Madoff pays dividends in book deals

January 16, 2009

Not everyone in the orbit of accused mega-thief Bernard Madoff wants to give him the old pitchfork-and-torches treatment. In the past 24 hours, I received two press releases touting book deals for reporters who are going to write about the man who purportedly stole $50 billion from a variety of rich people, hedge funds, charities and universities.

Here is an excerpt from the first one:

The Portfolio imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. has acquired DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL by Erin Arvedlund, a journalist who in 2001 wrote one of the first critical articles about Bernard Madoff, the recently indicted financier. World rights were bought by Adrian Zackheim, President and Publisher of Portfolio, from Esmond Harmsworth of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. Publication is planned for the spring of 2010.

Arvedlund’s book, combining narrative and analysis, will share the same title as her May 2001 article in Barron’s — one of the first to ask tough questions about Madoff’s surprising results and unusual practices. That article, based on a four-month investigation and hundreds of interviews, was recently cited in an SEC complaint.

And here is the second:

Times Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company and a co-publishing venture between Holt and The New York Times, is proud to announce that editorial director Paul Golob has acquired world rights to a new book by New York Times senior financial writer Diana B. Henriques, which will investigate the crimes and consequences of the Bernard Madoff scandal. The deal for the book, tentatively titled A World of Lies, was negotiated by Henriques’s literary agent, Fredrica S. Friedman.

And a bit more:

Through her long career covering Wall Street, Henriques has developed an impressive roster of trusted sources whose insight and specific knowledge of Madoff’s fraud will provide her book with unmatched depth and breadth. Over the course of her career she has interviewed Bernard Madoff himself several times, and she is deeply familiar with the role he has played on Wall Street as an innovator and, now, as a swindler. No other reporter brings to this story Henriques’s level of experience and knowledge, and her book promises to be the definitive account of what Madoff did, how he pulled it off, how it all came crashing down around him, and its implications in the United States and around the world.

The only question now is which one will get optioned for Hollywood treatment first.


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I don’t know if I should be sad, mad, amused, or something else. The amount of people who are making money on everything from book deals to t-shirts, to cups and mugs to theme songs about Madoff. When I was doing research for a Madoff article (see the link) I found examples of this everywhere. We barely know anything about the case yet there are people writing books with what is “the real truth.”

Posted by elementaryfinance | Report as abusive

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Posted by UnderPricers » Blog Archive » MediaFile » Blog Archive » Madoff pays dividends in book deals … | Report as abusive

Really now, is Mr.”Madeoff” any more of a human being than O.J.Simpson? The only difference is that his victims must live everyday with the losses they have incurred as a result of the confidence they gave him.

Posted by Roger Cline | Report as abusive

That’s the beautiful thing about snake oil – there’s always enough to go round!

If there’s one person you *wouldn’t* want to pay to write a book about Madoff, it’s surely someone who interviewed him several times and spotted nothing wrong. She’s clearly a far better salesman than she is a journalist….

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

I think that they should take everything that they can get from this man(Madoff) now and in the future to help the people that he scammed. The victims do have some responsiblity in this but he should pay for his actions. Where is a person’s accountability and honest responsiblity, if they aren’t responsible maybe they should be taught responsiblity even at his age. He should be living like some of his victims and see how it is to have to be counting pennys!!!!!

Posted by Dawn C | Report as abusive