was killed/ possibly killed himself as his brother suggests in this book, so the story of the Medellin cartel is not one that I was very familiar with prior to this book. It occupies that strange space in time--too long ago for me to know it as news, too recent for me to have learned it as history. That said, even I can tell that this is a very biased account, written by the brother of the Colombian drug lord in question.

Still, Pablo Escobar is an
Tim Gaines
Apr 03, 2016 Tim Gaines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carisa Sanchez
Sep 13, 2014 Carisa Sanchez rated it it was amazing
So a lot of people are going to say this book talks about the blood and death that circled Pablo Escobar but in reality this book is more than that. It takes about the politics, the family, the love, and the passion of a man who grew up in the slums and refused to accept the norm. It makes a point to touch upon the things that El Patrón did for the people of Columbia and how they loved him. It touches on the fact the El Patrón was full of love and passion for his country and did many things to t ...more
Tommy Bat-Blog Brookshire
On my last trip to the Library I visited a location that was extremely small with a very tiny collection. It didn't have any of the books on my list but then this random book caught my eye & I'm pretty happy about taking a chance on it. The book is written by Roberto Escobar, who was both the Brother & Personal Accountant for Pablo Escobar, the Infamous Cocaine Dealer who controlled the Medellin Cartel. The book is almost more of a Biography on him, ha! Actually, quite a bit. Learning ab ...more
Andrew Bourne
Not good, but it does manage to afford a reader some degree of specificity and access to the Escobars during both hardship and wealth. Although much is surely confabulated and desperate to apologize, forgive, and explain any moral trespasses, the official story is just as mussed and untrustworthy. The violence is mostly glossed, and Roberto's self-consoling humanitarianism is writ large. But any person's memory does this, especially when weighted with guilt, their own or a loved one's, revising ...more
May 22, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia, as told by his brother Roberto. It was fascinating to read what his life was like, how originally the cocaine business didn't deal in violence, and how it was both different and the same from the legend that grew up around him. It seems that history likes to pick a target; Pablo was blamed for violence that he didn't perpetrate, though his life was far from free of violence. He did what he promised for the poor ...more
Maurice Tougas
If you've watched the Netflix series 'Narcos' (and if you haven't, you should), you may have thought that some of the story of Colombia's cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar has to be exaggerated for dramatic effect. But no. In fact, Narcos might have actually DOWNPLAYED what happened in the years when Pablo Escobar earned billions in his worldwide cocaine distribution network. Escobar lived like a king, was beloved by the poor of Colombia and hated by the governments of Colombia and the US. Not surpr ...more
This book suffers hugely from the author's desire to portray Pablo as an innocent victim and a noble outlaw. I also agree with other peoples' comments about the wandering narrative -- it's all over the place. But I still really enjoyed it, largely because I find the political situation in Colombia so fascinating. I would almost always rather read a whitewashed book written by a criminal than a journalistic account of a crime syndicate. Both are usually wrong on many counts, and clearly biased, b ...more
Adam K
Apr 29, 2009 Adam K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't planning on reading another book in NC after Blue Highways, but I noticed this on the library's new release shelf, and decided to check it out.

Roberto Escobar was the brother and accountant to Pablo Escobar, one of the most infamous drug traffickers in history. This is the first-hand account of their lives, specifically addressing a lot of the myths brought about through propaganda and the course of time. It's a story of extremes, from the amounts of money exchanged through cocaine traf
John Doyle
Sep 20, 2015 John Doyle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
There's hardly a need to explain why someone would read a book named The Accountant's Story. Nevertheless, it turns out that this particular Accountant, Roberto Escobar, is (was?) Pablo Escobar's brother and I wanted some first person context for the Netflix original series, Narcos, that Micole, Evan, and I started watching recently. Suffice it to say that the book lacks sophisticated moral reasoning (e.g. one effect of DEA raids was to interrupt Roberto's research into AIDS and cancer... he's a ...more
Mar 20, 2009 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got really interested in this book after watching the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary about Pablo Escobar and the Colombian national soccer team in 1994, which was incredible. I'd heard of this book before and wanted to read it, but I had it specifically recommended by a friend shortly after watching the doc. Escobar's story really is remarkable, and his brother has and is willing to share so many amazing things he had first-hand knowledge of. Not surprisingly, he's sympathetic toward his brother, ...more
May 11, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had a lot of potential. It could have been the non-fiction cocaine version of Breaking Bad. I feel like the editing was horrible though. The narrative seemed to be transcribed exactly as it was told. As a result, it went in chronological order but it jumped back and forth a lot. There were way too many people mentioned. I felt like I couldn't keep up with them all. Also, there was no suspense. Nothing to keep me interested in reading. I know it was non-fiction, but I feel like with bet ...more
Jan 27, 2016 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many grammatical mistakes but overall Roberto Escobar lends a great insight in the life of his brother, Pablo Escobar and the crimes committed by him and his followers during the drug trafficking wars in Colombia during the 90s.

I did however find that although very descriptive and action forward Roberto Escobar wrote from a biased point of view. He didn't feel bad for the atrocities committed by the Medellin cartel just deemed them unnecessary (if the government was more cooperative as if the
Jun 18, 2013 Bp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was delighted someone so close to Pablo got to write a book like this. it doesn't take long to get into the action (as brothers half the book potentially could have been about growing up etc) but no Roberto gets to the nitty griity in good time.

I was gripped to this book and felt like I was on a roller coaster for most of it. it was a very exciting book and shows how clever these dark souls were.

The attention to detail isn't fantastic in this book which is a shame but the man lived a very uniq
Linda M
Aug 19, 2009 Linda M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got to page 176--and I'm done. I think this story is pretty well summed up on the front leaf of the book. And then painfully bad writing leads us through interesting enough events (outlined on the leaf), continually asserting how he, Roberto Escobar, is not a criminal! Hilarious, if it weren't for the complete, insanely stupid denial of the truth. It is almost as though because he alleges he never pulled a trigger that he has a pristine past. I seriously wearied of the allegations and finally ...more
Dec 14, 2009 Tasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, thus ends my brief foray into non-fiction. This book was ok. Just ok. It is written as if the co-author simply took down transcription from the original storyteller (Roberto Escobar) and typed it up verbatim. It has a weird stream-of-conscience vibe. And, the author clearly does not approve of punctuation. It's a shame. The author obviously had amazing access to get behind-the-scenes info on the crazy successful crime ring that was the Medellin drug cartel. It's a fascinating topic that sh ...more
May 02, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Story of the Medellin Cartel and Pablo Escobar was fascinating and it's amazing the impact they have had on cocaine in the US. The book and corresponding story was good but I guess the part I didn't love is the fact that the story is told through the brother's (Roberto Escobar) viewpoint and he is clearly trying to make his brother seem like a saint. The guy murdered hundreds of people directly and indirectly and no amount of helping the poor can make up for that. In any case, supposedly there
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
How a Chicago Accountant can assist you In Business 1 1 Feb 07, 2016 07:20PM  
  • Will You Die for Me?
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?: A Biography
  • Voices of the Dead
  • Stop & Frisk
  • The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People
  • Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev
  • The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath
  • BLOW: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel And Lost It All
  • Call Me Crazy: A Memoir
  • Mob Star: The Story of John Gotti
  • Animal: The Bloody Rise and Fall of the Mob's Most Feared Assassin
  • Days That I'll Remember: Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  • Whore Stories: A Revealing History of the World's Oldest Profession
  • King of the Godfathers
  • Serial Killers
  • The Bank Holiday Murders: The True Story of the First Whitechapel Murders
  • American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath
  • Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS' Wildfire Days

Share This Book