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Download Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Ponzis Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend, by Mitchell Zuckoff Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (238 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mitchell Zuckoff Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2005 ISBN: 9781415923696
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You’ve heard of the scheme. Now comes the man behind it. In Mitchell Zuckoff's exhilarating book, the first nonfiction account of Charles Ponzi, we meet the charismatic rogue who launched the most famous and extraordinary scam in the annals of American finance.

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 and raked in millions at his office in downtown Boston. Ponzi’s Scheme is the amazing true story of the irresistible scoundrel who launched the most successful scheme of financial alchemy in modern history–and uttered the first roar of the Roaring Twenties.

Ponzi may have been a charlatan, but he was also a wonderfully likable man. His intentions were noble, his manners impeccable, his sales pitch enchanting. Born to a genteel Italian family, he immigrated to the United States with big dreams but no money. Only after he became hopelessly enamored of a stenographer named Rose Gnecco and persuaded her to marry him did Ponzi light on the means to make his dreams come true. His true motive was not greed but love.

With rich narrative skill, Mitchell Zuckoff conjures up the feverish atmosphere of Boston during the weeks when Ponzi’s bubble grew bigger and bigger. At the peak of his success, Ponzi was taking in more than $2 million a week. And then his house of cards came crashing down–thanks in large part to the relentless investigative reporting of Richard Grozier’s Boston Post.

In Zuckoff's hands, Ponzi is no mere swindler; instead he is appealing and magnetic, a colorful and poignant figure, someone who struggled his whole life to attain great wealth and who sincerely believed–to the very end–that he could have made good on his investment promises if only he’d had enough time. Ponzi is a classic American tale of immigrant life and the dream of success, and the unexpectedly moving story of a man who–for a fleeting, illusory moment–attained it all.


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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dmknoell | 2/8/2014

    " Really interesting to actually read the story behind the legend, but this was too heavy on lists-of-facts [long lists] - so it was a catalog but would have been much better with some more analysis of the why and discussion of Ponzi's psyche. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frishawn Rasheed | 2/7/2014

    " I really enjoyed the story of Carlo "Charles" Ponzi and his attempt, albeit misguided, to achieve his version of the American Dream. This book was so well-written that I forgot that I was reading a work of non-fiction. I was captivated by all aspects of Ponzi's ill-fated life and found myself fretting his fate by the end. LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS BOOK "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristi | 1/30/2014

    " This was an account of the rise of Charles Ponzi, who came up with a "rob Peter to pay Paul" money-making scheme in the 1920's so big in scale it has lent its name to every similar scheme since then. Interesting, but could have been half the length. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 1/27/2014

    " A sympathetic biography of the man who nearly took down the Boston banking system. Though I knew how this story ends, having used the term "Ponzi scheme" in conversation, I enjoyed this fascinating look at a man who arrived with a plan that the public wanted to believe in, at just the right time in history. While it was made plain that Ponzi spent a good deal of his days in delusion, I found myself rooting for him at times, thinking, "Hey, maybe you CAN get yourself out of this mess!" It is revealing, in these times of financial crisis, how fragile the financial framework can be, and how one whopper of a situation can threaten the whole system. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 1/18/2014

    " I always wondered what this thief was all about! Sad that people are still gullible enough today to be suckered into this kind of stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 1/18/2014

    " Very good book for anyone wondering about what a Ponzi scheme really is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheel | 1/3/2014

    " I read it a few years ago, before Ponzi schemes were all cool again... enjoyed learning about the guy, may re-read this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leighton | 12/31/2013

    " A primer for Madoff wannabes "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bej | 12/21/2013

    " Interesting and timely history told in compelling narrative fashion; author makes a point of sourcing facts and events as opposed to imagining or inventing scenes and dialogue. Well written and fascinating story. Evokes the era well. Seems ready for a movie adaptation: drama, suspense and romance! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 mayhem! | 12/13/2013

    " A surprisingly fun read. Goes down easy with an almost playful writing style giving a sweet flavor to some careful research. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this story is how short Ponzi's run actually was. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allison | 12/5/2013

    " I loved this! I really had no idea all of the story behind the phrase "Ponzi scheme." The book was easy to follow, even through all of the more tricky financial "calculations" Ponzi was making. Also "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sara | 8/22/2013

    " I don't know, maybe this is actually good, but I got bored after about 50 pages and stopped reading. As with a lot of nonfiction, the style of writing made it seem like the author wanted to show off how much research he'd done rather than tell an interesting story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Knickmeyer | 5/30/2013

    " A good telling of an amazing eight month run "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catheryn | 3/13/2013

    " Irony is that people still fall for these schemes, the only difference was that Charles Ponzi really believed he could make it work! I was intrigued and impressed that he made 7 million at that time. The story makes me want to yell, "show me the money!" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric Ryckman | 8/5/2012

    " A very well told non-fiction story that reads like a good fiction book. Zuckoff had me cheering for Ponzi. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David J. Andrews | 5/16/2012

    " What could be more timely. I read this book to better understand the Madoff affair. These guys are such rogues. But the most enlightening part was to learn how they deceived themselves into thinking they could make it all come out even.........eventually! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 4/21/2012

    " Very well written and interesting story. Incredible that Charles Ponzi's business grew to the size it became in just 9 short months. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alan | 1/18/2012

    " Interesting listen. Author thinks he really thought he could earn the money and intended to pay everyone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesselyn | 8/25/2011

    " A decent book thoroughly detailing Ponzi's Scheme. Not dry, but adds the now stale and predictible flourishes I've come to expect from narrative non-fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abdul Musa | 8/24/2011

    " This book is well written and easy to follow. Of you want a good book about Mr. Ponzi this is your book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank | 6/25/2011

    " Quite interesting. Kind of liked the guy,but that's he point who would trust money to someone you didn't like. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luigib | 5/6/2011

    " Great book to an interesting subject. you always hear of "Ponzi schemes," but you never know where it came from. This book answers that and makes you think the Who should have sung, "We WILL get fooled again." Human nature. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luigib | 12/31/2010

    " Great book to an interesting subject. you always hear of "Ponzi schemes," but you never know where it came from. This book answers that and makes you think the Who should have sung, "We WILL get fooled again." Human nature. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 8/12/2010

    " A very well told non-fiction story that reads like a good fiction book. Zuckoff had me cheering for Ponzi. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abdul | 6/27/2010

    " This book is well written and easy to follow. Of you want a good book about Mr. Ponzi this is your book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 2/2/2010

    " If you've ever wondered what the original Ponzi Scheme was all about, this book details the man and the short-lived financial empire that he built. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 1/28/2010

    " Listened to the audio book. Ponzi was an interesting figure and so was the depiction of the times. Well written in the vein of "Isaac's Storm" or "The Devil in the White City" although it doesn't go as far to interweave several stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 9/15/2009

    " Very good book for anyone wondering about what a Ponzi scheme really is. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristi | 5/19/2009

    " This was an account of the rise of Charles Ponzi, who came up with a "rob Peter to pay Paul" money-making scheme in the 1920's so big in scale it has lent its name to every similar scheme since then. Interesting, but could have been half the length. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheel | 5/12/2009

    " I read it a few years ago, before Ponzi schemes were all cool again... enjoyed learning about the guy, may re-read this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 5/11/2009

    " What could be more timely. I read this book to better understand the Madoff affair. These guys are such rogues. But the most enlightening part was to learn how they deceived themselves into thinking they could make it all come out even.........eventually! "

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