Patrick's Reviews > No One Would Listen

No One Would Listen by Harry Markopolos
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's review
Apr 27, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: listened-to, 2011, digital-media, economics, finance, law, politics
Read in April, 2011

I suppose it was wise of Markopolos and his co-author to skimp on the heavy-duty mathematics and concentrate on the "thriller" part of "financial thriller." If I am at all representative of the common listener, he doubtless would have lost me with the former but kept me with the latter. Yet, the book also takes on a rather breathy Tom Clancy-ish tone I could have done without. Especially the almost bizarre way we get treated to his sense of being threatened, the rather weird claim that he would have personally sought out Madoff and bumped him off if his sense of threat rose to a certain level. We get that part, we get some murky claims about criminal elements invested in Madoff, but we never get offered tangible proof that (a) such elements had money with him, or (b) that Madoff was the sort to resort to violence. And like the little girl with the curl in her hair, people are either very, very good, or very very bad.

But the rest of the book is pure gravy, especially the painful testimony of the SEC before Congress, what I can only describe as utter incompetence documented again and again and again by the SEC at every level by anyone, barring one or two exceptions, who touched Markopolos's documentation. Who knew a roller-coaster ride could also be educational?

I cannot speak to the last section of the audio, where Markopolos makes a series of recommendations to reform the regulation of financial markets, though I must admit I'm a bit leery of the implied loss of national sovereignty with the international body he seems to think is needed. I mean the SEC does have limited powers, but even so had the laws on the books been enforced, mightn't that have been enough? (e.g. Madoff being caught in lies by SEC lawyers, which he was, and them doing nothing...when it could have been as much as a five year prison sentence.) I do like the idea of some sort of clearinghouse of information on investigations, past and present, both intra- and inter- agency. I also think a steel-toe boot needs to be administered to the baloney behind companies going "jurisdiction shopping," even I can see smell the stench on that one.

Good listen, but somehow I just can't bring myself to click on that 4th star. Call it a phobia for all things Tom Clancy-ish.


Actual ISBN: 9781441870506, but net nannies who run this place wouldn't let me enter it.

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