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Den of Thieves

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  7,933 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
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Paperback, 592 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Touchstone Books (first published 1991)
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Jeff Swystun
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was interesting to return to this book over twenty years after first reading it. For some reason I consumed the many tales of greed that were published at the time...Barbarians at the Gate, Mr. Diamond, Liar's Poker. A decade later there was the spate of books on Enron, Tyco, ADM. A few short years after that it would be the financial crisis that produced written works to explain the collapse of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and others. And let's not forget the Madoff saga.

Author Stewart asks
Tim O'Hearn
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
A respectable account of the most significant insider trading scandal of all time as well as Michael Milken, the most rapid accumulator of wealth at that time. Den of Thieves is doomed to be remembered as a history book, though. While the author managed to wring every drop of fun out of this story line, which was drawn out beyond any bystander's control, the story often enters dull and tedious stretches. This former New York Times bestseller has been featured on dusty shelfs across the country w ...more
Omar Halabieh
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I recently finished reading Den Of Thieves - by Pulitzer Price Winner, James B. Stewart.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found to be particularly insightful:

Even now it is hard to grasp the magnitude and the scope of the crime that unfolded, beginning in the mid-1970s, in the nation's markets and financial institutions. It dwarfs any comparable financial crime, from the Great Train Robbery to the stock-manipulation schemes that gave rise to the nation's securities laws in the first p
Steve Vockrodt
May 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
If all it took was a major Wall Street scandal to bring down the center of United States financial institutions, it would have ended with the insider trading scandal covered in James Stewart's Den of Thieves. But as we're all too painfully aware, particularly in today's economy, greed and avarice continues to run amok among the investment banks, traders and law firms that make their bread on Wall Street.

As far as Wall Street crimes go, the insider trading scandal of the 1980s was not much differ
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great background from the 1980s for what is going on today (2011) in the financial markets. A wise professor has said that the needs of the financial markets to operate and profit now rival if not surpass our inclination to and institutions of democratic self-government. Witness the Greek government yesterday (3 Nov 2011) backing away from a referendum of the people (regarding their austerity measures imposed by financial powers in France and Germany) in favor of not upsetting the financial mark ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
With all the scandal tarnishing the financial system I have always wondered if there is an inherently corrupting force in anything which can lavishly reward the most extreme personal greed or if it is a question of the regulators catching up with the financiers. In his account of the Milken and Boesky insider trading scandal that bookmarked the 80s, Stewart gives credence to both.

Stewart painstakingly lays out the principal actors, the actions they took, sins committed and what the consequences
Ross McDougall
This was a struggle! If you're a reader who only feels right when they can leave a book at a chapter mark, you will too! :)

A seriously in-depth and well constructed analysis of the Wall Street shenanigans of the late 80's, it's easy to be completely floored by the sheer amount of funds being thrown around on every page. Stewart has clearly done his homework and compiled an excellent inside-story of greed, arrogance and ignorance.

I was enthralled as the house of cards was built higher and higher
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wish I'd read this book a decade ago...
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
For those that remember the high-flying days of the 1980's Wall Street, or even remember the fictional Gordon Gecko of the 1987 MOVIE "Wall Street", this is a definite read.

In fact, Gordon Gecko was inspired BY the real-life characters of this book: Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky. Boesky even spoke at Berkeley in 1986 talking about greed, saying, "I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself". This statement became the impetus of the memorable Gordon Gecko speec
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it
It's a very good book, but I gave it three stars because it's so heavily documented. The subtext of the whole book is "these horrible people did this horrible thing, and probably no one will ever do anything this horrible again". Well, that seems like a pretty naive way for an experienced Wall Street Journal reporter to look at it. And of course in light of what's happened since then, the bad behavior of Mike Milken and Ivan Boesky seems relatively benign compared to the actions that led to 2008 ...more
Absolutely riveting account of a major insider trading ring in the '80s. I'd only heard bits and pieces about it in the past. Although the book is fairly old, it reads very fresh. Greed in finance is an evergreen topic of course. What I liked the most was the examination into the "why" of insider trading. What motivates each player to give into the temptation. Some it was greed. Others were trying to keep up with the Jones'. But with Milken, I never quite understood his motivation. He was brilli ...more
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book took me awhile to get through. Dense and a little tricky to keep all the people/businesses/relationships straight but the overall story was shocking. Insider trading between big names on Wall Street and their eventual demise. It was so interesting but also made me wonder how often this is going on under the radar. It made me feel like a lot.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
A veritable thriller, choke-full of details that really put you on the scene.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating look at the 1980's securities industry and reads like a thriller...
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Insider trading and other financial crimes are complex, hard to detect, very lucrative and, in absence of strong government regulation, it could also become rampant!
This is a crime thriller story featuring a ring of high profile Wall Street financiers who racked up billions in illegal profits at the expense of tax payers and small investors in the 1980's, before crashing and burning at the hands of dedicated, honest and lowly paid law enforcement officers.

The book has a satisfying level of tech
This was similar to The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. I had no idea what was happening with all those dumb financial, banking, or Wall Street business terms. It's all nonsense if you ask me. What would life be like without those entities? That's what I want to know. Yeah this all went way over m head. So if you get this crap then you'll prolly love it, noting the great reviews it has received.
Aaron Arnold
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As with all stories about high-flying 80s Wall Street players, Den of Thieves inspired in me that peculiar mix of disgust and envy - disgust for the unethical behavior and blatant criminality that these guys thought they could get away with, and envy for the amazing lifestyles and sheer balls they had. One of the main characters has a resume created for himself with a hilariously straightforward summary: "Dennis describes himself as a person who truly loves to do two things: do deals and make mo ...more
Brian Martin
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book, pretty dated since it was written in the 1980s but a really in depth look the insider trading scandals of the 1980s.
E. A. Harris
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A classic in the world out finance to be sure.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is very thorough and extraordinarily well put together account what happened in the swashbuckling 80s showing the pinnacle greed. Well worth the read.
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fascinating albeit complicated read about the deeds of a handful of Wall Street investors, arbitrators, brokers and raiders. One definitely needs to have a good grasp of junk bonds and other financial instruments in order to get the full picture. I unfortunately am no one of them, but still found the book to be interesting, illuminating and very comprehensive in its descriptions of events and biographies that unfold in the span of half a decade. This book was a wonderful complement to Barbaria ...more
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Many people remember the 1980s as the age of Reagan, Iran Contra and Raiders of the Lost Ark. But the decade was also an era of outrageous greed, as exemplified in the movie, "Wall Street". In the book "Den of Thieves", James Stewart describes the web of insider trading and other financial crimes that fueled the great Wall Street expansion of the 1980s. Stewart spends the first half of the book outlining the deals, the relationships and the insider trading networks that netted millions of dollar ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book takes the reader through every, and I mean every, detail of the 1980s insider trading scandal. While pretty technical in the accounts of the financial transactions that take place and sometimes difficult to keep track of all the prominent figures who play a role, it is an absolutely fascinating account that highlights the slippery slopes of rationalization, greed, and dishonesty that lead well intentioned individuals (at least not all of them started out as scumbags) to lives entrenche ...more
Connor Clark-Lindh
Shocking and familiar

For anyone struggling to understand the motivations and ecosystem of challenges around the financial system - this is a book to read.

The details are intense and insightful. I found the profiles of the people involved most telling. Their mindsets and decisions and values say more about the challenges we face in a civil society than anything else.
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: finance
Den of Thieves depicts the 80's Junk Bond crisis blaming the entire incident upon 4 man characters, Ivan Boeskey, Marty Siegel, Dennis Levine, and Michael Milken. It's interesting to contrast this group to other book son the topic. It depicts more about the social lives and business approaches of these men, their work dedication and ethic shown in an obsessive way.

I have difficulty giving it more than 3 stars and even considered two. While they clearly did not follow compliance in their dealing
This is not my style of book. Here is why I read it: I was weeding books on the shelves in the library and came across this book (which has never been taken out ). When I saw that it was about Michael Milken (who founded the Milken Family Foundation which grants $25,000 to at least one educator in each state each year and I won the first year NH came on board), I had to read it.

The book explains how Milken and others used junk bonds and their Wall Street knowledge, savvy, and insider -trading to
Dec 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: financial junkies
This book follows the corrupt 1980's rise & fall of Wall Street's biggest insider trading ring in history, ultimately leading to the stock market crash in 1987. The four main men covered are Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and Dennis Levine. While different in their degree & manner of law breaking, the common denominator with them all is the inability to resist financial temptation. These were guys whose genius made them wealthy beyond what most can fathom, but for whom that ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read into the corporate greed factor of the 1980s. I really enjoyed the first part of the book dealing with all the different characters and their roles in insider trading, a lot of detail to understand but done so in a common-sense way. The second half of the book dealt with the prosecution of all the involved parties and gives an inside look at the workings of the justice system, was amazing to see that almost of the involved parties were able to plea down to take lighter sentence ...more
Pat Murphy
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Den of Thieves is a record of the Michael Milken junk bond and insider trading incidence that ended in the late eighties and possibly caused the 1990 stock market crash. The book is written by James Stewart who was a writer for the Wall Street Journal. It is well written and understandable. The author obviously knows the subject well. I only gave the book 3 stars because the actual story didn't interest me as much as I thought it would. At least I now know what it is about. These guys financed t ...more
Kevin Symmons
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not being a financial heavyweight when I was given this while recovering from major surgery I expected to be bored out fof my mind. On the contrary, I was delightfully surprised when after reading a few pages I found myself hooked. This is one those oft-referenced truth is stranger than fiction books. Reading the details of Michael Milken (since his release from a low-security government lockup like other phonies such as Charles Colson...he's found GOD... Gag me with a spoon!) and other scum lik ...more
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James Stewart is a modern-day muckraking journalist, covering everything from malpractice to fraud and law.

While at The Wall Street Journal, Stewart won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his reporting on the stock market crash and insider trading. Stewart is a graduate of Harvard Law School and DePauw University. He lectures frequently on values and ethics in American business and politics. He is a mem
More about James B. Stewart...

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