Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Born to Steal, by Gary Weiss

Born to Steal: When the Mafia Hit Wall Street, by Gary Weiss

This book had great potential, but was ultimately disappointing. Louis Pasciuto was a punk that worked chop houses in the 1990's and got mixed up with the mob. I was expecting Boiler Room, but instead got 54. The text is largely quotes from Pascituo, sometimes going on for pages at a time—so much so that Pascituo should claim co-authorship. Pascituo comes off as a poorly educated thug, almost a caricature you'd see on The Sopranos. Weiss does a poor job of explaining how someone like this could successfully sell stocks over the phone, a job that requires considerable persuasion. The most glaring flaw, though, was that Weiss matches Pascituo's tone and language throughout, meaning even when not reading direct quotes we get profanity and off-color similes such as, "one of the firms he changed as often as whores changed tampons." While the actual story told is fairly interesting, the book itself is a bit of a mess.

First Sentence:
Louis always knew that Santa Claus was a crock of shit.

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