i've been telling everyone that i want to start my own ponzi scheme. and with this book which i think is the first book about madoff published, and i'm sure with many more to come in future, i will learn his weaknesses and flaws, benefit from hindsight and successfully ponzi off more than $65 billion bucks and live a life of luxury. *eveel laugh*
so arvedlund must be making big bucks off this book. and how did she get to write a book so quickly? simple- she's a journalist who wrote an investigative piece about madoff and his hedge-fund in 2001. And in 2001 she had already found something suspicious about his activities and realised that there was something illegal about it. his numbers just didn't square off. apparently, there were more than just arvedlund who felt that way about madoff's operations, and had reported to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) that they suspected that madoff wasn't what or who he claimed to be. but madoff had EVERYONE eating out of his hands.
i enjoyed parts of the book- understanding madoff's history and how he had spearheaded electronic trading and subsequently built a sturdy and dependable reputation for himself. he did have a successful trading business under his belt before starting a side-line hedge fund operation. but the book did feel a little thin most of the time, spending a lot of pages elaborating about others who had fed into his hedge-fund and stories of major victims to his scheme. it is still early on, and only so much juice can be uncovered in such a short time i suppose.
but the book does give insights into how he got away with it for so many years. what amazed me was how he kept people around him satisfied, so satisfied that it was not in their favour to ask questions. how he managed to build people's trust and how his circle of influence extended beyond him. he had people who trusted him so much that they recommended others to invest with him, no questions asked. he didn't even have to do his own ponzi-ing, his would-be victims helped him grow his scheme bigger that i think even he expected for it to grow.
the other thing that i appreciated from his experience was the importance to call it quits when you have to- not in 2009 mind you, but earlier on, when he first made a loss. madoff claims that it was in 93 (some speculate that it happened earlier, in the early 80s), when he made a loss, then just ploughed new investments into covering his losses, but putting on paper that he had always been winning. i'm sure losing them, owning up then maybe losing his business then, would be less shameful than what's happened now.
it does also touch on the issue of greed. and how greediness does compel us to not see or hear some things, and pretend, as long as we profit from it, that all is ok.
I leave you with my favourite quote from the book, that has given me much food for thought.
" It was a sleight of hand. A sort of kabuki theater," said Robert Macmahon. "The eye sees, the ear hears and the brain believes".
so. does anyone want to invest in this new start-up hedge fund. if you are, do email me. the market is bouncing back and it'll be a good time to profit from it. *eveel snicker*
Labels: eveel reads