Summary of Den of Thieves

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Den of Thieves book summary
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Rating

10

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

This classic account of insider trading during the greed decade remains as riveting today as the day it was published. Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart manages to turn an account of the arcane market manipulation that led to the 1987 crash into a page-turner with all the suspense of a detective novel. And while the main villains here - Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky - have faded off the public radar, their philosophical descendants at Enron, Tyco and Adelphia remind investors that greed and market manipulation will never go out of style. Stewart’s richly detailed book is must reading for those who trust their careers or their savings to the markets. getAbstract.com recommends this withering account of over-the-top greed to anyone who works or invests on Wall Street.

About the Author

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart was front-page editor of The Wall Street Journal when this book was published. He’s now a columnist for SmartMoney magazine. His other books include DisneyWar, Heart of a Soldier, The Prosecutors and The Partners.

 

Summary

Merger Mania and a Frenzy of Greed

The spasm of greed, insider trading and market manipulation that gripped Wall Street in the 1980s generated some of the biggest financial crimes ever committed. What was the most shocking element of the scandals? Was it their sheer size? For instance, junk-bond king Michael Milken was forced to fork over $600 million when he pled guilty to five felonies. Arbitrageur Ivan Boesky coughed up $100 million, far less than his illegal profits. Even the piker of the group, investment banker Dennis Levine, paid $12.6 million in restitution for his illegal profits. Or was it the pervasiveness of the crimes? Defendant after defendant in ’80s insider-trading cases wondered why he was being singled out for prosecution. After all, they argued, everyone on Wall Street behaved in a similar fashion. Or was it simply that the greed seemed so gratuitous? Milken was worth billions; Boesky’s net worth topped $100 million; Levine made millions in salary and bonuses. Why would men who were already so rich and powerful feel the need to steal to become even more rich and powerful?

Whatever reasoning motivated these transgressions, they made the 1980s a low...


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