A tornado of a tale, this true story of ambition, entrepreneurialship, focus, commitment, team building, ‘brotherhood’, success, money, power and collapse runs FAST from start to finish.
I must preface this ‘critique’ by stressing that I’m working on the facts as presented by the author, Ben Mezrich, that it may well be, of course, that the guys themselves may be unhappy with the way their story has been represented.
A group of guys with an entrepreneurial eye, who spot a void in the market, guys with a head for business but new to that world, they enter it naively, they run before they can walk, the business develops too quickly for them to be able to keep tabs on it and circumstances push them through doors which they wouldn’t, before they hit upon this great ‘idea’, have walked though…
What we see in this tale is how money can ‘change’ and destroy people who, at the starting line, are good guys, guys who wouldn’t dream of doing business with ‘shady’ characters.
I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t read it yet but I think I can say that there is an accusation of theft aimed at one of the protagonists, one of the founders of the business, and I can’t see how it could be true. Sitting on a business which is about to make him a billionaire, why, unless he is chronically greedy, would he steal $800,000 of clients’ money and put the company at huge risk of collapse?
Secondly, the US legislation which put the company into free fall was introduced very unfairly and the interpretation of the law should have been much clearer.
These guys, whilst the money clearly made them dizzy and clouded their views, the lack of clarity in the meaning and intention of the legislation added to their confusion. That said, the fact that they allowed themselves to get caught up with ‘shady’ people, that should have made it obvious to them that things were going very wrong.
On balance, my sympathies are with the guys although I like to think that I’d have dropped out of the market with the other players who walked away, that I wouldn’t have stayed and taken my chances.
It’s fascinating to watch the guys, different characters and personalities, caught up in a whirlwind of wealth creation, watching a group of guys going from making nothing to making millions of dollars A DAY, in a very short period of time, and how it changed them. The wealth was, for them, intoxicating, to say the least!
I won’t say any more or I’ll spoil it for you.
Great book – enjoy.