Good book. Makes you want to stuff all your money in a safe deposit box instead of investing.
I read this book quite some time ago and it still rankles me as to how the government would not have listened to a guy who was speaking common sense about the biggest fraud artist in history. When you're say you're trading more options than there are actually available to be traded (especially "put" or sell options, and that was the fix here - oversells on the S&P 100), you're a scam artist. Mark Markopolos is a hero in my book for having the guts to have called out Bernie Madoff well before the house of cards collapsed. His analysis is a primer for anyone who has trouble reading through a "prospectus" for any mutual or hedge fund. Simple solution: If it doesn't make sense, it doesn't. If it's too good to be true, it is.
To accept this book, one must accept its basic supposition: that the majority of the financial system are "honest" and that Madoff was a "criminal" within that "honest" system. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the facts unequivocally state that at the very least, the vast majority are dishonest, and an honest person would stand out like a blinding light! Madoff most certainly was not "greatest financial criminal in history" and that epithet should be bestowed among those at the largest criminal organization in America, JP Morgan Chase! And the SEC has been shown, time and again, to rigidly follow the dictates of those criminals at the Federal Reserve Bank (and anyone who has viewed the Inspector General of the entire Federal Reserve System testifying before Alan Grayson, should already know this - - and just think of how many more cases like this there might have been, had not thousands of SEC files not been destroyed in Building 7 at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01).
This is a fascinating and important book. It's just too bad that the author is such a drama queen, spending endless pages worrying that Madoff (or Maddoff's presumed illicit customers) was going to send someone to kill him.
Once you get past that, this is a book that everyone with any money saved up should read. As one other reviewer said, what is safe besides your mattress or MAYBE a safe-deposit box? It's bad enough that no one would listen to Markopolos's complaints about Madoff, but the SEC blew off dozens of other complaints submitted by Markopolos for other trading practices that are supposed to be against the law. And, to hear Markopolos tell it, he's pretty much written up their case for him.
The biggest flaw in the book is probably the author's nasty contempt for the SEC. And it's not that the SEC doesn't deserve contempt, it's more the tone and intensely personal way Markopolos dishes it out. The problem with all big bureaucracies is that no one at the level he was dealing with is a free actor, so insulting the intelligence and abilities of individuals at the SEC without knowing whether they were deciding on their own or whether their bosses shot down Markopolos's cases is just petty.
Again, HIGHLY recommended for anyone with more than two nickels to rub together.
Faced with evil, we’re compelled to fight, flee, or collaborate. Harry Markopolos’s employers insisted that he collaborate to the extent of creating a financial product that could compete with the performance of convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff. Trouble was Madoff was a crook. How do you compete with a crook without becoming a crook yourself? How do you compete with a crook who’s not yet recognized as a crook, but, instead, is regarded as a prominent businessman and civic leader? Markopolos’s employers didn’t care that Madoff was illegal. They wanted Markopolos to produce. That’s when Harry Markopolos became the mouse that roared. Markopolos says he knew within five minutes of examining Madoff’s performance that Madoff was illegal, and likely a Ponzi schemer. Five minutes. What follows in No One Would Listen is a tale of Markopolos’s investigation into the workings of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme before it collapsed, taking with it some $65 billion, about the annual state products of Wyoming and Vermont combined. Working on their own time, Markopolos and a volunteer team tried desperately to prod the incompetent and comatose Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Madoff. They also tried with modest success to persuade journalists to look at Madoff. Ultimately, though, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was exposed when he couldn’t find enough fresh sucker money to pay off the previous suckers. There’s an astonishing sentence in the foreword written by investment manager David Einhorn. “For years, I observed and experienced the [Securities and Exchange Commission] protecting large perpetrators of abuse at the expense of the investors whom the SEC is supposed to protect.” (Emphasis added.) You have to ponder that sentence until the full import kicks in. I feel Harry’s pain. I was something of a health care activist for years. Like Markopolos, I had enough of a technical background to know my subject, and I worked among people who like to regard themselves as certifiably smart. Maybe I could exercise some citizenship chops, I thought, and figure out why health care debate is such a rhetorical cesspool. I wrote copiously and assembled a 1200-page manuscript, some of it published as letters and brief essays. I did local radio, wrote advertising copy for a failed health care initiative, and publicly tried to make sense of health care. What a darned fool I was! Like Harry, I learned that the Big Money writes its own rules. I was placed under unwarranted surveillance by people you’d regard as civic leaders, credibly threatened by a crooked cop and others, smeared, harassed, intimidated, you name it. At times viscerally scared, I never packed heat as Harry did, although I had plenty of reason to. Democracy in action, yeah. A semi-retired advertising guy and technical writer, I learned a lot about The Suits from the experience. Rorem-Kimball—your group health insurance model—will collapse, but, as with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, no one wants to hear it aforehand, right? No One Would Listen could have benefited from stronger writing and editing. There’s a crisp 200-page book in this 350-page work. No matter, though. Markopolos’s experience and observation are portrayed with such brutal frankness that his book deserves a wider readership among people concerned with the fate of their country.
You might want to consider keeping your money under your mattress after reading this. It is quite obvious the people charged with keeping an eye on the stock market are not taking care of business. But this is an amazing story. Pretty far fetched if it were fiction, but it is not. The writing could be stronger but this isn't a book one reads for the quality of writing.
The chronicle of one man who saw through Madoff's scam and tried to warn everyone. The author's frustration is stated in the title, of course. While you may think that this book is for business readers only, its message of having integrity and not giving up when you know you are right is something that anyone can relate to. Read it!
Lots of stuff that makes you really wonder about the total lack of values on Wall Street and the incompetence of the SEC but reading the book also gives you a sense of why Markopolos was ignored by so many.
So lots of (sophisticated) investors knew that Madoff was running some kind of scam, but Markopolos was one of the few that thought the SEC would care (bad idea), hopefully things improve (but don't put money on it)
The story of how the SEC ignored reports by this author about the "ponzi" run by Bernie Madoff for more than 8 years! The equivalent to "All the President's Men", but for the Financial Securities field, and without the successful outcome. The author is a finance expert or "quant", so the story is not well written, but nonetheless it is extremely interesting and informative, thereby getting my highest rating
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