||Frank Partnoy's riveting depiction of how one man, Ivar Krueger, used a labyrinthine Ponzi scheme to single-handedly devour millions of dollars in the 1920s radiates with both historical and contemporary significance. Krueger is now known as "The Match King," because his devious business method of "borrowing" money from Americans and lending it to foreign governments enabled him to secure monopolies on the manufacture of matchsticks in many nations around the world. Partnoy's reports shows how, long before the Internet or electronic banking, Kruegar was able to use a network of false business fronts and a system of repetitive wire transfers to shuffle the money around until only he knew its location. When Kruegar committed suicide in 1932, it was revealed that the huge sums of money which he had smoothly coerced people to invest with him were gone, leading to a global financial panic and the adoption of new securities laws.
||At the height of the roaring ’20s, Swedish émigré Ivar Kreuger made a fortune raising money in America and loaning it to Europe in exchange for matchstick monopolies. His enterprise was a rare success story throughout the Great Depression. Yet after his suicide in 1932, it became clear that Kreuger was not all he seemed: evidence surfaced of fudged accounting figures, off-balance-sheet accounting, even forgery. He created a raft of innovative financial products— many of them precursors to instruments wreaking havoc in today’s markets. In this gripping financial biography, Frank Partnoy recasts the life story of a remarkable yet forgotten genius in ways that force us to re-think our ideas about the wisdom of crowds, the invisible hand, and the free and unfettered market.