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The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,988 ratings  ·  202 reviews
The inside story of Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, with surprising and shocking new details from Madoff himself.

Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history?

These questions have fascinated people ever since the news broke about the respected New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Times Books
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Harish B No it is based on author's research. She claims to have interviewed Madoff for the book.

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 ·  1,988 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I am continually baffled by people whom seem to have no conscience. I am bothered by my own digressions to the point of losing sleep. How is it that people can delude themselves to think that what they are doing or what they did is not a problem. How the human mind works is just amazing. Bernie Madoff for over thirty years ran a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. He fooled thousands of people and a large part of the financial sector with his scheme.

Henriques details how Madoff had a shadow
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating view into the ultimate confidence man. Diana Henriques delves into exactly the correct questions about Bernie Madoff and his epic $64 billion (with a "b") ponzi scheme. First, how does someone live with such a complete betrayal? Madoff raised two boys, sent them to good American schools, has them return to his Wall Street brokerage and money management business and leads them to believe they would inherit the operations on his retirement. He does all this knowing full well the ...more
Victoria_Grossack Grossack
As if I could not get enough of the Madoff scandal, I read this book right after the one by Markopolos, No One Would Listen. You can tell immediately that this writer, actually a reporter, is far more professional. The writing itself is much better. She also presents a much more complete picture of what happened. Of course, Markopolos is narrating a different story: what it is like to be a frustrated whistleblower, and so perhaps the comparison is unfair.

Henrqiues warns that Madoff is obviously
Doriana Bisegna
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I don’t know the first thing about the stock market, trading, the NASDAQ or a hedge fund from a stock option...hell, I have trouble balancing my cheque book! So why read this book on the Madoff Ponzi scheme? Well, besides being curious about how someone could swindle over a billion dollars from so many investors from all areas of the world, I wanted to learn more about the stock market, the crash of 2008 and the world of Wall Street. This book does not disappoint. There was way too much Wall ...more
John McDonald
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Good regulators believe in skepticism, but most investors crave simplicity. If regulators run
across someone claiming to have a safe, high yield investment that always goes up even
when everything else goes down, [regulators] want to take him to court. Investors want to
take him to dinner. . . . That need for something simple always seems to strangle
skepticism before it can speak up."
Diane Henrique, "Wizard of Lies", pages 341-42.

When Bernard Madoff's crimes were revealed, little time was
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: PBS interview
Shelves: business-finance

It's distracting for me when the author repeatedly reports on the appearance and hair of women characters, particularly blond women.

"her pale heart-shaped face framed by sleek blond hair"
"young and accomplished colleague Nicole De Bello, a stately blonde..." (does stately here mean dignified, or magnificent? Why do I think it means stacked?)
"a fragile blond model in a pale summery dress"
"his slender, blond deputy"
"tall, thin, and pale, with a short bob of strawberry blond hair"
"her lanky dark
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, good-true-crime
"He is ready to stop now, ready to just let his vast fraud tumble down around him"

So begins the tale of Bernie Madoff and his epic Ponzi scheme. I have previously read two financial crime books - The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron and Den of Thieves. Both of those, especially the latter made for tough reading in places due to the complexity of the crimes and the financial jargon. Mostly i could use to better understand the
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if you've been following the Madoff story in the news and and think you know what happened, this is a book worth reading. Ms. Henriques presents the story in an interesting and accessible fashion.

I knew from newspaper articles that regulatory agencies had missed discovering this Ponzi scheme, but I did not realize that the investigators were such incompetent bunglers. Madoff was investigated several times without the regulators taking effective steps to verify that he actually had the
Brian D. Avsec
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
The first half of the book details the entire Ponzi scheme by Bernie and has some really good detail. The second half is filled with court filings and author opinions that does not help much and feels
more like a filler to make the book longer. I still enjoyed the book but just note the first half is much more enjoyable then the second half.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is extremely well researched and written, and was absolutely terrifying to read.
Florence Millo
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
For years I have been fascinated by the Madoff ponzi scheme. Kind of like not being able to look away from the train wreck. I have read several books and many newspaper articles about it but this is by far the best.

Diana Henriques is a senior financial writer for the New York Times and has covered the story from the very beginning. What I appreciate most in this book is that it puts this the biggest and longest running Ponzi scheme in history in context of the times and gives insight as to how
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pretty horrifying to think how one man and his Ponzi scheme could fool so many people for so long. Investors big and small, regulators, auditors, friends, family, and coworkers. The amount of money involved was mind boggling. I have to give the author credit, if I can trust anyone after reading about Bernie's lies, for getting enough facts together to publish an account of such a long and complicated swindle. Quite an eyeopener on how trusting investors are and how no one takes the time to read ...more
I enjoyed this book - I learned a lot about Bernie Madoff. A lot of court cases were still pending when the author wrote this book, so I might have to google a few names. I picked it up at the library to read as a company I used to work for is mentioned in the book. We handled quite a few Madoff accounts. (Won the lawsuit, though, not guilty!)
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A true financial thriller, it gave me goosebumps upon learning how much Madoff's victims had lost, the trust broken, the heartbreaks, the hopelessness and the suicides. This scandal and tragedy all started with one thing- greed. And it continues to plague the financial markets to this day.
May 10, 2011 rated it liked it
If only we knew for sure how much was true. Well written and thorough, but I'd hoped for more of the human/emotional stories that were part of the scandal.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am giving this book 4 stars simply because of the amount of work and research that must have gone into writing it. Henriques goes into mind-numbing detail about how Madoff's money schemes all took place & includes 40 pages of notes. She is a true research journalist and a good writer, however my eyes would cross or glaze over due to all the overwhelming financial detail. If you are a numbers person, into Wall Street, hedge-fund and trading this book is for you! Unfortunately I was looking ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must read for anyone in the finance world including business students. I always wondered exactly how Bernie Madoff pulled off his Ponzi given the various safeguards in place in the investment world. Not only did this book "tell the story", but it also brought in the human elements of what happened...really laying it out as an engaging and intriguing story.

I "read" this as an audio book and the narration was well done as well.
Very detailed, interesting account of the creator of the biggest Ponzi scheme the world has seen--so far. Some insight into the psychological makeup of a Ponzi schemer. I liked learning more about the employees who knew about the fraud and the ones who didn't. I still find it hard to believe that the wife and sons had no idea about the fraud, but the author explains why this is unlikely. The author does a little "what does it all mean" bloviating at the end, but that's okay.
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
“In a world full of lies, the most dangerous ones are those we tell ourselves.”
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust

"The Wizard of Lies" is the fascinating story of Bernie Madoff and his infamous $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Acclaimed author Diana B. Henriques masterfully narrates one of the most absorbing accounts of fraud in the history of our country. This engrossing 448-page book is composed of the following sixteen chapters: 1. An Earthquake on Wall Street, 2. Becoming Bernie, 3. The Hunger for Yield, 4. The Big Four, 5. The Cash Spigot, 6. What They
Aug 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Of course, I'm fascinated with the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Unbelievable how many people he fooled. Okay the imposter, "Clark Rockefeller" fooled a lot of people, but he did not steal from thousands of people. This book was more financial than biography - learned more about the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) - inept, but maybe the problem was being understaffed. Obviously, many people losing all of their money is sad, but sadder were the loss of lives - people committing suicide - even his ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very good, in depth analysis of the Madoff scandal, but it needs to be updated again. The most recent update was in the winter/spring of 2012. Frankly, it made me feel a little bit sympathetic towards Bernie Madoff and his wife Ruth, who do not seem as greedy as some of the hedge fund principals - the ones who ran the "feeder funds" that funneled money into Madoff's investment business and reaped billions of management fee "profits" from him. The author, a NYT reporter, interviewed ...more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course I heard about Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme when the story broke, but I really didn't pay much attention to any details. (At that time I was managing a non-profit that served the residential construction industry, and thus was spending full-time trying to keep the doors open. Ultimately, it had to be taken out and shot.) So, when I came across this book, it seemed to be a chance to learn what really went on. And generally, the book was very good at unraveling the story. There is a lot ...more
Amy Wolf
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a must-read for anyone interested in the darker machinations of business, particularly Wall Street. I had followed the Madoff story in the NY TIMES & THE NEW YORKER, but this book reveals the entire sordid enterprise, from how Madoff managed to fool sophisticated investors, hedge fund managers, movie stars, lawyers, and the SEC to the devastating effect on his own family.

My only caveat is that we are not showed too much of Madoff the Man, but rather Madoff the Swindler. Still, a
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Solidly informative, but a little confusing with all the names. Then it got like weirdly, hugely philosophical for like 90 pages at the end, which I mean, I guess, yeah, there's a lot to be philosophical about Bernie Madoff, but I don't think you need to read a book about that. Incredibly well researched, though, and the first 80% of it is really really informative. I kind of wish she could add a chapter every month or quarter to keep up to date on Picard's collection progress (which is SUPER ...more
Khairul Hezry
Bernie Madoff is such a sociopath that even author Diana Henriques freely admits that she doesn't know how much of the information he is telling her is true and how much is made up. She had to double check the info with independent research and interviews of other witnesses but there were still gaping holes left in the story, the biggest one being: WHY? Why did Madoff cheat his clients, some of whom were his family and close friends, of their money?
Niki Ganong
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
NYTimes financial writer Henriques gives us the final word on Bernie Madoff, his house of cards, and how he got to be so evil. It's ridiculously well-researched and contains extensive interviews with Madoff himself.

In the end, we are no wiser as to Madoff's motivations, but the machinations are extensive. Recommended for those that were interested in the Madoff swindle to begin with.
Matt Papes
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I recently watched the documentary about Bernie Madoff on HBO and it was absolutely fascinating. I immediately ordered the book and read it in less than a week. This is a story that every modern investor should know and take heed of. The movie is great, the book is well written if you want even more detail.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be well researched and interesting to read. I was, however, horrified by the blind trust that so many people put in one man, and the investors and institutions that failed repeatedly to use common sense.
Kimmo Sinivuori
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
An entertaining if a bit hurried account of the Madoff scandal. The definitive book of Madoff and other "Masters of the Universe" waits to be written.
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Diana B. Henriques is the author of 'The White Sharks of Wall Street' and 'Fidelity's World.' She is a senior financial writer for The New York Times, having joined the Times staff in 1989.

A Polk Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Henriques has won several awards for her work on the Times' coverage of the Madoff scandal and was part of the team recognized as a Pulitzer finalist for its
“In a world full of lies, the most dangerous ones are those we tell ourselves.” 8 likes
“Markopolos” 1 likes
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