The Match King by Frank Partnoy

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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.

About Frank Partnoy

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Frank Partnoy is the author of F.I.A.S.C.O., Infectious Greed, and The Match King. Formerly an investment banker at Morgan Stanley and a practicing corporate lawyer, he is one of the world's leading experts on market regulation and is a frequent commentator for the Financial Times, the New York Times, NPR, and CBS's 60 Minutes. Partnoy is a graduate of Yale Law School and is the George E. Barrett Professor of Law and Finance and the founding director of the Center for Corporate and Securities Law at the University of San Diego.
Published March 9, 2010 by PublicAffairs. 290 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Education & Reference, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Match King

Kirkus Reviews

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After all, he made real money with a few real businesses.

Apr 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Match King

The New York Times

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By the end of the 1920s, a Swedish businessman named Ivar Kreuger controlled most of the world’s ­safety-match production, as well as important swaths of the mining, timber, telephony, media, banking and construction industries.

Aug 13 2009 | Read Full Review of The Match King

Publishers Weekly

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A fascinating depiction of a man and his era (Greta Garbo makes memorable cameos), this book is a snapshot of a time all too familiar now: a speculative real estate bubble, unbridled consumer spending, investors buying derivatives based on sketchy information and a Wall Street operating by its ow...

Mar 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Match King

The Washington Post

Only in the last couple of chapters, as Kreuger spends days on end locked in his private suite, muttering and nerving himself to suicide, does Partnoy finally seem to find his voice and partially succeed in bringing this infamous swindler to life.

Jun 21 2009 | Read Full Review of The Match King

Huntington News

Frank Partnoy tells us about the Swedish financier who outdid Ponzi, Madoff and the Texan Standford in an elegantly written biography "The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals" (PublicAffairs, 304 pages, $26.95).

Apr 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Match King

Before there was National Student Marketing, Enron, or Bernie Madoff, there was Ivan Kreuger: the "Swedish Match King" of the 1920s and early 30s, who raised millions of dollars from investors through a byzantine maze of preferred stock, options, futures, inflated assets and hidden debt.

Jul 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Match King

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