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review 2018-07-04 01:35
No One Would Listen by Harry Markopolos
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller - Harry Markopolos

This is the story of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme from the whistleblower who first reported Madoff in 2000. It was interesting to see how this particular Ponzi scheme worked, how Madoff got away with doing it for so long, and how the 2008 financial crisis caught Madoff red handed and the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) flat-footed. Markopolos kept reporting Madoff and keeping track of Madoff's crimes until Madoff turned himself in. However, Markopolos and his team only kept track of the institutional investors they knew of/heard of who invested with Madoff - even they were surprised at the charities and individual investors that were scammed and how big the fall out was ($65 billion dollars). 

 

Markopolos worked in finance as a quant (quantitve analyst), so basically he was a back room number guy whose job was to come up with new financial products for institutional investors and banks. He and a colleague first came to know of Madoff's financial products in 1999; his employer kept hounding him to come up with something similar to Madoff's products to try and get a piece of the money flowing into Madoff's investments. Markopolos and co-worker (also a quant) couldn't do it and as they tried harder/were pressured to do so, they uncovered the Ponzi scheme and began to investigate in their downtime. Eventually all the members on Markopolos' Madoff team would leave the company, but they continued to work on the investigation. They reported Madoff to the SEC again in 2005 with a more detailed account and a sham of examination by the SEC was conducted. Markopolos has no love for the SEC at all, as it gets clearer the further the story goes on to the point where he is just repetitive out of spite and smugness.

 

Although Markopolos and team were incredibly smart guys, Markopolos' writing makes him out to be the biggest wanker in the story not named Madoff. I couldn't really root for Markopolos to be vindicated because his personality was such a turn off. And why did an editor(s) feel that the story of how he asked his wife to marry him in any way, shape, or form have to do with the story of Madoff? He came out of that section as nothing more than a creepy loser (after pricing out diamond rings, he asked his fiancée if she would consider his paying for her to get a boob job in lieu of a ring okay, as boob jobs were cheaper than a two carat diamond ring). And Markopolos was obsessed with getting paid for his Madoff investigation - one of his demands in the retooling of the SEC is that they needed to pay whistleblowers a lot more money in order to make it more attractive to come forward. 

 

I would try to find a different book to learn more Madoff scam than this book.

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text 2018-07-01 10:00
July 2018 TBR
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller - Harry Markopolos
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - Bryan Stevenson
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States - Sarah Vowell
Negroland: A Memoir - Margo Jefferson
The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas - Anand Giridharadas
Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home - David Philipps
Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killers Revealed - Robert Graysmith
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens - Eddie Izzard
Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press - James McGrath Morris

I am just binging on non-fiction, as it grabbing me so much more than fiction. I went a little OTT at the library and pulled a bunch of books. I have two read-a-thons I am doing towards the latter half of the month.

 

 

1. No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos

         My current read is how Markopolos discovered the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and was the whistleblower that brought Madoff down. He is not kind AT ALL to the SEC. 

 

2. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

           I want to learn more about criminal justice reform, so I am starting here.

 

3. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

              For the July 4th holiday, I am trying Vowell for the first time.

 

4. Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson

               Heard nothing but good things about this book.

 

5. The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas

              True Crime that doesn't involve Wall Street.

 

6. Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home, Uncovering the Tragic Reality of PTSD by David Philipps

                This is a really long title.

 

7. Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed by Robert Graysmith

                 True Crime.

 

8. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

                      True Crime plus history.

 

9. Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard

                      Not a true crime book, lol. Manicure on the cover is beautifully done.

 

10. Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press by James McGrath Morris

                    Also not a true crime book. I wish she was more of a household name today as she was when she was working. 

 

 

 

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text 2018-06-29 19:32
Friday Reads - June 29, 2018
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller - Harry Markopolos
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - Bryan Stevenson
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States - Sarah Vowell
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story - Kurt Eichenwald

I finished Conspiracy of Fools (the story of the rise and collapse of Enron) this morning, went bowling and lunch with the kids, then came home and started No One Would Listen (written by the whistleblower of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme). So No One is my focus to knock out this weekend. After that, I want to get to Just Mercy and for the holiday, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

 

I am getting backed up on reviewing, which is bad for me because it is COYER time and part of COYER is reviewing. So this weekend I will be here writing reviews  - sorry in advance for the review wave coming. Also writing my personal essay and resume for grad school this weekend, as that is all that is left on my end for the application process. I will probably write while watching season two of 30 Rock, my show of the summer to binge this year. 

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review 2018-06-28 12:51
Listen to Your Heart
Listen to Your Heart - Kasie West

When Kate signed up for the school's podcasting class, she didn't expect to be picked as one of the cohosts of the show. Nor did she expect to recognize one of the callers as Diego, the crush of her best friend, who called in to ask for some advice on his crush. And she really didn't expect to begin to develop feelings herself for Diego as she tried to help him and her best friend, Alana, get together.

 

Before I get into what I liked about this book, and I did like things, I just have to say that I hated Kate's podcasting class and teacher. At the beginning, Kate told her fellow cohost, Victoria, that she hated the name Kat, but was fine with Kate (her full name is Kathryn). Victoria preceded to call her Kat on the podcast, which Kate repeatedly corrected. Victoria ignored this. The editing team then removed every instance of Kate correcting her name so that it seemed like she was fine with being called Kat. The teacher heard the podcast and reviewed the edits and said nothing about any of this and started calling her Kat too. When Kate was complaining about how much she hated the name Kat and didn't like the fact that everyone was ignoring her about it, the group she was talking to about it, which included her best friend and her cousin all said she should just go with it because it was a cool name for her podcasting persona. I just was mad at everyone at this point. If someone says not to call them something because they don't like it, then don't call them that. Call them the name they ask. Don't be a jerk.

 

And the podcasting teacher just did not impress in general. Anytime a student made any kind of request, the teacher would force the student to do the exact opposite of whatever they had asked because the teacher knew what the student truly wanted. At the beginning, Kate was told she was one of the hosts of the podcasts. When Kate said she didn't want to be a host, the teacher laughed at her and asked if she really thought she wouldn't have to speak in podcasting class. Considering only 2 students have to speak out of the entire class, that actually wasn't a ridiculous thought. When Kate still asked to not do it, the teacher told her she obviously took the class for a reason. (Sidenote: the real reason Kate took the class was just to be in a class with her best friend. You don't know your students better than they know themselves, teacher.) Kate then told her she wanted to learn the behind-the-scenes stuff for making a podcast, which she won't get hands-on experience for if she's forced to be the host the entire semester. Literally every other job gets to cycle through and practice everything else except the host. Instead of listening to her, the teacher kept her as a host. Your student is telling you she joined the class to learn all the technical aspects of creating a podcast, and you force them to take the one job that prevents them from getting hands-on experience for any of the parts they just told you they wanted to learn about. You are a terrible teacher.
Based on what we see of her, I can just imagine she'd be a nightmare to deal with if you're a student who needed a medical accommodation.

 

But there were things I liked in this book. The romance was pretty cute. I wish there had been more interactions between Kate and Diego. They had a fun and flirty dynamic together. It was easy to see why the two of them started liking one another. They were funny and had some nice banter. And it was pretty cute that Diego kept calling in to Kate's podcast to ask for advice, first on family, and then on his crush.

 

Also great was Kate and Alana's friendship. The two of them were very different personality-wise, but got along wonderfully anyways. Even when they had issues that would have caused major friendship blow-ups in other books, the two of them worked things out without huge fights. Not even the issue of them both liking the same guy was enough to threaten their friendship. They just talked things out. I loved them.

 

Overall, Listen to Your Heart was a cute romance. I could have done without everyone pointedly calling the main character the wrong name and nothing coming of that, as well as not having the teacher who refuses to listen to her students because she knows them better than they know themselves. But the romance was really cute and the main character had a great best friend.

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review 2018-04-22 15:51
Listen to My Trumpet! - Mo Willems
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

What starts out as a simple story about honesty, turns into an adorable tale of friendship.

Very cute book. I really enjoyed the ending. 

As with the other Elephant and Piggie books, the text is simple, the pictures are cute, and it is fun to read together with different voices. This one has the added bonus of making fun elephant/trumpet noises. 

Great book. A very fun read.
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