Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend
It was a time when anything seemed possible–instant wealth, glittering fame, fabulous luxury–and for a run of magical weeks in the spring and summer of 1920, Charles Ponzi made it all come true. Promising to double investors’ money in three months, the dapper, charming Ponzi raised the “rob Peter to pay Paul” scam to an art form. At the peak of his success, Ponzi was raking in more than $2 million a week at his office in downtown Boston. Then his house of cards came crashing down–thanks in large part to the relentless investigative reporting of Richard Grozier’s Boston Post. A classic American tale of immigrant life and the dream of success, Ponzi’s Scheme is the amazing story of the magnetic scoundrel who launched the most successful scheme of financial alchemy in modern history.
The Friendly Thief
By R. Spell "raspell" - April 4, 2005
We've all heard of the Ponzi Scheme, what they referred to in that era as "robbing Peter to pay Paul". But this well researched book traces the tragic story of how Charles Ponzi came to America, what he did before the Ponzi scheme and what happened to him afterwards. It would make a great movie! Situated in Boston, he ran ads for great returns and when many middle class people invested, publicity soon followed with various members of the media warning that it was a scam. No common criminal, he took the press on and argued the opposite winning much public support.
It is a fascinating tale! The side story of the faithful wife who only wanted her husband at home without the money and the final outcome of their marriage is also heartwarming and tragic.
I like business biographies and this certainly qualifies although I wouldn't consider him the classic success story. This book offers so much more with detailed history of that time period and the roles... read more
Great telling of the story behind a household name
By M. Strong - August 1, 2005
I love books that tell the story behind a well-known phrase with a little-known background, so Ponzi's Scheme was a natural selection for me. Turns out it was a great choice. The story of Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant to America, is a fast-moving rollercoaster of a tale told with skill by Zuckoff.
The result is a very readable book with a combination of good lessons for its reader about too-good-to-be-true propositions, great characters, good history, financial lessons, and a tradgedy of Shakesperean proportions.
Highly recommended for history buffs, fans of character-driven stories, people in financial markets, and anyone who's curious to know the story behind the phrase "Ponzi Scheme."
Ponzi: Seductive Scam Artist
By Helder Gil - June 20, 2005
Zuckoff has written a first-class biography of Charles Ponzi. His writing style keeps the reader deeply engrossed in the story and wanting to know what happens next. Zuckoff recounts various communications between the main characters, all of which he says comes from letters, newspaper accounts, etc. He also does a very nice job paralleling the lives of the scam artist, and the newspaper publisher who finally exposes the scam.
Although he was hardly the first to come up with the con game, Ponzi will forever be associated with pyramid schemes and "robbing Peter to pay Paul" schemes. The way he did it was brilliantly simple: Come up with a way of making money that seems completely legal and is relatively easy to explain. Market that scheme to folks that are in the same boat as you (e.g., same industry, ethnicity, religion, neighborhood, etc.) Pay the astronomical returns to the initial investors. Then let their word of mouth recommendations bring in additional investors... read more
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