Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Catch Me If You Can” as Want to Read:
Catch Me If You Can
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Catch Me If You Can

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  54,498 ratings  ·  2,513 reviews
8 hours and 36 minutes

Frank W. Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, and Robert Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law with
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published September 13th 2002 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published 1980)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Catch Me If You Can, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
James It really depends on the maturity level of the person. It does contain a lot of reference to sex, as that is the largest motivator for the author. But…moreIt really depends on the maturity level of the person. It does contain a lot of reference to sex, as that is the largest motivator for the author. But it isn't explicit or crude, nothing is actually explained. the language isn't bad either, maybe a couple swear words but not anything R rated.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  54,498 ratings  ·  2,513 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Catch Me If You Can
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and unbelievable

It amazes me that Frank Abagnale got away with all of his cons for as long as he did. He is a man of sharp wit and unduly intelligence. This is a story of white-collar crime and lies. Big, fat, whoppers. If you've seen the movie, Catch Me if You Can and have enjoyed it, you will definitely enjoy this one. This book is heavy on the entertainment and I have no problem with that. A very quick, easy read. Although this is non-fiction, it reads like a modern-day thriller.
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"What I learned from this book," Goodreads asks? That "con man" really does mean "confidence man": the more you act like you deserve something, the more likely you are to get it.

A precocious child who devised clever modes of personal gain, Frank A. grew into an even smarter man. He faked college degrees, professional affiliations, career histories - pretty much everything, including his name. Without any relevant schooling, throughout his life he "was" (meaning he successfuly convinced people h
Gary Taylor
Although I knew the ghostwriter, Stan Redding, as far back as the 1970s and in the 1980s when this shot to the top of the bestseller lists, I never sat down to read it until 2008. When I was done, I couldn't understand the fuss. I've had to chalk it up to the tenor of the times, in which any sort of true confession like Abagnale's would seem a revelation. In addition, I am sure the excitement of such an accomplished, child-prodigy con artist overshadowed the omission of some elements I would hav ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
One of the New York cops who’d worked hardest to catch me read the report and snorted. “This head doctor’s gotta be kiddin‘ us,” he scoffed. “This phony rips off several hundred banks, hustles
half the hotels in the world for everything but the sheets, screws every airline in the skies, including most of their stewardesses, passes enough bad checks to paper the walls of the Pentagon, runs his own goddamned colleges and universities, makes half the cops in twenty countries look like dumbasses w
Tom Quinn
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned early that class is universally admired. Almost any fault, sin or crime is considered more leniently if there's a touch of class involved.

Charming and riotously entertaining, captivating and devilishly debonair. Crime has no business being this fun.

5 stars.
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is honestly the best book I have read in a long time. It's one of the few that I couldn't put down and had to know what was going to happen next. I know I had already seen the movie, but the book was better. I was disappointed to find out that the movie was actually a watered-down version of the story, and that the events were shuffled around and sometimes completely made up to go along with the flow of the movie. The actual story is much harsher and emotional, and there is really no cat-an ...more
2.5/3 stars for the writing, but a full fledged 5 stars for his confidence and skill.

Frank Abagnale must be one of the smartest criminals I've ever read about. He's quick thinking, and he does his research. I really don't know how he got away with it for so long, and it's pretty amazing. I never have committed a crime and I hope I never have to, but I have to tip my hat to this guy.

Abagnale has successfully scammed everyone from airlines, hotels, and banks to local prisons, hookers, and the FBI.
Tom Germain
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the true crime book that inspired the fun movie starring DiCaprio and Hanks. Truly amazing what Abagnale, a guy who never finished high school, got away with, such as impersonating an airline pilot, a lawyer and a teacher...and all at a very young age. Sometimes the veracity of his claims may be in doubt, as after all, he was a con man, but even if half of it happened as he describes it, it serves as a lesson in human relations, namely that you should never trust what your eyes or ears t ...more
Book Concierge
Digital audio book narrated by Barrett Whitener.

Subtitle depends on the edition: The Amazing True Story of the Most Extraordinary Liar in the History of Fun and Profit! -or- The True Story Of a Real Fake.

Frank Abagnale began his career as a forger, check-kiter and con-man when he was just sixteen years old. His first victim was his own father. By the time he was twenty-one he had passed himself off as a pilot, a pediatrician, a lawyer, and a professor of sociology, and he had cashed over $2.5 mi
Jack Heath
3 Stars. Yes, it's a true story but it's dated in these days of cyber security, passwords, and video surveillance. The very personification of a rascal, Abagnale was a daring con-man who papered many a city with phony cheques. He had many an alias too, Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, etc. with such fake occupations as pilot, pediatrician, lawyer and professor. It was a different time, 1963 to 1969 when he was 15 to 21 years old - long before most of the laxness and loopholes he explo ...more
Sergio Gutierrez
Few have ever really been fooled more than once in their lifetime. And Frank took advantage of that. He saw what the world was offering and cut his way to the top. Wow, prison life in Europe and still wanting more after that; he got what he wanted? He was a good freeloader. How long does it take to dismantle a plane? Frank knew that to get close to the cockpit, knowledge of any engine was thrown out the window. Thus making it an advantage for a common commuter to glide on the rails of the untrai ...more
Nina Ely
Entertaining, if somewhat lightweight. Two big things that hold me back from rating this higher: 1)The author's attitude towards women is stuck pretty firmly in the early 60s. Women, to him, are basically ornaments that are so dazzled by his looks and brilliance that they go along with his schemes unquestioningly. Even women who supposedly played major roles in his life and exploits (including one he nearly married and one who helped him escape from prison) seem to have no personalities of their ...more
Sep 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
The first 200 or so pages--I was SO into. Then, the repetitiveness about how smart he is, how young he was, how he managed to rip of countless people, etc, etc..just got old.

It was a really different feeling than I had from the movie. In the movie, I felt bad for poor Leonardo DiCaprio, and didn't want him to get caught. In the book, I couldn't wait for him to get caught. (And was a little peeved that he ended the book when he escaped--leaving it to the ghost writer to clarify in the afterword.
Ange H
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was very entertaining! I’m not sure I believe half of it, but if even half is true it’s still quite a tale. It was fun to go along for the ride, however exaggerated.

If you’re not familiar with the story, in the 1960s Frank Abignale Jr went on a crime spree of amazing creativity and daring. He posed as an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and a college professor; all the while passing fraudulent checks and racking up a small fortune. Even more amazing, he pulled all this off while he
Joy D
This book is Frank W. Abagnale’s ghost-written memoir of his fraudulent activities from age 16 to 21 in the 1960s, primarily impersonating a pilot and cashing bad checks. It provides insights into how a con artist thinks. I have my reservations about believing the entire narrative without skepticism, as some of these episodes sound like “tall tales.” He offers no proof and there are no footnotes.

For me, this book is just ok. I would have enjoyed it more if it had not included so many demeaning
Lauren Stoolfire
Unbelievable! I had no idea until very recently that one of my favorite movies is based on a true story. While the book is incredible, I think I actually prefer seeing Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg bringing Frank Abagnale's life to the big screen - and yes, for the most part the movie is quite historically accurate considering some of the changes made.

Stop the presses! I'm about to state something I've never stated before.


Frank Abagnale is a genius. Really, he is. He is such a genius, that he does genius things with his genius brain.

Look, I have nothing against authors saying how intelligent their characters are (let's forget that Frank is real, for a bit). However, I do have an issue with the author constantly saying that same fact over and over, as if the very content of the book doesn't already show how intelligent t
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: light true crime

Before I went to see the movie by the same name, I saw a 48 Hours or maybe Dateline....or maybe even, 20/20 (true crime TV series) episode on this case. It really intrigued me. This young conman was able to dupe so many people, and elude the law for so many years. He was able to become a pilot and a doctor! I bought my copy from work (book store) and read it really quickly. I really liked this book. I just ate it up in one sitting. It was a fun read, and for once I was rooting for
Emily Ross
This was the real life story of Frank Abagnale Jr. one of America's best con men. Having successfully passed as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and a lecturer in order to pass forged cheques. It seems rather incredible reading about it, that this was able to happen, but he seems to have helped to have improved security and anti-forgery since his release from prison.

I found the book quite difficult to read and it kinda just ends? It was very abrupt, and I think it would have been better if there had
Jeff Yoak
This was the biggest surprise delight I've had in a long time. This was an absolutely amazing book, and I expected it to be so-so at best. I haven't seen the movie, but am certainly going to.

Abagnale's story reminds me of people I've known, though they were less ambitious than he. In addition to a fantastically entertaining anecdote, this work gives tremendous insight into a certain type of scam artist.

2018: This was fun to read with the kids, but I fear that I've inspired my son to a life of cr
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
I understand now why the movie was based from the FBI Agent's POV. This Abagnale guy is an obnoxious, self-centered, sexist, smug pig and I felt in need of a shower just reading his thoughts. The story itself is interesting and saves the book. Barely. ...more
True story of Frank Abangale's con artist ways. Really enjoyed it! Though the movie with Leo was great too, I loved knowing how the real Frank came to be. ...more
People really liked this book. I did too back in the 80s when it was first published. I thought it was pretty clever of the man to be able to pretend he was a doctor, a lawyer, an air plane pilot and a millionaire. He knew how to make people believe him, and it seemed like he was having fun doing it.

Con artists like this are interesting, but I doubt if you knew him you would feel that way after a while. You really have to sit back and look at what they are doing. Take this guy; he could have ca
I had already seen the movie, years ago. I need to go watch it again, now. But, from what I remember, the movie is slightly different from the book, mostly just less detailed.

When I was a kid, I read "The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes." My sister read "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare." So, I've always veered a bit towards mystery/crime stories, when it comes to stories. Also, as an adult, I've veered more towards non-fiction, so the fact that this is based on a true story, is anot
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the somewhat embellished story of early life of Frank Abagnale when he was one of the most successful con men and tricksters in the world. This is defiantly one of those cases where truth is stranger than fiction.

Before he was 21 Abagnale had a conned millions of dollars out of various institutions and impersonated: a Pan Am Airline pilot, a pediatric doctor, a lawyer and a university professor. While posing as an airline pilot he never actually flew a plane, instead he got free flights
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frank Abagnale was a genuis, albeit a criminal one. This story of his legendary crimes as a con man entertains and demands that the pages be turned quickly. It is both amazing and unnerving at how easily he was able to perpetuate his scams. These same cons would not work today but the sheer ballsiness of his ploys no doubts resonates with present day bad guys. I really could not put it down.
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Romping good fun! You can tell that Abagnale wrote this with another author, but that makes it no less enjoyable. Now I want to re-watch the movie!
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-read
Dipped in and out of this over a few months in between other reads not sure why as it is a lot of fun.
Highly entertaining true story which is extremely hard to believe in places, wow this kid had some b***s to execute such scams while still only a teenager!! You have to laugh if people weren't so willing to turn a blind eye to a handsome guy in uniform he wouldn't have been able to carry out many of his exploits. More details than in the film and it's clear it wasn't all plain sailing!!
Alex Dunn
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it possible to be a pilot, a doctor, a professor, a lawyer, and a millionaire all before you are 21? Frank William Abagnale Jr. completed such feats as a teenager. Forging signatures, swindling checks, and charming every pretty bank teller were part of the normal routine For Abagnale. Mainly “Abagnale” was not his name though, as he had many pseudonyms and fake identities. All of Abagnale's stories and crimes are accounted for in his autobiography, Catch Me If You Can.
Abagnale's first con
Tim Healy
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having never seen this movie, I had a limited understanding of the story. It's, of course, quite good. A friend of mine at work had read it and encouraged me. This is fun, almost in a John Irving way. Irving makes you laugh at things that are horrifying on every level. Abagnale makes you root for him even though you know he's a bad guy. He doesn't even try to present you any evidence that he's not. He pretty much accepts his criminal nature from the start and makes no apologies for succeeding at ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Braveheart
  • A Beautiful Mind: The Shooting Script
  • Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump, #1)
  • The Pursuit of Happyness
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Slumdog Millionaire: The Shooting Script
  • Lift: Five Practices Great Managers Do Consistently: Raise Performance and Morale - See Your Employees Thrive
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (The Wolf of Wall Street, #1)
  • Dead Poets Society
  • The Shawshank Redemption: The Shooting Script
  • Seven
  • The Devil's Advocate
  • Million Dollar Baby: Stories from the Corner
  • James Cameron's Titanic
  • Kodėl gi aš buvau mergaitė? Viena 1945 metų pasitraukimo istorija
  • Gandhi: A Life
  • Dances with Wolves (Dances with Wolves, #1)
See similar books…
Born and raised in the Westchester County city of Bronxville, New York, Abagnale attended Iona Preparatory School, an all boys Catholic high school which is run by the Irish Christian Brothers. He was the third of four children (two brothers and one sister) born to a French mother, Paula Abagnale, and an American father, Frank William Abagnale, Sr.

One of the early signs of his future as a fraudste

News & Interviews

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
74 likes · 11 comments
“What bothered me most was their lack of style. I learned early that class is universally admired. Almost any fault, sin or crime is considered more leniently if there's a touch of class involved.” 49 likes
“When you're up there hundreds of people will claim you as a friend. When you're down, you're lucky if one will buy you a cup of coffee.” 39 likes
More quotes…