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Serpent on the Rock

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A real-life thriller—the story of kickbacks and payoffs, of shady deals struck in secret with known felons; a story in which half a million people lose enormous sums—some their life’s savings—in the largest securities fraud of the 1980s, with names like Onassis and Bush numbered among the victims.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
ebook, 528 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Broadway Books (first published 1995)
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Nina
Wow, this was scary. After reading this you'd think twice about investing your hard earned money anywhere. I loved Eichenwald's other books (The Informant, about the ADM scandal and Conspiracy of Fools, about the Enron debacle). This one was written in between those two and is about the Prudential-Bache fraud. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their money, yet the perpetrators never went to jail and are still rich. In the preface, the author says, "Why did we learn nothing? Why did corporate ...more
James
There is a distinct possibility that I've found my niche in books - Corporate malfeasance followed by justice.

The other possibility is that Eichenwald researches and writes a tremendously compelling narrative.

Also, the possibility of both.

This book was one of those times that I read something because I have sufficient faith in the author. I went into this book with no desire for the material (some securities/investor fraud at a Prudential subsidiary in the 80s), and no knowledge of the situatio
...more
Minesweeper
The amount of fraud that went on at Prudential-Bache as related by this book is absolutely shocking. Even more outrageous is the fact that so many defrauded investors were "paid back" cents on the dollar through class action suits that they didn't participate in. (Apparently, to opt out of a class action suit, you have to take action and write a letter to the appropriate court; if you don't, then it's assumed that you want to be part of it, and you're now barred from suing the company individual ...more
Harmeet
About financial scandal where Prudential Bache made financial instruments for 'safe' investment. Many thousands of investors were duped, to the benefit of executives. What was striking was the blatant corruption in the form of payoffs to convert junk into safe investment, sold to retirees. Followed by sharp legal practices to short change and deny any problems. It is also the story of people who fought to right things.
A cautionary tale.
Jay Tate
This tale of greed and bad behavior is every bit as good as Den of Thieves, and that says loads.

I read this ages ago, and it still sticks with me. When you reward bad behavior, don't complain about bad behavior.
Cpryor
Another very interesting report from Kurt Eichenwald. I was amazed by the sheer dishonesty of many of the players involved - all for power and to line their own pockets. Many believed that what they were doing was wrong at all. The story reports on Prudential Insurance and their purchase of Bache Securities. The newly formed security company basically put together extremely risky deals and marketed them to conservative investors. Many lost thousands of dollars when the deals all folded. Will mak ...more
Heather
First of all, I will never do business with Prudential after reading this book. It is an excellent case study on how investing can go wrong when investors get complacent and brokers get greedy. Bottom line - if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Be careful where you invest your money and ask lots of questions.
Amanda
Interesting take on a story I didn't know much about. Prudential Insurance wasn't something I knew anything about, but I will say that many of the themes in the story have resurfaced in the last year in a way that makes me believe we are not done seeing this story play out yet again at a later time.
Eileen
Interesting book about the scandal at Prudential. The really did a lot of bad things to investors. I worked there and had no idea how bad it had been before me.
Laura
Great book - learned a lot about an industry I wasn't familiar with and am still amazed at the behind the scenes look at the corporate corruption.
Noah
it is a very good story of how the economy works and the intricate laws of tax sheltering
Jennifer Johnson
Not as good as "Conspiracy of Fools," his masterpiece about Enron, but still interesting.
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