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How to Smell a Rat: The Five Signs of Financial Fraud
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How to Smell a Rat: The Five Signs of Financial Fraud

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  87 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
A timely guide to uncovering financial fraud 2008 and 2009 will be remembered for bear markets, a global credit crunch, and some of the largest investment scams ever. But these scams are nothing new, they've been repeated throughout history, and there will certainly be more to come. But the good news is fraudsters often follow the same basic playbook. Learn the playbook, a ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published July 8th 2009 by Wiley (first published 2009)
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Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative, humorous, and easy/quick to read. Avoid if you hate puns (Fisher makes the joke about how to avoid having your money "Madoff with" roughly four hundred times. I always laughed, but I'm not exactly a bastion of maturity). Overall, though, a great straightforward intro to financial fraud; I'd recommend it for folks interested in learning more about investing, definitely.

I almost wish it were longer, just because I want to hear more of the true-crimey backstory on some of these frauds
Viktor Nilsson
I appreciated this as an audio book (listening while doing other things), but I doubt I would appreciate it as a pure read, because it seemed very repetitive. But still, it is informative, sometimes both funny and exiting, an easy read, and contains very sound advice. I recommend it for anyone who'd consider to have anyone else manage their investments.
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like it was dictated on rides to the office, and edited during waits at the airport. The style is conversational with lots of half-sentences ending in exclamation points. It repeats itself repeatedly, stating the same thing paragraph after paragraph, sometimes with a break in-between while a previous idea is re-stated, providing for even more repetition and disjointedness. Along the way he’ll remind you constantly he runs his own financial services firm “the right way,” and that ...more
Abel C
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fisher provides solid advice. But he's naggingly redundant and too conversational for his own good. "How to Smell a Rat" is riddled with many clumsily constructed sentences that require re-reading and head-scratching. Example from page 51: "If a manager doesn't have a stated benchmark, or it shifts around, do additional digging-that could be a bad sign." I also vaguely remember the common adage, "If its too good to be true, it probably is," put through the wringer to become something to the effe ...more
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Savvy guide to avoiding con artists

The unlamented year of 2008 was a terrible time for investors. The news that money wizard Bernie Madoff stole some $65 billion from his investment clients with a giant pyramid scheme added insult to injury. Though already in his 70s, Madoff received a 150-year prison sentence for his thievery. Many felt the punishment was too light. The world is full of crooks and charlatans like Madoff. Fortunately for investors, they often give themselves away if you know how
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A simple, straight-forward primer on how to spot financial shucksters. The 5 signs your adviser might be or could evolve into a rat were helpful:
1) they have custody of your assets
2) returns are consistently great
3) their investing strategy is gobbly-gook
4) they promote benefits like exclusivity which don't impact results
5) You didn't do your own due dilligence

What I found even better was the clear explanations of asset allocation, stock market trends, avoiding accounting fraud, and the pro
I'm not so much interested in investment banking as fraud, but this book was interesting anyway. It's really obvious that Fisher is a magazine columnist first, author second, because the book was subdivided into small sections and repeated itself regularly the way listicle writers seem to. Most of these lessons were ones anyone could learn watching an episode of Leverage (♥), though, so I'd recommend two or three other books on fraud/theft/counterfeiting before this one.
Feb 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book with good information, but a book with good information THREE TIMES! At the end of each chapter, there is a "chapter recap," which, of course, says everything the chapter just did, but in fewer words. Then, at the end of the book, there's an entire "book recap" chapter, which repeats everything the book just said! Could have been a pamphlet . . .
Mardel Fehrenbach
I was given this book and felt obligated to read it. It is a very fast read, and the five signs of financial fraud that Fisher offers seem sound and the advice is useful. However the gist of the book was contained in the introduction; the remainder consisted merely of illustrations of the main points. These chapters might prove useful, especially to novice investors.
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad book on how to spot a fraudster. There are six critical things a investor should focus on before making a decision as to whether to give money to an adviser. Good advice and not a difficult read.
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