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Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff
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Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  168 ratings  ·  31 reviews

The untold story of the Madoff scandal, by one of the first journalists to question his investment practices
Despite all the headlines about Bernard Madoff, he is still shrouded in mystery. How did he fool so many smart investors for so long? Who among his family and employees knew the truth?
The person best qualified to answer these questions is Erin Arvedlund. In earl
...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Portfolio (first published 2009)
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Cheryl
All the facts, but presented like a university lecturer that you'd fall asleep to, which I did at times, because my version is an audio book. Too bad, because the story, as we all know, is astounding - how Bernie managed to rip off seasoned financial geniuses and well-informed customers to the tune of $60 billion. That's billion with a B. I'm waiting for the Walter Isaacson version. Now there's someone who can make science or technology accessible to all. (BTW I earned a B. Commerce and still ha ...more
Barbara
Nov 16, 2009 Barbara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high finance geeks
Recommended to Barbara by: Jeanne
Although a fascinating topic, the author presented the material in a very disjointed and scattered manner with a tremendous amount of repetition. In some instancs I found myself going back a page or two thinking I was rereading pages only to find material being repeated that very closely resembled what I had just read.

This author wrote a very important article in Barron's regarding the Madoff case. I can only say that each chapter in the book feels like a totally separate article written as a c
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Lobstergirl
Sep 07, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: New York Times
Shelves: business-finance
Much remains to be known and revealed about Madoff's giant Ponzi scam, but this book is a very good start. Arvedlund wrote an article for Barron's in 2001 wondering about Madoff's success but didn't follow up in the intervening years. Using news reports, court filings, Congressional testimony, and interviews with people who either knew or observed Madoff (but none of the true insiders), she compiles a fascinating narrative of Madoff's businesses - one legitimate, the other a phony "hedge fund," ...more
Pearce Handrick
This was Arvedlund's first book and it does have many problems that one would expect from a new author. Her editors did a very shoddy job of helping her tighten it up. Leaving aside the subject matter, the chapters feel unguided, there are huge chunks of repeated material that leave one feeling a sense of deja vu, and she often neglects to define a word or acronym in an early chapter and then will do so in a later chapter, which makes for distracting and difficult reading.
While no one will accu
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TC
This is an encyclopedic volume that fills in a nice hole of the Madoff literature: instead of being all about him and his sociopathic abilities, as many books on the case are, it instead talks at great, documented length about the numerous "enablers" who helped funnel all that money to him in the first place. There is a lot of detailed information here for anyone wondering, "who were these rubes that took millions of dollars in fees from Madoff while mindlessly funneling him other people's money ...more
Samantha
Dec 28, 2009 Samantha rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in current events
Shelves: true-crime, business
It's been a year since Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme was exposed, revealing that for years, Madoff had gotten away with scamming thousands of people around the world out of billions of dollars.

I had never really been interested in Madoff before, but I recently saw a documentary about the scandal which piqued my interest and out of the three books about Madoff at my local bookstore, I chose this one to read.

The book spans Madoff's entire life, from his childhood to his arrest on December 11, 2008.
...more
Jack Lehnen
I sort of got into the Madoff thing, it appeared there were plenty of books on the shelf after the incident . Everybody was a Bernie expert I guess .

This book was very detailed. Probably more than anybody but a Wall Street analyist cares to read about . If you work on wall street or are an investment broker your name is probably in here . She goes on and on with name after name and every backstory that nobody really cares about unless you know the people .

She could have cut this book in more th
...more
Susan
This book was interesting and a real eye opener to how intelligent people can get roped into a Ponzi scheme. It is interesting the secrecy around Madoff's illegal business and the phony financial statements he producted for his investors to help make it survive. It was just when stocks were going down and everyone wanted their money that his world came tumbling down. I also learned about the feeder funds whom sought out clients for Bernie. Also, it was interesting that many of the investors poss ...more
Mike
It's not easy to get in with the rich but once you do, and you have their trust, you can do practically whatever you want. His clients ran the gamut from mega-rich (who most likely knew better) to little people (who wouldn't even know what questions to ask).

The crazy thing is Madoff was plenty talented and successful in his legit business. He was ahead of the game on computer trading and fast automation which is the way it's all done now.

And, some of these rich guys were cheating in ways I don't
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Kestrawn
For me, this was overly technical regarding Wall Street, investing, and, what the writer repeats over and over, "funds of funds." On the other hand, others who understand how Wall Street works and want to know EXACTLY what Madoff did, with all the details, might find this interesting.
George Roper
Much preferred the last half of the book. The first half was repetitive which left me with the sense that the book was rushed to print back in 2009 just after Madoff was sentenced.

More insights into the personal life of the young Bernie would have been nice to help the reader understand the key events and persons which shaped his character. Those gaps in the book caused it to be less of a compelling read than it could have otherwise been. Still I commend the author for capturing in some detail t
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Anita
I tried to read this under it's other title "Madoff: The Man Who Stole $65 Billion". I was confused about whether they were two different books, but Boffins web site says
'First published in the USA under the title, "Too Good To Be True" '
I couldn't get much past the first chapter, but it's likely that this is due to my failings rather than the book's.
So, I'm not going to give this my rating (which would be 2 star).
Because Bernie didn't testiify in court, I think it's hard to find out the full s
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David R.
Arevedlund somewhat diminishes the topic with a fairly muddled narrative. It isn't exactly chronological, and the most interesting stuff is dealt with early on. The remainder is an eye glazing litany of all of the various cash intakes Madoff made mostly in the last several years. Nor is there adequate explanation of some of the market tricks Madoff employed in bilking his "clients." A cleaner treatment would have focused on what he did, how he was exposed, and how "clients" let Madoff get away w ...more
Kristen
The subject matter was interesting and it was well-researched, but the material was not well-organized. I believe the book was adapted from a series of articles that the author wrote and the result was at times disjointed and repetitive. In a rush to get the book published while Madoff was still topical, the editing appears to have been minimal. Still, the story was interesting, just not told as interestingly as it could have been.
Brooke
This book was very hard for me to get through. After getting nearly half way through, I set it aside for about six months. There is just a lot of technical detail - not hard to understand, just very dry - that made it a chore to get through the book.

That being said, this is a very in depth look at the Bernie Madoff scam and makes it clear why a fraud of such magnitude was able to occur.
Sheryl
Audio. Such a remarkably interesting book. It really gets you mad to see what one person can do to hurt so many other.

I did feel that the book could have used more editing. There was a lot of very repetitive passages. The some of the details I thought may have been better in footnotes to improve the flow of the story and make the book more readable.
Cathy
Amazing how Madoff was able to pull of his Ponzi scheme and the number of people of only saw what they wanted to see: a financial genius. Madoff could possibly have continued indefinitely even the economy hadn't soured. By appealing to greed, ego (the exclusivity of his clients) and providing unnatural returns he prevailed.
Krys Gut
I agree with readers the author was repetitive and included unnecessary information, but her accounting of the facts appeared well researched. It would have read better if we had more insight into Madoff's head, but understandably this was not available.
Tom
This book is very repetitive and it doesn't really answer any of your questions, like how he pulled it off. It seems like very well-researched speculation.
Sima
Was interesting, but needed better editing. This book seemed like some section just kept repeating themselves throughout the book.
Debby
The number of hedge funds and the repetition make your head spin. I seriously wonder how he "did this alone".
Greynomad
I have a hard time believing that someone out there has not taken
upon themselves to ............the family/front pers.
Zach
Copious grammatical and spelling errors with little substantive content. This book sucks balls.
Cathy
Subject was, of course, fascinating. Book needed some aggressive editing to tighten it up.
Jim O'shaughnessy
How he managed to con so many people is still beyond me.
Allison
Very complex book if one does not work on wall street.
Herb Blank
Interesting expository on the anatomy of a Ponzi scheme
Lisa Barrett
A little dry, but interesting all the same.
Noel Sander
Not exactly for the layman.
Ang
the man who stole $65 Billion
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