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

The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of TrustThe Wizard of Lies by Diana B. Henriques
Published by Times Books on April 26, 2011
Pages: 448
Format: hardback
Genres: Finance, Nonfiction
See it @ Goodreads
four-stars


Synopsis


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 of $65 billion through a fraud that lasted for decades. Many have speculated about what might have happened or what must have happened, but no reporter has been able to get the full story -- until now.

In The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques of The New York Times -- who has led the paper’s coverage of the Madoff scandal since the day the story broke -- has written the definitive book on the man and his scheme, drawing on unprecedented access and more than one hundred interviews with people at all levels and on all sides of the crime, including Madoff’s first interviews for publication since his arrest. Henriques also provides vivid details from the various lawsuits, government investigations, and court filings that will explode the myths that have come to surround the story.

A true-life financial thriller, The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff's remarkable rise on Wall Street, where he became one of the country’s most trusted and respected traders, with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction. It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff’s downfall -- the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities -- and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street.

My thoughts on this book

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 business running on another floor of his company, where he faked everything from stock trades to account statements. She further details how she feels that some of Madoff’s wealthier clients may have understood what Madoff was involved in and withdrawn money because they knew they could. How Madoff was able to fool the SEC several times, mostly because I think they really didn’t want to believe that this could happen. The book deals with the efforts made to recover some of the funds that investors lost. Overall, it is an interesting read.

The author also refers to Harry Markopolos No One Would Listen who spent 10 years trying to get the SEC to really investigate Madoff. I would suggest reading this book also, Markopolos is at times a little over the top but he was spot-on when it comes to Madoff.