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." DonnaSeaman.

Publisher's Weekly Review

"I wanted to be wealthy," Denby bluntly admits near the end of this absorbing memoir of the dot-com boom and bust. "I didn't make it." Like millions of other amateur investors in 2000 and 2001, Denby (Great Books) was swept along by greed, by the nearly messianic belief that the stock market offered easy opportunities for unlimited prosperity. Denby sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Nasdaq, digested unhealthy amounts of CNBC and the Wall Street Journal and forged friendships with some of the era's brightest stars (and, later, its most public criminals). He lost his balance in the excess of the time-stock tickers in strip clubs; parties at executives' lofts-and then lost his money when the market crashed. ("The ax had swung," Denby writes, "and heads lay all over the ground.") Though exceedingly well written, Denby's portrait of the great "Dot Con" generally echoes the sentiments of other, similarly themed books about the period. The work is more appealing when Denby focuses on himself: he had nearly suffered a nervous breakdown when his wife of 18 years left him, and making enough money to buy out her share of their apartment was his initial motivation for investing in the market. Denby brutally details his decline, from a night of impotence to an affair with a married woman, then a six-month obsession with Internet porn-harrowing stuff for a New Yorker staff writer. His dissection of his own Upper West Side narcissism offers some of the most candid critiques of the Manhattan bourgeoisie ever found outside of a Woody Allen film. More of Denby, and less of the Nasdaq, would have made this good book even better.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

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.-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. All rights reserved.