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Don't Fall For It A Short History of Financial Scams

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2020-01-02
  • Publisher: Wiley

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Learn financial and business lessons from some of the biggest frauds in history

Why does financial fraud persist? History is full of sensational financial frauds and scams. Enron was forced to declare bankruptcy after allegations of massive accounting fraud, wiping out $78 billion in stock market value. Bernie Madoff, the largest individual fraudster in history, built a $65 billion Ponzi scheme that ultimately resulted in his being sentenced to 150 years in prison. People from all walks of life have been scammed out of their money: French and British nobility looking to get rich quickly, farmers looking for a miracle cure for their health ailments, several professional athletes, and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. No one is immune from getting deceived when money is involved. Don’t Fall For It is a fascinating look into some of the biggest financial frauds and scams ever.

This compelling book explores specific instances of financial fraud as well as some of the most successful charlatans and hucksters of all-time. Sharing lessons that apply to business, money management, and investing, author Ben Carlson answers questions such as: Why do even the most intelligent among us get taken advantage of in financial scams? What make fraudsters successful? Why is it often harder to stay rich than to get rich? Each chapter in examines different frauds, perpetrators, or victims of scams. These real-life stories include anecdotes about how these frauds were carried out and discussions of what can be learned from these events. This engaging book:

  • Explores the business and financial lessons drawn from some of history’s biggest frauds
  • Describes the conditions under which fraud tends to work best
  • Explains how people can avoid being scammed out of their money
  • Suggests practical steps to reduce financial fraud in the future

Don’t Fall For It: A Short History of Financial Scams is filled with engrossing real-life stories and valuable insights, written for finance professionals, investors, and general interest readers alike.

Author Biography

BEN CARLSON is the Director of Institutional Asset Management at Ritholtz Wealth Management. He has spent his career helping various nonprofit, institutional, and high-net-worth clients plan and invest their money wisely. Ben is the creator of a popular financial blog and podcast and is the author of several books including A Wealth of Common Sense: Why Simplicity Trumps Complexity in Any Investment Plan and Organizational Alpha: How to Add Value in Institutional Asset Management.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 No One Sells Miracles 5

Goats as Viagra? 7

Radio 9

The Placebo Effect 10

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation 11

Same as It Ever Was 13

Chapter 2 How to Sell Anything 17

The Count 18

Selling the Eiffel Tower 20

Everyone is in Sales 22

Chapter 3 Fast Money 27

The Promise of Huge Returns with Minimal Effort 29

When Trust Goes too Far 32

Do Your Homework 33

Chapter 4 It’s the End of the World as We Know It 39

Cognitive Dissonance 41

The Man Who Walked on Water 43

No One Knows What’s Going to Happen 45

Why Pessimism Sells Better than Optimism 47

The Value of ‘I Don’t Know’ 48

Chapter 5 Sleight of Hand 51

Bad Brad 53

A Magician Reveals His Secrets 56

Chapter 6 When Success Doesn’t Translate 61

Defeated by Decency 62

Don’t Try to Get Rich Twice 66

Chapter 7 When Fraud Flourishes 71

When There’s an ‘Expert’ with a Good Story 71

When Greed is Abundant 73

When Capital Becomes Blind 74

When the Banking Industry Gets Involved 76

When Individuals Begin Taking Their Cues from the Crowd 77

When Markets are Rocking 79

When the Opportunity Presents Itself 80

When Human Beings are Involved 81

When Innovation Runs Rampant 82

Chapter 8 The Siren Song of New Technologies 85

The Railway Napoleon 87

The Media’s Role in a Bubble 90

The Other Side 93

The Silver Lining of a Market Crash 94

Chapter 9 The Seductive Power of FOMO 97

How to Create a Monopoly 98

The Roaring 20s 100

When the Tide Goes Out 102

Not a Ponzi but Close Enough 103

The Seductive Power of FOMO 104

Chapter 10 Type I Charlatan 109

John Law and the Mississippi Company 111

Speculation is a Hell of a Drug 113

Pop Goes the Bubble 115

Type I and Type II Charlatans 116

Chapter 11 Type II Charlatan 121

The South Sea Company 123

Type II Charlatan John Blunt 124

The Bubble Act 127

The Echo Bubble and Dunbar’s Number 128

Chapter 12 Fooled by Intelligence 131

Newton’s Mania 134

The Problem with Smartest People in the Room 135

Why Smart People Make Dumb Decisions 137

Fooling Yourself with Complexity 138

Chapter 13 How Gullible are You? 141

Ponzi versus Bernie 146

The Sacred Relationship 148

Chapter 14 The Easiest Person to Fool 153

Getting Rich versus Staying Rich 156

Shot out of a Cannon 157

The Biggest Fraud of All 158

Conclusion: Six Signs of Financial Fraud 163

1. The Money Manager Has Custody of Your Assets 163

2. There is an Aura of Exclusivity in the Pitch 164

3. When the Strategy is too Complicated to Understand 165

4. When the Story is too Good to Be True 166

5. When the Returns are Ridiculously Good 167

6. When They Tell You Exactly What You Want to Hear 168

Index 171

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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