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American Sucker

by
3.03  ·  Rating details ·  163 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Denby's writing has made him one of the country's most sought-after critics, and "Great Books" was a "New York Times" bestseller. Here Denby tells the story not only of his own decline, but of his new friends Sam Waksal, indicted founder of ImClone, and Henry Blodgett, disgraced analyst for Merrill Lynch.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 12th 2004 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2004)
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Jay Hinman
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I pulled this unread hardcover book from 2003, bought on remainder maybe ten years ago, out of my garage stash of unread books and read all 300+ pages in two sittings. David Denby is to this day the film critic at the New Yorker, and his autobiographical account of his (and our) stock market mania during the late 90s/early 00s dotcom boom ended up being far better than I anticipated. There’s probably a reason I’m so drawn to books about capitalism gone mad; I’ll snap up books about Enron and Ber ...more
Marie Halloran
On and on and on.... Loves quoting others.
Stephen Gallup
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone planning to beat the odds
This memoir is actually a useful history of the infamous tech-stock bubble of 1999-2000, as told by one of the more enthusiastic participants. I too was involved back then -- I had some of the same mentors and was invested in some of the same stocks -- so I felt almost as if the author were talking about me. Fortunately, I didn't have as much on the line as he did, but the differences between him and me, and all the others involved, were just a matter of degree.

The personal story he tells is fai
...more
Bookmarks Magazine

"[N]obody really wants to read about his own foolishness," notes the Wall Street Journal. "Or write about it." Except Denby. How did this smart man (and author of Great Books) become a half-witted speculator? Denby, simultaneously whiny, pedantic, and giddy as befits the boom and bust cycle he recounts, charts his personal transformation. At best, American Sucker is an honest, well-written memoir about marriage, professional responsibility, and love and loss--even if his attempt to grapple with

...more
Ryan Canady
Started out great and I was really excited about it, but the author just gets so sidetracked so easily. I read this book to hear about his adventures in the stock market but instead was only given tiny tastes of that buried underneath a lot of commentary about mundane things in life. It's like he would be talking about stocks and then just got off on some random tangent about his sons or his failed marriage or a party he attended.
If this book had not lost its focus I think I would have enjoyed
...more
Stephanie
I guess I was expecting this book to be something totally different. From the description, I expected it to be more a memoir of the unraveling of a marriage and the financial lengths Denby went to trying to drum up the money to save his apartment. Which it was -- but only after lengthy discussions of the stock market tech bubble of 2000-01. Frankly, most of this book was about as interesting as reading the stock pages, which is not something I'm interested in. Issues such as his divorce, his rel ...more
Ilya
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
David Denby is a film critic who has worked at The New York Magazine and at The New Yorker. In early 1999, when he was 56, his wife, a novelist by occupation, told him that she wanted to divorce him. They owned a 7-room apartment in Manhattan that was worth $1.3 million. What they should have done was sell the apartment, split the proceeds, and move into smaller apartments in less glamorous places. However, Denby was so sentimentally attached to this apartment that he decided to make money on th ...more
Maggie
david denby, the market forces, and a cautionary tale. a serious snapshot of time and place: america at the turn of the millennium -- worth reading and interestingly a bit self-righteous in parts, small parts. which only adds to the human voice of the telling. overall, however, he is reviewing in real terms what happened to the stock market bubble of the beginning of the millennium. and he gives plenty of details and draws accurate conclusions. and it is reasonable to see THIS book as prophet fo ...more
Jeff
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was truly a brave account of one man's failure in the stock market. Moving all of his family's money into the Nasdaq tech bubble to try and but out his apartment during his divorce, Denby delves into the psychology of investing for the individual and explores some of the main players in the Wall Street scandals during that time. Using his influence as a writer for the New Yorker, Denby was able to interact with a number of Wall Street "hotshots" and follow their rise and fall. A very honest ...more
Laurel
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
David Denby is one angry man. In this mostly "one note" rant, Denby chronicles how he lost (on paper) almost a million dollars during the tech stock bubble and burst. His memoir makes him come off as a very unlikable man. It is somewhat interesting to read about his life in the stock market in the early 2000's given what is going on in the world of banking and finance today. His chronicle of his history with and the downfall of Sam Waskal is intriguing.
Dan Piette
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trying to make a million in the new economy.
Philip Cohen
Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it
The dot-com bubble burst seems so quaint now, but at the time it was a big deal. And Denby does a good job of putting you inside the irrational exuberance of the time.
Damika
Oct 04, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't finish. :-( Maybe another time.
Aharon
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If only there were a Pulitzer for self-impressed obliviousness. He congratulates himself for recognizing 9/11 as a tragedy.
Dan
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's rare that someone writes a book about an incredibly stupid thing they did. That is primarily what David Denby did, and I was glad to learn from his mistakes!
Michele
Jan 04, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I never got through this, finally returned it to the library basically unread.
Adrian Crook
rated it it was ok
Jul 05, 2010
Jason Paulsen
rated it really liked it
Mar 02, 2013
Jay R. shepard
rated it really liked it
Jan 28, 2015
Jim
rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2015
Alan
Dec 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
How to lose money in the last economy.
Richard
rated it really liked it
Mar 22, 2013
Nicole Branan
rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2010
Rob Liebscher
rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2015
Bjorn
rated it it was ok
May 28, 2012
Naomi Kelsey
rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2013
Erin
rated it liked it
Apr 06, 2013
Michael
rated it liked it
Jun 02, 2012
Jrxplor
rated it it was ok
Dec 01, 2016
Aduloju Elizabeth
rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2017
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David Denby is an American journalist, best known as a film critic for The New Yorker magazine. Denby grew up in New York City. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1965, and a master's degree from its journalism school in 1966.
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