Cover image for American sucker
American sucker
Denby, David.
Personal Author:
Special edition.
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, MN : HighBridge ; Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Boosk, [2003]

Physical Description:
8 audio discs (9 hr., 15 min.) : digital, stereophonic ; 4 3/4 in.
The account of the years of madness and then of recovered sanity by the author after his wife left him and he was determined to keep his New York apartment and so plunged into a season of mania in the stock market, swept forward on the currents of greed, hucksterism, and native American optimism.
General Note:

Compact disc.

HBP 89315 is the publisher's no. on the disc. B1284 is on the container.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HG4910 .D4562 2003 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



Join David Denby, New Yorker critic and otherwise sensible man, on a whirlwind ride through an exuberant stock market, investment feeding frenzy, and the cataclysmic result of greed and illusion.David Denby was a happy man, a content man with a good job, a wife and two sons, and an Upper West Side apartment. But in 2000, his wife asked for a divorce and he needed to hold onto his beloved home. Denby's account of his frenetic, irrational lurch toward the gold parallels the wild, dangerous and finally tragic era of an inflated stock market, inflamed greed and the willful blindness of the nation during the first three years of the millennium.Seduced by stock analysts, CNBC, tech gurus, and lying CEOs at investment conferences, Denby plunged into a season of mania. He befriended people like ImClone founder Sam Waksal and Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodgett, both now disgraced by scandal. As he explores his own motives, actions, and illusions, Denby reveals the underbelly of the irrationally exuberant beast that clutched the throat and brains of most Americans during the late 1990s and early 2000s. American Sucker is a wise, bitter, humorous, and candid memoir that documents one man's confrontation with midlife changes, money, illusions, and shifting values.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The stock market was booming in 2000, and Denby, film critic for the New Yorker and author of Great Books (1996), found himself channeling his anger and grief over his wife's decision to end their 18-year marriage into investing. Convinced that the only way to redeem his shattered life--and hold on to the comfy Manhattan apartment he and his wife, the novelist Cathleen Schine, and their two teenage sons had called home--was to make $1 million, this humanistic critic became utterly obsessed with trading, even using his journalist credentials to get close to the likes of Sam Waksal, founder of ImClone, one of the hot but doomed companies fueling the now infamous high-tech bubble. Denby is always worth reading, but he really tops himself in this riveting apologia. Habitually observant and eloquently analytical, possessed of a deep frame of reference and philosophical turn of mind, Denby turns his chronicle of trading madness into a compelling meditation on greed, time, the great ends of life, and the baffling phenomenon of mass delusion. We can be suckered by apparent success, Denby writes, but the greater fault is to be suckered by failure. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

When New Yorker film critic Denby begins his memoir, the year is 1999 and his marriage had just ended. ?Having lost the greatest thing in my life,? he says, ?I feared I would lose another and another.? So Denby sets out to ride the NASDAQ bull. What follows is his account of making and losing over $900,000 as the NASDAQ crests and collapses. All the while, Denby carries on a running meditation on greed. He recalls a time when investment was ?part of pop culture? and even the guys selling papers had stock tips to pass on. Boutsikaris, the Obie-winning actor who reads the memoir, offers a tour de force performance. He understands irony, managing, in the space of a few moments, to sound self-indulgent, self-deprecating, stunningly sincere and painfully intellectual. At times, the author gets caught up in discussing the history of other booms and the nature of capitalism, but the energy level of Boutsikaris?s reading never flags. He captures the author?s sense of wonder and betrayal and Denby?s final realization that, despite maladies aplenty, the economy remains resilient, as does he. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 24, 2003). (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Denby, a film critic for The New Yorker and author of the best-selling memoir Great Books, has written an aptly titled cautionary tale about playing the stock markets and losing big time. Facing financial difficulties in 2000, he focused his energies on investing with the aim of making a "million dollars." To that end, he obsessively watched CNBC, became conversant with the day-to-day workings of the markets, followed up on investing tips, amassed a portfolio of mostly speculative tech stocks, and hobnobbed with the likes of Sam Waksal and Henry Blodget. He had become (in his words) "the momentum investor who loads up on a hot market sector." Then the inevitable happened: the bubble popped and his investments tanked. While the author's credentials as a film critic are impressive, his personal narrative rationalizing his kamikaze-like investing behavior is neither terribly original nor sympathetic, as the story has been told many times before and with more success. Denby comes across as just another unlucky, disillusioned investor who is poorer but wiser at the end of his tale. Not recommended; for a much more satisfying explanation of how the stock market bubble collapsed in 2000, look to John Cassidy, another New Yorker writer, who provides the best analysis in his exemplary Dot.con. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/03.]-Richard Drezen, "Washington Post," New York City Bureau (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.