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2004 Forbes Magazine Article

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Sensei's World
Benjamin Fulford, David Whelan, 09.06.04
Soka Gakkai, a strikingly wealthy Japanese sect, tries again for U.S. glory with a splendid new campus. Daisaku Ikeda's unaccountable empire can thank lax treatment of the nonprofit world.
Walk the hilly campus of Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, Calif. and you enter the fabulous world of the international nonprofit. The three-year-old school has so far put about $300 million into its 103 suburban Orange County acres, and this is still a work in progress. As of this fall, only 400 students will meander among the rich, Romanesque architecture.
The primary benefactor of Soka U is a controversial offshoot of Japanese Buddhism called Soka Gakkai, headed for 44 years by the sometimes messianic and persistently self-aggrandizing Daisaku Ikeda. But significant secondary support comes from favorable tax treatment in Japan, the U.S. and around the globe, just as enjoyed by other philanthropies big and small. In the U.S. the nonprofit sector is spending $875 billion a year and employs 9% of the work force yet has precious little accountability, other than the public financial statements required of most charities. Religious entities don't even have that degree of accountability. They enjoy all the benefits of tax exemption without any requirement that they say what they are up to.
Soka Gakkai is a shadowy case in point. Ikeda, now 76 and president of Soka Gakkai International, the sect's global umbrella, claims 12 million followers and has amassed an empire that was put at $100 billion by a Japanese parliamentarian a decade ago. (The sect says that's wrong but otherwise won't comment on its finances.) A nasty split from Nichiren Buddhists set off a cycle of alleged violence, blackmail and intimidation. Soka Gakkai members in Japan have been charged with illegal wiretapping and breaking into private databases. The sect says it has nothing to do with those activities, noting that its ranks include nearly 10% of all Japanese. But yet-darker allegations have been made (see box, p. 130).
Soka Gakkai (literally, "value-creating society") brings in, conservatively, $1.5 billion a year to the top line, according to our best estimates of its membership, its tithing demands and its commercial activities. Most of that revenue is collected in Japan, where the sect sells its flock funeral plots, assorted religious paraphernalia and a newspaper (5.5 million subscribers). The group's far-flung international assets include estates in France and the U.K. In gilded Santa Monica, Calif. a Soka-owned office high- rise and auditorium sit across Wilshire Boulevard from each other, near the town's beach. In the nearby hills a Soka affiliate holds the King Gillette Ranch-- which was used for footage of "Tara" in the film Gone with the Wind. A thousand spiritual centers worldwide include a site worth $6 million near New York City's Union Square.
In wealth and claimed following, Soka Gakkai exceeds more familiar sects such as Hare Krishna, the church of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and today's hippest (Madonna, etc.) group, members of the Kabbalah Centre. In the U.S. a church can lose its federal tax exemption for getting into politics. Soka managed to get around a similar restriction in Japan, where Ikeda has built up a political party, New Komeito, that helps the long-governing Liberal Democrats hold power.
Soka University of Japan opened in 1971. Soka University of America, first established in 1987 on what is now a graduate campus in Calabasas, Calif., near Malibu, recently obtained preaccreditation for its undergraduate program from an outfit certified by the U.S. Education Department. A parallel process that will cover graduate students also is moving forward.
The preaccreditation means that for the past year American undergrads at Soka U--which reported to the IRS that its assets exceed $740 million--have been eligible to obtain up to $23,000 in federal Stafford loans over the course of their education. Needy recipients can get up to an additional $4,000 a year in Pell Grants.
What are Ikeda's aims? Five years after gaining command of Soka Gakkai, he told a Japanese writer: "I am the king of Japan; I am its president; I am the master of its spiritual life; I am the supreme power who entirely directs its intellectual culture." In the years since, "world peace" has been the sect's mantra. New Komeito promotes pacifism in Japan. Representatives of the sect have worked the UN and other official venues touting international harmony and goodwill--and usually Ikeda. Followers mount a traveling show equating him with Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.
In the sect's 1,000 meeting halls Soka members exercise the "life-enhancing" power of chanting. Believers are encouraged to be "many in body, one in mind." This means "You have to make sensei's [teacher's] heart your own. You have to fulfill [Ikeda's] dreams instead of your own," maintains Lisa Jones, a former aide and follower who ghostwrote an Ikeda book and now maintains a Soka-doubter Web site. "His dream is kosen-rufu, or what Soka members call ‘world peace,' which will be achieved when one third of the world chants, one third merely celebrates Ikeda, and the other third doesn't care," she says.
A Soka bid for favor in the U.S. a generation ago, drawing on the era's culture clash and some affiliated celebrities, attracted unwelcome press, and the sect receded a bit. But it has never given up efforts to establish legitimacy and further Ikeda's vision. He founded the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century in a 13,000-square-foot Georgian building next to Harvard University. Ikeda has enticed Mikhail Gorbachev and Henry Kissinger into numerous discussions. He also met with historian Arnold Toynbee, double Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling and civil rights figure Rosa Parks (Soka's U.S. arm boasts a sizable black membership). Some of the conversations with luminaries have been published and sold.
More idealistic or benign than sinister and manipulative? The veil that surrounds the nonprofit world, especially religions, ensures that only the outlines are visible. Soka University files an IRS form; the organization behind it doesn't.
Congress is training its sights anew on nonprofits. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, held hearings in June on tax-exempt abuses. "Far too many charities have broken the understood covenant between the taxpayers and nonprofits," he said. He was angered by local news reports about the looting of family foundations. On Aug. 10 the Internal Revenue Service promised to increase from 230 to 300 the agents it assigns to nonprofit entities. This tiny crew is supposed to take on 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations and an estimated 400,000 additional religious groups that do not have to submit annual tax forms to the IRS. Investigations are typically initiated only in response to complaints. Exceptions to this passive role include the IRS' decades-long losing war with the Church of Scientology.
In the post-Sept. 11 era some Muslim groups have come under scrutiny for ties to terrorism. The Department of Justice recently prosecuted the former head of the American Muslim Council and indicted seven leaders of the Dallas-based Holy Land Foundation. But unless you're tied into terror, you can shout from the rooftops and no one is likely to come looking at your books. "Every revenue agent you assign to a corporate tax return will generate millions of dollars. Every [revenue agent] you assign to a tax-exempt one may not pay his own salary," says Marcus Owens, who headed the IRS' Exempt Organizations division from 1990 to 2000 and is now a private Washington attorney.
So the Ikeda-related wealth here is virtually untouchable. In Japan, Soka has not only its 8,000-student university but also its enhanced political power. At least 20% of the Liberal Democrat deputies could have lost without the support of Soka followers last October, enough to give the opposition Democratic Party a plurality in the Diet. "It's like becoming addicted to amphetamines," says Katsuei Hirasawa, an LDP member of parliament, of his party's link with Komeito.
In a July op-ed in the Asahi newspaper, Koji Ishimura, a professor of tax law at Hakuho University, argued that Soka's political activities were an abuse of its status as a religion. "The influence of a ruling party that relies on a specific religion's organization to form its power base is growing stronger," wrote Ishimura, who called for Soka's donations to be taxed.
Ikeda established his fundraising prowess early on. According to University of North Carolina professor James White, who wrote a book about Soka, Ikeda threw a scare into the Japanese insurance industry in the 1960s in a crash four-day drive for a key temple at Mount Fuji. Record sums were raised, with some members cashing in life policies to help.
Soka's initial U.S. academic beachhead in rustic Calabasas met with bustle-wary neighbors. After an extended development fight, the 660 acres today may be home to only half a dozen linguistics students destined for jobs as language instructors for Japanese Soka emissaries.
The action shifted to Aliso Viejo in 2001, with promises of a nonsectarian institution with a first-rate library and renowned secular faculty. The new master-planned community was accommodating. Campus athletic and arts attractions, as well as the library, were open to the public. Popular U.S. author Joe McGinniss was a notable instructor hire.
But reality began to kick in when McGinniss and others complained of interference from on high. Several staff have left--McGinniss' contract wasn't renewed--and one sued. Another filed for arbitration and lost.
Earnest university officials are at pains to showcase an arts-and-letters idyll devoted to the betterment of mankind. Soka U insists it is an independent, nonsectarian school not even as religiously influenced as, say, Brigham Young or Notre Dame universities. But at least a majority of Soka U's trustees have direct Soka Gakkai connections. Today 70% of matriculants are Soka Gakkai members.
Some secular faculty felt squeezed. The university was sued in 2002 by Linda Southwell, a fired fine arts professor. Her complaint disputed a "commitment to rigorous academic endeavor, free and open dialogue, and an appreciation for human diversity" when "in reality the curriculum is intended to reflect cult beliefs and perspectives" and speech and association are limited. She also claimed Soka members were favored faculty.
Soka University settled the discrimination and wrongful termination in a "satisfactory" manner that included a confidentiality clause, Southwell's lawyer Brian Glicker says. Another professor, who quit her "frightening" job, begs off discussing the specifics of her beef.
Glicker maintains he's heard from several other non-Soka Gakkai International staff members. "Many or most non-SGI staff or faculty are at least considering leaving," says one disaffected professor. "The university was only able to hire 7 or 8 of the 21 faculty it tried to hire." University officials say they'd not heard this and attribute departures to the growing pains of a new school. They claim an 81% retention rate.
An initial goal of 1,200 students remains a ways off. Has the academic friction been a roadblock? The university says more hiring and building await full accreditation, which it expects soon. On campus, the image is of serenity and strength. The buildings use the same stone featured in the Colosseum in Rome. Ikeda insisted on using it because he intends his university to last 2,000 years, a Soka U spokesman explains. The campus also sports a security camera network rivaling that of any casino.
The university includes a sizable "guest house" and a larger "athenaeum" overlooking a regional park. The sumptuous residence is set aside for VIPs, such as, in the words of one university official, "the president of Venezuela or Daisaku Ikeda." It has ornate furniture, a portrait of Ikeda and many artworks, all covered in white cloth until the VIPs show.
The undergraduate catalog says that "as leaders and decision makers," Soka's graduates "will be guided by the ideal of a contributive life, a humanistic approach drawn from Buddhist thought." But Soka Gakkai newspapers and other publications, filling a prominent shelf in the Soka University library--named for Ikeda--all feature Ikeda's interpretations of Buddhism: To wit, achieve world peace and democracy by becoming one in Soka and chanting. The university notes it also has other Buddhist texts.
Like other students approached at Aliso Viejo, Fabiana Sanchez, 21, a senior and a Soka Gakkai member, says she wants to do something for society or peace. She plans to return to her native Venezuela upon graduation and get involved in some sort of work "linking education and politics."
Soka U denies a rumor that the aging sensei plans a visit soon to his American academic citadel. Succession at the sect's helm is uncertain: Two sons are vice presidents in Soka but the sect denies a hereditary rule. Meanwhile the tax-favored billions continue to roll in, almost entirely outside the purview of authorities anywhere.
Chant of the Faithful
Prominent believers in Soka Gakkai include Mariane Pearl, the widow of murdered journalists Daniel Pearl, jazz musician Herbie Hancock and Patrick Duffy of Dallas Tv show fame. Singer Tina Turner was identified with Soka Gakkai in years past, but her spokesman would not confirm an association.
As of this fall, only 400 students will meander among the rich, Romanesque architecture.
They're still only having around that many students, and here we are, over 15 years after that article was written. Part of it is that Soka U rejects a large number of applicants because doing so creates a metric that is used to indicate "exclusivity" by ranking agencies. Will Soka U ever reach its goal of a 1,200-strong student body? My sources say No.
The sect says that's wrong but otherwise won't comment on its finances.
That's exactly the kind of criticism we get here from the SGI crusaders who pop in - they'll say "That's wrong" but never provide any documentation or even explanation as to why. We're expected to change everything on the basis of their "That's wrong". That's more of that "entitlement mentality" we were recently talking about.
the Ikeda-related wealth here is virtually untouchable
There is no financial transparency, no independent audits, no oversight by any outside agency. Remember that any time any SGI promoter talks about having reviewed their financials - never gonna happen.
efforts to establish legitimacy and further Ikeda's vision. He founded the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century
That building has since been renamed "The IKEDA Center for something, something, and something else". Who here is surprised?
In the U.S. a church can lose its federal tax exemption for getting into politics.
This is why Ikeda forbade the overseas organizations from forming their own "Komeito" political parties back in the 1970s. That ban remains in place.
Ikeda insisted on using it because he intends his university to last 2,000 years, a Soka U spokesman explains.
Oh more of this grandiose blather. Ikeda just loves talking in multiple thousands of years. The Sho-Hondo was supposed to last 10,000 years, if anyone remembers. Where's your Sho-Hondo now, Scamsei?? Ikeda apparently thinks talking in large terms will make him larger than life.
The sumptuous residence is set aside for VIPs, such as, in the words of one university official, "the president of Venezuela or Daisaku Ikeda."
It's just another "Ikeda House" (so of course it's "sumptuous", since it's for Scamsei) but they have to make it sound like it's more than just a private residence for Ikeda, because that will get them in trouble with nonprofit laws in this country. I'm betting NO ONE has ever stayed in it, since that was after Ikeda stopped traveling.
Singer Tina Turner was identified with Soka Gakkai in years past, but her spokesman would not confirm an association.
Ms. Turner isn't about to alienate any category of potential fans.
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(Selling) CA and UK Google Play - $2 each

CA and UK GP - $2 each USD Paypal Friends & Family (list and links below)
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Canada GP: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KcfSCRq7fXxkHv5RHlucrz9wA-ccdal17OmGJsu8phc/edit?usp=sharing
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WINk AMA - Nov 28, 2019

  1. When will multi currency be 100% and when can we expect multi divs and what will that look like?
Multi Currency has been out for a few weeks now - So far we have optimized deposit and withdrawal time, security, etc. The next step for us is to add other tokens - for example we are working on BNB and XRP integration as we speak (BNB was finished yesterday - will be testing today). Once security, transaction times, and all partners support all tokens, then we will take it to the next step.
At this time, we are not able to show what the final step is, as it is confidential. But rest assured, after multi-currency is complete, mass marketing plan will be in action.
I think those who ask about marketing need to understand that multicurrency is a fundamental need before this happens
i dear to say that most if not everyone who holds tron, knows about wink - if we mass market right now we can only market to these users. hence, marketing spend going down the drain.
Mass marketing will be a two-prong attack
  1. multi-currency so that we can onboard other crypto users
  2. for the average joe - this is when we implement our plans to decrease the barrier for new users so that they don't need to understand the blockchain or how a decentralized wallet works and can still enjoy everything that WINk has to offer
  3. When will Live and Dice be on exchange?
I don't have an exact time for this right now. Originally it was when 50% is mined, we then decided to launch after multi currency is 100%, but it may be sooner, it may be later. Either way - we will for sure let all of you know before it does launch
  1. When Hash Lotto?
I just checked up on that two days ago, it's actually more or less ready - still more testing to do, as the digits used for the lottery is dependent on the hash key - we need to ensure that it is as smooth as possible - we hope to give you guys a seamless experience like DICE
I think before the end of the year, for games i'd say you can expect to see at least 1 more game for DICE, and more slots + a new game that I believe will be bigger than monopoly
Matchnet and other "partners" will most likely be Q1 2020
  1. When are we going to resolve the 8 million per day trx withdrawal limit on live platform, and when are we going to bring back the removed Slots from Platipus?
Regarding platipus, their CEO and I had a call two days ago, as we will most likely work directly with them, and ensure that platipus slots/games support all cryptocurrencies offered on the WINk platform. Furthermore, we have also discussed a WINk themed slot game with a totally new bonus system.
actually we are working on it when it was still TRONbet, but now we have to pros to do it : )
  1. When will we see a new UI for WINK?
We have a new UI ready to go, but the original thought is to release it with the fully developed multi-currency system -
Actually, recently a few designers from the community have contacted me and would like to submit their designs - maybe we can make this a competition? what do you guys think?
  1. When is poker going to get an update?
We have been working on poker among other things. The good news here is that we have a development team dedicated to poker now. I will make an introduction to our product lead for poker next time, he will be able to give you in-depth response for timelines, functions, roadmap, etc.
  1. Are their plans to upgrade wink with integrated support ticket system?
yup! This maintenance is to lay the groundwork for a few things that we have coming up. One of these is an integrated support ticket system- Angel our customer service manager has a wealth of experience in this, and will be ensuring that we provide the best service possible.
  1. When do you think games that are not casino / gambling games will be released? More like pay to advance quicker... All spent on those would be profit instead of profit is after winners win....
As I've always said, my own vision for WINk is to become a publishing platform for great dapps. There are a few games that we will be integrating in the coming months. So don't you worry! In the meantime if anyone wants to play League of Legends or NBA 2K20 just DM me : )
  1. Add to that question CCGs and RPGs 😀🐲... Can't wait to see that one!
The problem with CCGs and RPGs at this moment in the blockchain industry is "how to educate users on the importance of NFTs, and having the ability to own your assets." You and I may understand because we are in the industry, but 90% of gamers don't know what it is or don't care what it is.
I believe that 1. Make it easy for users to get into the game 2. make the blockchain/crypto stuff a learning process throughout the game
The problem with most games right now is that you need to understand wallets, crypto, blockchain to even get started. I think this is the worst decision.
Given this, Any game we design will have points 1 and 2 resolved. Also, I do believe in the long term that CCGs, MMORPGs, and sandbox games will adopt blockchain technology.
  1. Would there ever be a possibility for rewarding the faithful ANTE/WIN holders through a retention style reward system? This would help show appreciation for the original holders that have stayed faithful and believed in the project since the beginning by keeping their ANTE/WIN frozen. For example those that have kept their WIN/ANTE frozen the longest would get the biggest bonus and then reduce the bonus as the time frozen shortens.
That's definitely a great idea, and I always thank early ANTE adopters as we would not be here if it wasn't for all of you. I'm sure you guys have "gained" the most too : ). We have a similar system right now - depending on how much WIN you have frozen you get bonus mining. Love your idea, will talk with the team during our next meeting and see what other ideas we can come up with
  1. Wink end-of-the- year awards!
  2. Best Customer service Rep
  3. Most active community member
  4. MEME master
etc. : )
  1. You always say win is down but the whole market is down so it is ok! But to be honest win is always more down than the market in terms of % so what can you say to comfort your old time owner? I m a long term holder in for a long run but stress about my portfolio value down 70% which is huge
Well first of all I never said that win is down but the whole market is down so it is ok. I never said it is OK. But I do not think that this is a valid question when the whole market is down. If the market is booming and WIN is down, then I think this is a fair question to ask.
And as i have said before, the last several months has been focused on the transition to ensure that we have a better future.
Mass marketing hasn't started and as I mentioned above this is a two-pronged attack.
But most importantly, can you name me another token that gives you considerable drops on a daily basis? Yes the WIN token value is down, but I'm sure most if not all of you have made it up with drops.
Can you name me a token that gives you passive income no matter if the market is up or down? and is also traded on major exchanges?
  1. why on the site does it say WIN burn is every two weeks and it has never been that way.. it has been once a month
Buyback and burn is once a month - WIN burn from burnpool is every two weeks
  1. buyback and burn - as I've noted before, we need to settle all invoices with partners to know the exact amount to burn - we are trying to streamline this as best as we can. We have changed some invoice dates as well. But if a partner doesn't give us an invoice on time, we have no way of calculating how much needs to be burned.
  2. Burn pool - its negative... there is nothing to burn : )
Given the above, I believe we did our buyback and burn this morning
  1. Why don't WIN holders get any airdrop? Can the burn amount instead be distributed to WIN holders?
The burn is designed to reduce supply… You are getting TRX drops daily ...
  1. What is the current progress of WINK dapp store? How many new DAPPs have signed the agreement ? Will there be a new WINK DAPP platform to house these new DAPPs that are not gambling related since gambling regulations are different for each country?
This is always in progress.
Yes there have been few but not many - i think most of us have to understand that the dapp industry is in its infancy. We aren't just going to publish any dapp just because you are a dapp - we need to publish quality dapps, dapps that we believe in as well as giving more excitement to current hodlers and/or bring in new users.
As an example, matchnet is something I believe in. And Steve (owner of matchnet) has a dedicated team, a great roadmap, and most importantly the ability to make things reality.
regarding gambling regulations - the legal team is still working on the last two licenses which will allow us to cover the majority of regulated markets - which also allows us to market casinos in the regulated regions
The reason we went with the Curacao license first is because they are currently the only license that supports/regulates cryptocurrencies
Honestly speaking, right now the dapp industry is 90% garbage dapps. No offense to the developers. What we want is quality dapps, dapps that we believe have the potential to onboard non-dapp users as well. which is extremely important because we either wait for the whole blockchain industry go mainstream, or we can be part of the process for making it go mainstream
and if you ask me, I would rather us be part of the process, and not just ducks sitting and waiting
  1. With this new support team, what’s the expected timeframe issues will be resolved? I hope they won’t be redirected to fill out google forms and wait for devs to credit whatever they’re missing. Is live chat in the works? We need support to be 110% before any marketing happens
Yes, support must and will be 110% before mass marketing happens and this is also why Angel is here to do just that.
We also need to understand that the teaching process of how to deal with certain support tickets is much more complicated because you will need knowledge of the blockchain and understand what such information means. We hope to have time frames of within 6 hours for the first implementation, and then make live chat available when mass marketing begins.
We are integrating a professional customer service and engagement product to make the tickets-solving ability easy to use.
And we are also working on the Live Support now which will be available very soon.
And this is exactly why Angel is part of the team, because she has a wealth of experience in providing exceptional service, and know exactly what needs to be done. As a bonus she has been in the blockchain industry as well, so she knows exactly what most crypto users need for customer service.
I have full faith in her abilities, and I suggest all of you give her just as much faith. She will do an amazing job!
No pressure Angel : )
  1. According to the WIN release schedule, there should have been some WIN unlocked for partners since October and November. However the circulating supply on tronscan https://tronscan.org/#/token20/TLa2f6VPqDgRE67v1736s7bJ8Ray5wYjU7/supply only accounted for the burns and airdrops thus far. What happened to those partners’ WIN that were supposed to be unlocked? Is there a change in the WIN release schedule? Will we see any unlocked partners’ WIN at all before the end of 2019?
The man does his research! In the meantime, you will not see them unlocked, as we are behind schedule with some partner releases. Most if not all agreements are based on after the dapp is launched and not before.
  1. Can we please empower SOMEONE to fix games when they break? Moon goes down for 10+ hours multiple times a week.
Well we first need to understand why the games break at times, and this is due to the nodes. We will be implementing an "auto-reset" function to the code so that it resets automatically after x minutes of downtime. and to empower someone to do that.. well i do feel the power : )
Again, thank you to all of you for the support and sticking with WINk during this tough transition period. Now everything if full-steam ahead!
Our new community service reps and Angel are the first members that I will be introducing to all of you - In the next several weeks I will be introducing marketing team, operation team, BD team etc.
Since the transition if more or less fully complete now, I may not be on telegram as much as I'd like too. But don't fret, I will pop in here and there just to make sure everyone is doing well and having fun!
Again, Thank you for a great AMA. Many great things to look forward to!
submitted by crika1 to WINk_org [link] [comments]

My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.

This is my third list for this sub. I hope you enjoy it.
ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS.
The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers.
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that.
Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor.
The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years.
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada.
I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis.
The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python.
The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner.
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right?
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list.
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art.
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing.
The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down.
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about.
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher.
Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques.
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft.
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously.
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice).
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever.
CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD.
American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category).
At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up.
Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel.
Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth.
Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book.
Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States.
Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book.
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection.
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most.
Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing.
The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son.
Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow).
Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography.
Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection.
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them.
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event.
The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches.
No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story.
Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar.
The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling.
Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country.
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty? He’s in the car. Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale.
Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book.
Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning.
Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America.
CONMEN, IMPOSTORS.
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund).
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened.
Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course).
Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to.
The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit.
The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too).
A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being.
Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack).
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too.
HACKERS.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy.
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI.
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017.
MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS.
Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian.
The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful. Guard: People kept robbing it. Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance.
Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island.
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige.
POLITICAL CRIMES
Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash).
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject.
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball.
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House).
A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination).
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out.
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down.
ROBBERIES, HEISTS.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book.
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact.
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions.
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic.
The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery.
Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How hard is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think.
Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane).
A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi schemes in the 1920s Chicago.
The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon).
Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too.
Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read.
Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book.
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop.
OTHER.
American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy.
Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book.
Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page.
Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those.
The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor.
The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye.
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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What's happening around town (Wed, Nov 6th - Tue, Nov 12th)

Tulsa's event list.

Wednesday, Nov 6th

Thursday, Nov 7th

  • 😂 85 South Tulsa Oklahoma (Cox Business Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm THE LAST FEW YEARS, THE 85 SOUTH SHOW HAS BEEN SHAKING UP THE PODCASTING SCENE WITH IMPROVS AND FREESTYLES BY SOME OF THE FASTEST RISING COMEDIC TALENT FROM THE SOUTH. JOIN DC YOUNG FLY, KARLOUS MILLER AND CHICO BEAN ON NOVEMBER 7TH AS THEY BRING THEIR TALENTS TO TULSA. Sale Dates and Times: Public Onsale : Fri, 20 Sep 2019 at 10:00 AM
  • America in Concert (Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Hear classic rock band America live as they take the stage at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.…
  • Brown Bag It: Tulsa Opera Big Sing (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 12:10pm
  • Tulsa Cacti and Succulent Society November Meeting (Tulsa Garden Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Join us for cacti conversation, refreshments and fellowship!
  • Color Breed Congress (Expo Square - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 9th The Pinto Horse Association of America, Inc. presents the Color Breed Congress, a show exhibiting four separate horse breeds…
  • Deviant Gaming: Race and Gender in Video Game Culture (University of Tulsa - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm
  • 😂 Greg Morton (Loony Bin - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 9th
  • 🎭 Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 16th Start Time: 8:00pm November 7 – 17, 2019 Liddy Doenges Theatre, Tulsa Performing Arts Center A play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects — mothers, prom dresses mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses (did we mention mothers?) and why we only wear black. Based on the bestselling book by…
  • The Mother Hips (The Vanguard - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm
  • Rascal Flatts in Concert (River Spirit Casino - Tulsa) Don't miss country music band Rascal Flatts live onstage at Paradise Cove in Tulsa. Known for chart-topping…
  • Unite!: End of Campaign Celebration (Tulsa) Start Time: 5:30pm A celebration of the end of the 2019 United Way Campaign including a surprise reveal of the total amount raised.
  • Woke Gaming: Hyper Visible Bodies (Oklahoma Center for the Humanities - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Join us for a talk by professor Kishonna Gray, author of Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live. Gray will discuss the reality of women and people of color in the gaming community. Gray is an Assistant Professor in Communication and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a Faculty Associate at the…

Friday, Nov 8th

  • Color Breed Congress (Expo Square - Tulsa) 1 day left The Pinto Horse Association of America, Inc. presents the Color Breed Congress, a show exhibiting four separate horse breeds…
  • Crayons Improv Comedy Show (Heritage United Methodist Church - Broken Arrow) Get ready to laugh at this family-friendly, improvised comedy show. Crayons Improv uses audience suggestions, participation…
  • Danny Baker CD Release Party (Blackbird On Pearl - Tulsa) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • 🎭 The Deaths of Sybil Bolton (Dennis R Neill Equality Center - Tulsa) Thru Sun, Nov 10th Start Time: 7:30pm from the book by Dennis P. McAuliffe, Jr. adapted for the stage and directed by David Blakely
    Performances: Nov. 1 & 2, 8 & 9 at 7:30PM Nov. 9 & 10 at 2:00PM
    Lynn Riggs Black Box Theater, Dennis R. Neill Equality Center 621 E. 4th St.
    HTC Playwright-in-Residence Emeritus David Blakely returns to recount a shocking true-life piece of Oklahoma…
  • 🎭 Dragons Love Tacos and Other Stories (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Presented By: Tulsa PAC Trust Imagination Series Dragons love all sorts of tacos — except spicy ones! Find out what happens when a boy throws his new dragon friends a taco party in this musical revue of beloved contemporary children's books that features excerpts from "Dragons Love Tacos," "Interrupting Chicken," "The Dot," "Mercy Watson Goes…
  • Giving Spirits (Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa) At Giving Spirits in Tulsa, prepare to try a wide variety of delicious whiskeys and specialty drink creations. Enjoy live…
  • 😂 Greg Morton (Loony Bin - Tulsa) 1 day left
  • Harlem String Quartet (Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm
  • 🎓 Jurassic Quest (Cox Business Center - Tulsa) Thru Sun, Nov 10th Start Time: 3:00pm 🚨 Jurassic Quest is COMING to Tulsa, OK! Go back in time 60 million years and see more than 80 gigantic, walking, breathing animatronic dinosaurs. Featuring MORE baby dinosaurs, activities, and dinosaurs than ever before!!! 🦖 Jurassic Quest has been the LARGEST & MOST REALISTIC dinosaur event in North America since 2012, and it's now even…
  • 🎭 Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 16th Start Time: 8:00pm November 7 – 17, 2019 Liddy Doenges Theatre, Tulsa Performing Arts Center A play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects — mothers, prom dresses mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses (did we mention mothers?) and why we only wear black. Based on the bestselling book by…
  • MercyMe in Concert (BOK Center - Tulsa) Best-known for their Billboard Decade Award-winning tracks like "Word of God Speak," contemporary Christian…
  • ORU Golden Eagles vs Texas State Bobcats (Mabee Center - Tulsa) The ORU Golden Eagles women's basketball team strives for success on the court. Watch the team work together toward…
  • 🎓 Play With Me: A Parent/Child Workshop (Owasso Library - Owasso) Playing is learning! Join us for a three-week play workshop series for parents and children ages 1-3. Class size is limited. Registration is required and is for all three weeks of the series. Each program offers opportunities for children to play with developmentally appropriate toys in a play group atmosphere. Early childhood specialists also…
  • WILD AT ART 2019 (Tulsa Garden Center - Tulsa) Day 1 of 2 Start Time: 12:00pm The 7th Annual Wild At Art will be held at the beautiful Tulsa Garden Center, November 8-9 (Friday 12:00-7:00 & Saturday 10:00-4:00). This FREE event is a fundraiser that helps pay for the expense of feeding and treating the wildlife in our care through-out the year. Join us for this great opportunity to purchase unique gifts for the…

Saturday, Nov 9th

  • 🎓 2019 Dancing with the Tulsa Stars (Cox Business Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00am Join us as a group of Tulsa icons takes the floor to compete in the 7th Annual Dancing with the Tulsa Stars. It's sure to be a wonderfully fun night of ballroom dancing to support San Miguel School of Tulsa. **Our 2019 dancers will be announced soon. Make sure to follow Dancing with the Tulsa Stars: Benefitting San Miguel Middle School to stay…
  • All Things Crafty Arts & Craft Fair (Case Community Center - Sand Springs) Located in the heart of Sand Springs, the All Things Crafty Arts & Craft Fair will feature over 40 booths filled…
  • Antry at Casta Diva: Casino Royale (Southern Hills Country Club - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Benefitting the Tulsa Opera.. Get ready to buy some tickets and tables! Antry is a regionally touring, award winning, blues/rock band, covering a mix of...
  • 🎭 Barnum the Musical (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Day 1 of 2 Start Time: 8:00pm Barnum the Musical Nov. 2-3, 9-10 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 4, 10 at 2 p.m. :: John H. Williams Theatre Season Tickets The true-life story of The Greatest Showman! Step right up and feast your eyes on the unbelievable tale of P.T. Barnum! Featuring touching tunes, d... GET TICKETS
  • Ben Miller Band (Blackbird On Pearl - Tulsa) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • Chandler Park Family Park Art (Chandler Park - Tulsa) Start Time: 11:00am $2/child. Nature provides the supplies; you make the art! Register by 11/6. No fee for parents. Sign up by phone/at location. 918-591-6053
  • Color Breed Congress (Expo Square - Tulsa) Last Day The Pinto Horse Association of America, Inc. presents the Color Breed Congress, a show exhibiting four separate horse breeds…
  • 🎓 Dancing With the Tulsa Stars (Cox Business Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Join us for a fun night of cocktails, dinner and competitive ballroom dancing (pairing six celebrity dancers with six professional dancers) to support the students of San Miguel Middle School.
  • 😂 Dear Diary: Adults Sharing Their Teen Diaries (IDL Ballroom - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:30pm Host: Story Club of Tulsa
  • 🎭 The Deaths of Sybil Bolton (Dennis R Neill Equality Center - Tulsa) 1 day left Start Time: 7:30pm from the book by Dennis P. McAuliffe, Jr. adapted for the stage and directed by David Blakely
    Performances: Nov. 1 & 2, 8 & 9 at 7:30PM Nov. 9 & 10 at 2:00PM
    Lynn Riggs Black Box Theater, Dennis R. Neill Equality Center 621 E. 4th St.
    HTC Playwright-in-Residence Emeritus David Blakely returns to recount a shocking true-life piece of Oklahoma…
  • 🎭 The Drunkard and the Olio (Tulsa Spotlight Theatre - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:30pm
  • 🏃 Eagle OPS / Oklahoma DAV Welcome Home 5K (Mohawk Park - Tulsa) The DAV 5K is a run, walk, roll and motorcycle ride that thanks those who served and raises awareness of the issues our veterans face every day.
  • 😂 Greg Morton (Loony Bin - Tulsa) Last Day
  • 🏃 Jenks Half Marathon (Jenks) 7:30 am Half Marathon Start 7:45 am 5km Start
    This will be the 40th running of the Jenks Half. The race starts and finishes at the Jenks HS track and will run on a mix of flat and rolling hills west of downtown Jenks. The course is controlled by Jenks and Tulsa Police departments but is open to traffic.
  • Harlem Quartet (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Day 1 of 2 Chamber Music Tulsa's 66th season draws inspiration from the Mother Road, a symbol of American adventure and…
  • Heart of Broken Arrow Arts & Craft Show (Central Park - Broken Arrow) Find something your heart desires at the annual Heart of Broken Arrow Arts & Craft Show. This one day event will feature…
  • 🏃 Claremore Hope Race (Claremore Lake Park - Claremore)
  • Jo Koy (Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Head to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa for a hilarious night of stand up with Jo Koy. Rising from a Las…
  • 🎓 Jurassic Quest (Cox Business Center - Tulsa) 1 day left Start Time: 3:00pm 🚨 Jurassic Quest is COMING to Tulsa, OK! Go back in time 60 million years and see more than 80 gigantic, walking, breathing animatronic dinosaurs. Featuring MORE baby dinosaurs, activities, and dinosaurs than ever before!!! 🦖 Jurassic Quest has been the LARGEST & MOST REALISTIC dinosaur event in North America since 2012, and it's now even…
  • 🎭 Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 16th Start Time: 8:00pm November 7 – 17, 2019 Liddy Doenges Theatre, Tulsa Performing Arts Center A play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects — mothers, prom dresses mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses (did we mention mothers?) and why we only wear black. Based on the bestselling book by…
  • 🏃 McNellie's Pub Run (Downtown - Tulsa)
  • Rock 'N Folk 'N Chili Cook-Off (Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa) Tulsa folk musicians take the Cain's Ballroom stage every year for the Rock N' Folk N' Chili Cook-Off. Hear…
  • 🏃 Route 66 Mock Marathon and Half (RunnersWorld Tulsa - Tulsa) Run the Route 66 marathon and half course. Saturday November 9, 2018, 7am
    Here is your chance to run the Williams Route 66 Marathon and Half Marathon Course. This is not a race, however a minimum $5 donation is required. Limited aid will be provided on the course of Gatorade, water and pretzels. Snacks will be provided after the event. We…
  • Sea Turtle Birthday Party (Oklahoma Aquarium - Jenks) Start Time: 2:00pm Celebrate our loggerhead sea turtle's 25th birthday with special treats, gifts, and fun activities for everyone on Saturday, November 9, from 2-4 p.m.! We'll reveal the new name of our turtle, and you'll find out how you can help save the sea turtles from right here in Oklahoma. Cost: Free for members; general admission for non-members. Don't…
  • Second Saturday Architecture Tour (Tulsa) Take a fun and educational walking tour through downtown Tulsa the second Saturday of each month with the Tulsa Foundation…
  • Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show (Expo Square - Tulsa) Day 1 of 2 The Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show is one of the largest firearms shows in the world. This show features more than…
  • WILD AT ART 2019 (Tulsa Garden Center - Tulsa) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 12:00pm The 7th Annual Wild At Art will be held at the beautiful Tulsa Garden Center, November 8-9 (Friday 12:00-7:00 & Saturday 10:00-4:00). This FREE event is a fundraiser that helps pay for the expense of feeding and treating the wildlife in our care through-out the year. Join us for this great opportunity to purchase unique gifts for the…
  • WILD MAN (TU Dept of Theatre and Musical Theatre and Dance - Tulsa) Day 1 of 2 The TU Department of Theatre will present a concert reading of Wild Man by K.T. Peterson, on November 9th and 10th. Wild Man is the winning script of the...

Sunday, Nov 10th

  • Annie Moses Band: From Copland to Cash (Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center - Broken Arrow) Start Time: 7:30pm
  • 🎭 Barnum the Musical (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 8:00pm Barnum the Musical Nov. 2-3, 9-10 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 4, 10 at 2 p.m. :: John H. Williams Theatre Season Tickets The true-life story of The Greatest Showman! Step right up and feast your eyes on the unbelievable tale of P.T. Barnum! Featuring touching tunes, d... GET TICKETS
  • Billy Corgan in Concert (Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm See Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins live as he graces the Cain's Ballroom stage. Head to this historic Tulsa venue…
  • 🎭 The Deaths of Sybil Bolton (Dennis R Neill Equality Center - Tulsa) Last Day Start Time: 7:30pm from the book by Dennis P. McAuliffe, Jr. adapted for the stage and directed by David Blakely
    Performances: Nov. 1 & 2, 8 & 9 at 7:30PM Nov. 9 & 10 at 2:00PM
    Lynn Riggs Black Box Theater, Dennis R. Neill Equality Center 621 E. 4th St.
    HTC Playwright-in-Residence Emeritus David Blakely returns to recount a shocking true-life piece of Oklahoma…
  • Harlem Quartet (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Day 2 of 2 Chamber Music Tulsa's 66th season draws inspiration from the Mother Road, a symbol of American adventure and…
  • 🎓 Jurassic Quest (Cox Business Center - Tulsa) Last Day Start Time: 3:00pm 🚨 Jurassic Quest is COMING to Tulsa, OK! Go back in time 60 million years and see more than 80 gigantic, walking, breathing animatronic dinosaurs. Featuring MORE baby dinosaurs, activities, and dinosaurs than ever before!!! 🦖 Jurassic Quest has been the LARGEST & MOST REALISTIC dinosaur event in North America since 2012, and it's now even…
  • 🎭 Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 16th Start Time: 8:00pm November 7 – 17, 2019 Liddy Doenges Theatre, Tulsa Performing Arts Center A play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects — mothers, prom dresses mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses (did we mention mothers?) and why we only wear black. Based on the bestselling book by…
  • 🎨 MEET THE ARTIST: Anila Agha (Philbrook Downtown - Tulsa) Start Time: 2:00pm In conjunction with Philbrook's new exhibition SHADOW OF TIME, artist Anila Quayyum Agha will discuss her work and explore the wide range of cultural and artistic sources that inspire her. About SHADOW OF TIME: This exhibition brings together recent sculptural works and drawings, featuring a large-scale installation that fills the gallery and…
  • 🎨 OkJFF: Redemption with Guest Intro (The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Join us at Circle Cinema on Sunday, November 10th at 7:00pm for a screening of the acclaimed new drama "REDEMPTION" (Israel, 2018). Arrive as early as 5:45pm for an Opening Night Reception for the 6th Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival in the gallery. This film is in Hebrew with English subtitles and will be introduced by very special festival…
  • Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival (Circle Cinema - Tulsa) Thru Thu, Nov 14th For an entertaining and rewarding cinematic experience, join audience in Tulsa for the Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival…
  • 🎨 OPENING DAY: Shadow of Time (Philbrook Downtown - Tulsa) Start Time: 9:00am Get ready for an unforgettable experience. Artist Anila Quayyum Agha uses simple elements—light, shadow, space, and pattern—to create communal experiences of beauty and wonder. This exhibition brings together recent sculptural works and drawings, featuring a large-scale installation that fills the gallery and envelops the viewer in…
  • Tommy Tutone (The Shrine - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm
  • Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show (Expo Square - Tulsa) Day 2 of 2 The Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show is one of the largest firearms shows in the world. This show features more than…
  • WILD MAN (TU Dept of Theatre and Musical Theatre and Dance - Tulsa) Day 2 of 2 The TU Department of Theatre will present a concert reading of Wild Man by K.T. Peterson, on November 9th and 10th. Wild Man is the winning script of the...

Monday, Nov 11th

  • Brentano Quartet with violist Hsin-Yun Huang (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 3:00pm Brentano Quartet with violist Hsin-Yun Huang Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. :: John H. Williams Theatre Hearing the Brentano Quartet in concert is a sublime experience. For more than 20 years, audiences have marveled at the quartet's luxurious tone and foucsed intensity. With guest violist Hsin-Yun Huang, the quartet will perform quintets by Brahms and...…
  • 🎭 Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 16th Start Time: 8:00pm November 7 – 17, 2019 Liddy Doenges Theatre, Tulsa Performing Arts Center A play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects — mothers, prom dresses mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses (did we mention mothers?) and why we only wear black. Based on the bestselling book by…
  • Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival (Circle Cinema - Tulsa) Thru Thu, Nov 14th For an entertaining and rewarding cinematic experience, join audience in Tulsa for the Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival…
  • ORU Golden Eagles vs Wichita State Shockers (Mabee Center - Tulsa) The ORU Golden Eagles women's basketball team strives for success on the court. Watch the team work together toward…
  • Tulsa Symphony: Britten's War Requiem (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 2:30pm Tulsa Symphony: Britten's War Requiem Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m. :: Chapman Music Hall Guest conductor James Bagwell passionately interprets one of the great defining masterworks of the 20th century: Benjamin Britten's powerful "War Requiem." Tulsa Symphony will be joined by Tulsa Oratorio Chorus and the University of Tulsa Concert Cho... GET TICKETS
  • 🎓 Veterans Day Reception (University of Tulsa - Tulsa) Start Time: 5:00pm The University of Tulsa College of Law invites you to a Veterans Day Reception. At the TU College of Law and The University of Tulsa, we are proud to count many veterans and active military among our student, alumni, faculty and staff. TU Law’s Veterans Day Reception will be an opportunity for our community to gather and honor those who have…

Tuesday, Nov 12th

  • 🎭 Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Nov 16th Start Time: 8:00pm November 7 – 17, 2019 Liddy Doenges Theatre, Tulsa Performing Arts Center A play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects — mothers, prom dresses mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses (did we mention mothers?) and why we only wear black. Based on the bestselling book by…
  • 🎨 OkJFF: Love In Suspenders (The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Join us at Circle Cinema on Tuesday, November 12th at 7:00pm for a screening of the new comedy "LOVE IN SUSPENDERS" (Israel, 2019). This film is in Hebrew with English subtitles. All seats are $10 and on sale now. About Love In Suspenders: Tami is a widow in her 60s and Beno is a widower in his 70s. She is optimistic, always smiling, and still…
  • Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival (Circle Cinema - Tulsa) Thru Thu, Nov 14th For an entertaining and rewarding cinematic experience, join audience in Tulsa for the Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival…

See Also

submitted by tulsanewsbot to tulsa [link] [comments]

First Small Chunk Of Stories From The Casino

I posted about a week and a half ago about the seemingly cursed parking garage at a casino I worked at a few years ago. There was some interest in getting some more stories from a casino environment so I said I would start posting a few periodically. I told a couple of you that I would have a few up this past weekend, but I came down with strep and just haven't had the energy to type up anything of substance. I'm feeling a little bit better tonight, so I figured I'd take the time to tell you guys about some of the smaller things that happened out there. These ones aren't going to be nearly as "what the fuck"-esque as the last few I posted. The first story is just a short one about a rather amusing situation that happened on an otherwise uneventful night. The second is for those of you that asked me about what it is like to work in a gaming environment. Keep in mind that this is based on my experience in a tribally owned casino and would not necessarily translate to other casinos. I'll get more in depth with that at some point if there is any interest left by the end of this post. I'm still slightly feverish, so hopefully this will make sense.

A Strange Call From The Hotel Staff
On one relatively slow night, I had wandered down to hang out with this girl I knew in the Valet department. It was getting close to last call, so it was the point in the night where they normally needed an extra person to keep an eye out for any intoxicated guests that were trying to retrieve their vehicles for the drive home. I was in her small office in front of the casino and we were talking about grabbing a drink when we got off in a few hours. After a couple of minutes, a call came out from on of the hotel housekeepers asking for surveillance. Being that it was about 1:30am in the middle of the week, we knew whatever would be coming next was going to be interesting. The transmission went something like this.

HK: Public Spaces to Post 1 and Surveillance
S: Go ahead for surveillance
HK: We just got a strange report from a guest that came walking by. They said the ice machine on the 8th floor seems to be leaking out all over the place. We were hoping you could roll back the footage from that hallway and just see if you see anything. Post 1 could you also send us a rover?
P1: We don't have a rover on right now. Post 8 could swing up, but why do you need security for this? Have you been up to take a look?
S: Surveillance also copies, but what exactly are we looking for?
HK: Well... I don't want to say over the radio... We... Uh... Well we sent somebody up to take a look... There definitely seems to be liquid around the ice machine, but I don't think it's leaking out. The odor.... Um... Surveillance could you just roll back about 15 minutes and see what comes up?
S: Surveillance copies. We will take a look.
P8: Post 8 to Post 1... Do you want me to head that way?
P1(Not Putting The Pieces Together Yet): Um... Hold on. Is Public Spaces still on this channel?
HK: This is Public Spaces.
P1: Can you give me a call at (extension for BOH Security Desk)?
***About 1 Minute Passes***
By this time a couple other Valet Attendants have wandered over to listen
P1: Post 1 to Post 8. Go ahead and start heading that way. We're not really sure what's going on, but it sounds like they'd really like some assistance.
P8: Copy I'm about 3 minutes out.
***Another 2-3 minutes pass***
S: Surveillance to Post 1.
P1: Go for Post 1.
S: So listen... We need to get a couple more people heading that way. We're going to need you to make contact with a guest in their room. Is their a Sierra 4 (one of the security managers) on this channel right now?
4: Go ahead for S4
S: Listen, we need to have a word with whoever did the cutoff in (bar name withheld) about 30 minutes ago. I believe it was Sierra 37
4: Copy. Do You need me to call you on my cell?
S: ....Negative... So what it looks like happened is he responded to the call for the cutoff. When he got their the guests had already started heading back toward the hotel of their own accord. 37 watched them go up the escalator, but didn't follow them to make sure they made it to their room. They... Okay so it's kind of hard to tell from the angle of the camera so maybe Post 8 can confirm.... So it looks like they stepped off of the elevator and started heading toward their room. When they came to the ice machine, one male in the group approached the ice machine, opened the door, and proceeded to urinate in and around the ice machine. How Copy?
***At this point those of us listening to the transmission were obviously laughing our asses off***
4: I'm going to hope that was a bad copy Surveillance.
S: Repeating - Male subject urinated in, on, and around the ice machine on the 8th floor of the hotel.
P8: Post 8 can confirm.... definitely urine all over the floor.
4: ... Solid Copy..... S4 to S13...
ME: Negative 4. This one is all you, buddy. 13 to 37, meet me by Post 1, we're going to meet with Surveillance.

So... While I went with S37 to the surveillance office, the other manager headed up to meet with housekeeping and the other security ambassadors at the ice machine. They basically just awkwardly stood their while the surveillance team worked on tracking down exactly which guest it was. They then contacted them in their room and removed them from the property. When I talked to S4 afterward, he told me the guy was soaked. He and one other guy had to change clothes after removing him from the property. They may have disagreed, but I personally thought the whole ordeal was hilarious. If it had been a busy night I may have felt different, but that night it was much needed excitement.



Hiring In A Casino: (frustration story - read the first paragraph and then skip to the 4th paragraph if you don't want to read all the background)

Okay, before I start this story I want to point out that this is a subject that people tend to get extremely defensive about. Every time I mention it in a company that has never worked for a tribally owned entity, a lot of people swear up and down that it isn't true. They then call you everything but white and swear that you are just trying to make Indian tribe look bad. Before anybody here does that, let me ask you to take just 15 seconds out of your time to Google the phrase "tribal hiring preference". Basically what it means is that in tribally owned entities, the company may choose to hire applicants based solely on tribal enrollment (they are legally Indians) regardless of whether there are more qualified applicants. They do not even have to meet the requirements of the job for hiring/promoting/scheduling/seniority preferences to apply.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way... Our Director of Human Resources was an enrolled member of the tribe that owned the casino, and she had an absolute lady boner for throwing the tribal preference policy out when we chose to hire anybody that wasn't native. During one round of hiring, I had a solid 50/50 split on tribal and non-tribal applicants. Normally, that is a really good sign. As any of you that have done any hiring know, it's absolutely the worst part of management. It isn't at all uncommon for half of the people scheduled for interviews not to show up. With tribal applicants, you normally don't run into that problem. They usually know enough people within the company that no-showing an interview can hurt their reputation.
Unfortunately, this time around didn't follow the usual pattern. I had 10 interviews per day scheduled 4 days in a row. Those days I had to be fully decked out in a tailored suit with leather soled dress shoes (most days I could pass with nice slacks, a polo and vest, and my duty boots and on most big event days other than New Year's Eve I could just wear a suit with my duty boots), facial hair had to be 100% in regulations as, and I had to show up 3 hours earlier than I typically did. Overall, these days were just a huge pain in the ass. When people decided not to show up with all of the extra work it was absolutely infuriating. By the time the 4th day came around, I was pretty pissed. I had a grand total of 7 people (none of them tribal) show up for their interviews in the past 3 days, and my first three interviews the 4th day were no-shows.
My 4th interview that day was with a member of another tribe. Judging by her resume, I was guessing that she was a middle aged woman that could adapt to a security environment pretty well. She hadn't done this time of work directly, but she had a strong customer service back ground and had 5+ years of casino experience. Not ideal, but there seemed to be potential. When she showed up, I was surprised to find a small (probably 5'2) Indian woman in her mid 60s. She reminded me more of my grandmother than somebody that should be working security.
That said, I try not to judge people based on appearance, so I started asking her questions with an open mind. The first few questions were just the standard ice breakers; "Tell me a little about yourself", "Why do you want to work at random casino", "Tell me about your prior work experience". Her answers were pretty short, but I just chalked it up to interview nerves and decided to continue into the job specific parts of the interview. The rest of the interview went something like this.
Me: So this job will require working outside in all weather conditions. During the winter, we are routinely outside for the entirety of a shift in sub freezing temperatures. During the summer, we are often outside in temperatures above 100 degrees. Have you worked in an environment like this before and are you comfortable with it?
Her: *Silence*
Me: Ma'am?
Her: Yes?
Me: Are you comfortable with that aspect of this position?
Her: Not really. I would prefer to work inside at a desk.
Me: That is not an option for this position. Will you be able to fulfill that requirement of the position?
Her: Oh.... Well... I suppose I can do that.
Me: Alright, great. Another thing that I would like to mention is that while we try to handle all situations with unruly customers in a diplomatic manner. That said, this is a security job. At times, things escalate to a point that we have to handle them in a more physical manner. While we do avoid this whenever possible, it is a reality of security work. Do you have any concerns with that part of the job?
Her: *A long pause* I don't like that. Can't we just call the cops.
Me (at this point I know that this is not going to be a good fit, but I decide to do the complete interview and see if she may be better suited for another opening we had in the department at the time): Well, ma'am, this is a security job. That isn't always an option when things get out of hand. This is a very fast paced job.
Her: *Silence*
Me: *After a long pause* ...Okay... So our establishment in known for providing world class customer service. Our core purpose and core values all focus on that aspect of what we do. In your mind, what constitutes great customer service and what can you do as an individual to try to generate return business? (I'm trying to lead her a little bit and throw her a bone).
Her: *Silence*
Me: (Starting to get annoyed) Ma'am. In your words, what constitutes great customer service?
Her: I don't know. Can I pass on this question?
Me: You're not even going to try to answer the question? I'm not looking for anything specific. I just want to know your opinion on the subject.
Her: Pass.
Me: (A long pause to keep my composure rather than just telling her to get the fuck out of my office and deciding not to ask anymore questions) Okay... So why should I hire you? What can you bring to the table that other people may not be able to?
Her: I'm a member of (omitted) Indian Tribe.
Me: Yes, I'm well aware of that. What skills or abilities do you bring to the table that should be considered in my hiring decision?
Her: (responding smugly) I think that will be enough.
Me: Alright, well we are done here. Thanks for coming in. Yada yada. Professional BS
Her: So when will I start.
Me: Ma'am, I'm not going to be hiring you. You aren't the right fit for this position. I know that is disappointing, but you are more than welcome to apply for other positions here at the casino.
Her: Says nothing and storms out of the office.

During the rest of the day, I actually I had a few really good interviews. I just had one position available on the team, so I went back to my main office to review my interview notes and make a decision. Once I had made my selection, I typed up a summary off all the interviews and sent off the paperwork and job req to the HR department with instructions to extend a job offer to young woman that I interviewed later in the day. I then got all of my stuff together and headed home.
When I woke up the next day around 10am, I noticed I had an email from the Human Resources Director, but decided that I wasn't going to read it until I got to work. When I pulled up in front of my office, one of my guys made a B-line to where I had parked. He asked me something along the lines of "Dude, what the fuck was with that email HR sent all of us?" I told him I wasn't aware of any department wide emails before I left but if something came in while I was riding in I hadn't seen it yet (I had about an hour commute and rode a motorcycle, so I didn't see anything until I got logged into my work computer). He basically said that I needed to get in there and read this ASAP. When I walked in, I saw that the only email I had outside of department reports was from the Human Resources Director so I opened it. I immediately noticed that she had CC'ed my entire department, the entire HR department, and the VP who my department fell under. I don't work there anymore so I don't have access to that email account, so I'm going to paraphrase what it said.

" u/_deuceswild_
I recently was made aware of the hiring requisition you placed for the opening in your department. In reviewing your interview notes, I see that you interviewed one Mrs. TooGoodToAnswer. I am not sure what in your interview made you think that she "would not be a good fit" for your team, but I strongly consider you reconsider that position. I happen to know Mrs. TooGoodToAnswer personally. She is an enrolled member of NotOurTribe Tribe of Indians and I feel that she would be an excellent addition to your team. I have placed a hold on your hiring requisition and am awaiting a response from both you and (my direct boss' name).
Sincerely,
Delusional Director of Human Resources"


Obviously, I was pretty pissed off when I read that email. I sat there for a minute before noticing that everybody in the office had stopped what they were doing and they all were staring at me. I calmly stood up, asked on of them to make a pot of coffee, and went outside to have a couple cigarettes and calm down. After calming down a bit, I called all of my crew out to have a pre-shift meeting and then sent them out to make their rounds. I stepped back inside and sent the following email. I of course hit the 'reply all' button.

" Delusional Director of Human Resources
I must say, I am very surprised to learn that you have taken issue with my decision to hire Ms. FutureAwesomeEmployee over Mrs. TooGoodToAnswer. I thought my reasons for making this selection were quite clearly stated in my interview summary along with my attached interview notes, but if not allow me to clarify. My decision to hire Ms. FutureAwesomeEmployee did not come down to a choice between her and Mrs. TooGoodToAnswer. In fact, I had decided against hiring Mrs. TooGoodToAnswer before she even led the office. I reached my decision based on the facts that she did not find the conditions of this position to be acceptable for her and she did not feel the need to even attempt to answer the questions asked during the interview. I cannot in good conscience add her to my team knowing that we all must work together to ensure a safe and secure environment. I hope this clears up any confusion you may have.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I would appreciate if you would direct those questions to me personally, however, as opposed to including multiple individuals who have no bearing on my hiring decisions. It is my opinion that that would not only be the more professional course of action, but it will ensure that no confidential information regarding our applicants are sent to anybody that shouldn't be.
Thank you and have a great weekend.
u/_deuceswild_ "

Almost immediately, I received an email from my direct manager (he was in his mid 60s at the time) said just simply read "LOL". About 10 minutes later an email came through (also a reply all) from our VP that said something along the lines of "That reasoning sounds good to me". I never got a response from the Director of Human Resources, but a couple hours later an email came through from the recruiting staff letting me know that the individual I told them to hire had accepted a job offer and was scheduled for orientation the following week while I was on vacation (pending a background check and issuance of a tribal gaming license) and she would be ready to train when I got back. For what it's worth, she turned out to be a phenomenal employee. We had some personal issues, but she is the person I am most proud of having developed.
I included this story because some of you guys asked me what it's like to work at a casino. While it is a really fun, unique environment, it also has a lot of political issues that aren't faced in other places. In fact, that politics are a big part of what led to me turning in my resignation a few years ago. I'm looking at going back to the casinos now, but it isn't without its challenges. If you are interested in going to work in that kind of environment I would encourage you to do your research before hand. It can be incredibly rewarding, but it isn't without its challenges.



submitted by _deuceswild_ to talesfromsecurity [link] [comments]

My List Of True Crime Books That Are (Primarily) Not About Murder.

Cross-posting my list from books.
ART THIEVES, FORGERS, SMUGGLERS.
The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. A true story about the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s and how they conspired to cheat their clients out of millions of dollars.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace. The most expensive bottle of wine and the conflicting reports about its history. This is a book that would enchant wine conessi… conues… lovers.
The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Author Ulrich Boser looks at the unsolved art theft case of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant. Grant Hadwin, a logger-turned-activist, fells a unique 165 feet Sitka spruce in an act of protest. John Vaillant takes the readers into the heart of North America’s last great forest to find out why he did that.
Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt was an art thief, or as he put it himself, an ‘official dealer’ for Hitler and Goebbels. But he stole from the Jews and Nazis alike. This book was published after his hoard was recently (2013) discovered which created an international furor.
The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art by Matthew Hart. This book is about the art theft at Ireland’s Russborough House in 1986. The suspect, a gangster named Martin Cahill, played cat and mouse with police for years.
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime by Miles Harvey. When you think about stealing some valuable art, do maps come to your mind? Then this book is for you. Gilbert Joseph Bland Jr. stole numerous centuries-old maps from research libraries in US and Canada.
I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne. Han van Meegeren became so much adapt at forging Vermeer paintings that it is said that even professional experts would find it difficult to point out his works from the originals. He earned more than $50 million by selling his forgeries – and he even swindled the Nazis.
The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. Reptile smuggling is a big “business”. The author, a federal agent, suspected a reptile business owner of being a major smuggler and he started investigating. It was not as simple as it sounds because at one point he was chased by a mother alligator and even bitten by a python.
The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece by Vernon Silver. A 2500 year old cup made by the Greek master Euphronios which depicted the fall of Troy gets stolen and sold (along with 3 other such vessels). Then due to the questionable practice of some art dealers, no one can track down its last known owner.
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. With nothing better to do, the author embarks on a journey to discover a Caravaggio painting which was lost to time two hundred years ago.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. John Charles Gilkey stole rare books not because he wanted to make profit as most thieves do, but because he loved books. I guess if you want to call yourself a book-reader but don’t actually want to say… read a book, you could just steal them and show them off to your friends. But who are we to question the wisdom of “booklovers”, right?
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. If you thought that stealing maps is a weird “job” to have, how about stealing a rare breed of flower? We all know about the Tulipomania that gripped Netherlands in the 1630s. But this is a modern tale, and the book is perhaps one of the most popular ones on this list.
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman. This book is about Robert K. Wittman, FBI’s founder of the Art Crime Team and his undercover missions around the world to rescue various pieces of stolen art.
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury. You could have a Jackson Pollock lying around in your basement, but if you can’t prove that the piece is real, you might as well use it as a table cloth (I might have exaggerated there a bit, but you get the point). John Myatt, a struggling artist, and John Drewe, a conman who knew the importance of Provenance in the art world, duped many people and museums by creating a fake paper trial that seemed to prove that the art was a real thing and not a forgery. So much so that the experts believe that there might still be some fake paintings created by Myatt displayed in prominent places as the real thing.
The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. Dolnick writes about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 and the subsequent investigation that took place to track it down.
Selling Hitler by Robert Harris In mid-eighties, Hitler’s diaries were “discovered” and many experts fell for the con. The backpeddling many did when it was revealed that the diaries were not real is really amusing to read about.
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty by Craig Welch. This book is about the poaching of a larger-than-life clam – a Geoduck, to be precise, and the subsequent chase from the wildlife police to nab the poacher.
Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood. This book provides a sweeping history of thefts of various priceless antiques.
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney. The twelve panel oil-painting of the Mystic Lamb is the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. It was stolen 13 times. One wonders whether they could have guarded it a little better after the first couple of times, you know. Anyway, this book describes the events of each theft.
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith. Two reptile smugglers compete against each other to conquer the illegal trade for themselves. The funny thing is, the Zoos stood against them in the courts, but they had no problem buying rare fauna from the two smugglers, sometimes simultaneously.
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A massive fire destroyed wines worth $250 million in a California warehouse, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. It was done by a conman named Mark Anderson, who rented storage space at the same warehouse. This book tells why he did that and also goes into the surprisingly bloody history of wine trade in California. (reads well with cranberry juice).
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. On August 21, 1911, a man walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked inside his coat (should have painted it bigger, eh Vinci?). I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. Read it if you want to know whether Mona Lisa was recovered or was lost to time forever.
CARTELS, GANGS, UNDERWORLD.
American Desperado: My Life --- From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset by Jon Roberts, Evan Wright. Jon Roberts, who starred in documentary Cocaine Cowboys tells his story to the journalist Evan Wright in this book. Roberts smuggled drugs to Miami for the Medellin Cartel (which will feature many times in this category).
At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel. This is Narcos Season 3, basically. Remember the family guy who gets involved with the Cali Cartel and mops around for the whole season even though he had an unbelievably hot wife who was clearly out of his league? That character was based on Rempel. And if I must say so, the book is more compelling than that season of Narcos. Nothing can beat Agent Pena, though.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill. The story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – the head of the Irish Mob in Boston - who became an informant for the FBI and chaos ensued. Depp plays Whitey Bulger in the movie adaptation with a soggy tortilla glued to his face as make-up.
Blow: How a Small -Town Bay Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter. Another book where Johnny Depp plays the main character in the movie adaptation. This book is about George Jung, who after meeting Carlos Lehder, started selling cocaine in the United States through Medellin Cartel.
Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare by Paul Keany, Jeff Farrell. Paul Keany was caught smuggling half-a-million euro worth of cocaine into Venezuela. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Now, prisons everywhere aren’t exactly fun places to be, but Los Teques where Keany was incarcerated was nothing short of hell on earth.
Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Junichi Saga was a doctor by profession. A patient, who was a former Yakuza, recounted his life story before him. Saga recorded the conversations, and broke doctor-patient confidentiality by writing this book.
Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire by Mark Bowden. A dentist named Larry Lavin builds the foundation for a cocaine empire in the United States.
Donnie Brasco by Joseph D. Pistone, Richard Woodley. Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent, goes undercover for six years to infiltrate the Mafia. Do watch the movie too, it is Depp’s last movie without weird make-up.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo. Journalist Ioan Grillo has written, arguably, the definitive book on Mexican drug cartels. Why he is still alive is anybody’s guess.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rouge Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Venkatesh, who was a sociology grad student at the time, infiltrated one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. This is one of a kind type of book.
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. This book is about the Italian Crime Network called Camorra in Naples, Italy. Due to his intensive investigative journalism which exposed lot of insider information about the crime syndicate, author Saviano still has to live under constant police protection.
The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry. This is a recent book, where the author Alex Perry looks inside the ruthless Calabrian Mafia of Italy and three women who want to save their own and their children’s lives. This is a fascinating and courageous look into an aspect of the Mafia which is often overlooked by most.
Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World’s Most Wanted Drug-Lord by Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century. Remember when Joaquin Guzman was caught for the first time and then he escaped and then he was caught again for good? Yes? Then read this one. But this book only focuses on the operation that nabbed him for the first time. I must warn you though – the author, Andrew Hogan – is really really in love with himself and it seeps into his writing.
The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur. Mazur went undercover and actually became a money launderer for Pablo Escobar. This book is more about how bankers actively helped to launder the drug money and how Mazur helped to bring them down.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden. This is the best book about tracking and eventually killing Pablo Escobar. And as Walter Jr. pointed out to Walter White, it focuses on the good guys, not the bad ones. Good companion book to Pablo Escobar: My Father written by Escobar’s son.
Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young. The author stays inside San Pedro jail for months with a drug smuggler to chronicle his tale. This is one of the most popular books written on cocaine smuggling.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny. This is a thorough investigation into organized crime worldwide which accounts for 1/5th of total GDP of the world. This book would please readers who are into extensively researched true-crime history books, not so much a casual reader (inb4 - I just read 5 pages of McMafia and wow… just wow).
Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade by Edward Bunker. Edward Bunker had had an eventful life. Incarceration for two and a half decades, being on FBI’s most wanted list, and being a crime novelist. This is his autobiography.
Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. Howard Marks started dealing dope in small quantities while he was studying at Oxford – as you do – and then eventually graduated to dealing it in tons (what the hell was he studying there? Oh, philosophy). This is his fascinating story.
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernandez. Yet another book that resulted in the author getting death threats. This proves the old cliché true that the pen is mightier than the sword; until the sword comes down and cuts your neck. That’s why the author has to live under constant protection.
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright. Any aspiring drug lords should read this instruction manual. Just kidding. Wainwright goes deep into the functioning of various drug cartels and at the end also comes up with a plan to defeat them.
News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Little known author tries his hand at true-crime. Pablo Escobar kidnapped 10 journalists when he was on the run from the authorities. This book revolves around that event.
The Night it Rained Guns: Unravelling the Purulia Arms Drop Conspiracy by Chandan Nandy. On a December night in 1995, someone airdropped three weapons-laden wooden pallets over Purulia, West Bengal. Who did it and why? This book tells the story about one of India’s greatest ever security breaches.
No Angel: My Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns, Nils Johnson-Shelton. Dobyns was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the notorious biker gang. This is his story.
Pablo Escobar: My Father by Juan Pablo Escobar. Juan Pablo is an architect and lives and practices his trade in Argentina. Even though Pablo was his father, Juan does not try to justify his actions even a little bit. This is one of the best books written on Pablo Escobar.
The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe. Sister Ping, leader of the Chinese underworld in the US, earned $40 million a year smuggling people from China. Told from the viewpoints of gangsters, investigators, and poor immigrants alike, this book provides a unique window into the world of human smuggling.
Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History by Michael D. Blutrich. I am disappointed that they went with FBI instead of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the title. Should have made it longer. Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City on the 34th Street Just Opposite the Starbucks, Was Extorted out of 4.54 Millions and 55 Cents Plus Taxes by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in Federal Bureau of Investigation History by Michael Dostoyevsky Blutrich
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. The author, working as a reporter in Japan, writes about the seedy underbelly of crime in the country.
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley. Where’s Nitty? He’s in the car.” Great movie. How Eliot Ness and his team started the downward spiral in criminal career of Al Capone. A somewhat embellished account was also written in the book, but nonetheless, it is a gripping tale.
Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by K. Vijay Kumar. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was the last big outlaw of India. A sandalwood smuggler who lived in the forest to evade the police, Veerappan killed hundreds of policemen and civilians. K. Vijay Kumar, the officer who led the task force that ultimately brought down the brigand, is the author of this book.
Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. ” I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? Goodfellas is perhaps the best Mafia movie ever made, so read it in his own words why Pileggi might fold under questioning.
Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss. This Saviano guy must have a death wish. But as a handsome list-writer once eloquently said, “If bitten already by a King Cobra, what difference it makes if you French kiss a Black Mamba?” Since the publication of his book on the Italian crime syndicate, Saviano has to live under constant police protection. So to make sure they don’t slack off, he wrote a book on Cocaine Cartel, this time acquiring lots of admirers in Latin America.
CONMEN, IMPOSTORS.
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter by Jason Kersten. The Art of making money is to make other people work for you; not the other way round. But more scrupulous method of making money would be to counterfeit it. Art Williams did exactly that.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale. Maybe the most popular book on this list, Abagnale Jr.’s book is not to be missed even if you have watched the movie starring the actor who had sex with a bear (no, not Tormund).
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. One “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, set-up a medical practice to surgically insert goat glands in human testicles to restore their fading sex drive. I am not joking, this happened.
Conman: A Master Swindler’s Own Story by J. R. Weil, W. T. Brannon. Known as “Yellow Kid” Weil was a master conman, who duped public of more than $8 million 100 years ago. He’s called by many as the greatest conman of all time (second to the companies that charge service fees on the internet, of course).
Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist by Peter Fenton. Fenton was a math student until he turned into a carnival con artist. How many bananas he stole from the monkeys? How many bales of potatoes from the elephants? Read this book to find out.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise. If you have any annoying friends who romanticize the Victorian era and say that they would have liked to live there, tell them to read this book and get back to you after that.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal. This is the true story of one of the greatest impostors of all time. The man could have impersonated a chihuahua if he wanted to.
The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson. Viktor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice. I still have the relevant papers that my great grandfather left us. I’m going to shift it to Nauru or Detroit.
The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con by Amy Reading. This is a revenge story of a man who sets out to con the conmen who conned him twice. Unfortunately, the book could have been written better, but it is still worth having a look at.
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood. I once tried playing dead in a meeting when asked about the progress on my project. But there are people who fake their death for lesser gains, such as insurance fraud and debt fraud. Author Elizabeth Greenwood journeys into the dark world of death fraud to find out more.
Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckoff. Charles Ponzi was so successful in duping people that we have immortalized his name by terming such swindles after him. At one point, he was raking in $2 millions a week. How many weeks would it take you to earn 2 million dollars at your current income? (sorry, that got heavy fast. It hurt me too).
A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. One botanist claimed that some species of plants on the islands south of Scotland survived the last Ice Age. Another botanist doubted him. This might not sound like a big fraud if you are not into plants, but believe me when I say that the 2 botanists who just read this threw their phones away in disgust and disbelief.
Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen. A quack doctor named Linda Hazard developed a technique called “fasting treatment”. The story focuses on two sisters who fell for the quack’s assurances that they would be cured of all the diseases - real or imagined. This book is quite infuriating to read. Hazard was a despicable human being.
Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee – The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson. Wilson looks from ancient Rome to current times for food frauds. And she finds them aplenty (companion read - while having a nice snack).
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. This is a good bathroom book about fakers through history.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. Have you heard about Tania Head? If you haven’t, I urge you to skip this book. Tania Head duped survivors of 9/11 and the whole world alike into believing that she was one of the survivors from the South Tower of World Trade Center. I feel enraged just by typing this. So just read this book if you want to know more about her. There are a couple of documentaries out there too.
HACKERS.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll. Long before internet became a place for cat memes, Cliff Stoll was working at a research lab as a systems manager. One day he found 75 cents of accounting error. This made him alert that an unauthorized person was logging into the system. Thus began his lone effort of tracking down the spy.
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. Before there was internet, or even personal computers, mobsters and teenagers hacked the telephone system.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon. The book tells the story of one of the best hackers of all times, Kevin Mitnick, and his cat and mouse game with the FBI.
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich. A group of bankers manipulated daily interest rates just a fraction here and there on loans worth trillions of dollars and made some serious cash for themselves. This book also rocks one of the ugliest book covers of 2017.
MUTINEERS, PIRATES, OUTLAWS.
Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny by Mike Dash. I was torn whether to include this book in the list as the history of Batavia’s mutiny is littered with corpses. But as the focus is on the mutiny, I am going to keep it here. This event could give the Medusa’s raft a run for its money.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees. Poor girls in England, most of who were petty thieves, were given a chance to sail to Botany Bay in Australia to create a new life for themselves and the male population of New South Wales. But the real story happened at the sea on board the ship Lady Julian.
The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch. Butch: What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful. Guard: People kept robbing it. Butch: Small price to pay for beauty. The book might not be full of memorable dialogues as the movie, but if you want to know more about the legendary outlaws, give this book a chance.
Lost Paradise: From Mutiny on the Bounty to a Modern-Day Legacy of Sexual Mayhem, the Dark Secrets of Pitcairn Island Revealed by Kathy Marks. Mutiny of the Bounty is perhaps the most infamous of mutinies that occurred at sea. Even after the event and hundreds of years later, the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his sailors continue to live a crime-filled life like their forefathers on Pitcairn Island.
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. This book will change your perception of Captain Kidd, that’s for sure.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. This non-fiction book concentrates on Sheriff Pat Garrett’s chase in pursuit of the bandit Billy the Kid. If you like reading westerns, this one and The Last Outlaws are not to be missed.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. Cordingly takes a look at life among the pirates. Some of your romanticism would be squashed, but there were some good things about being a pirate too. Life among the pirates was neither black nor white; it was beige.
POLITICAL CRIMES
Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History by Guy Lawson. Three kids won a 300 million dollar contract – legitimately – I must add, to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They had no money, but still they almost pulled it off. I don’t know, read this book, and if you’re a US citizen, visit the websites mentioned in the book, see if they are still doing business the same way, and if you want, you can become a supplier to the army too. Don’t forget to send me my cut (the movie War Dogs was trash).
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair by Sam Roberts. Even if you’re not a United Statian of American (USians?), chances are you might have read at least something about the execution of the Rosenberg couple as spies. This is probably the best book about the subject.
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Man Behind Them: How America Went to War in Iraq by Bob Drogin. How many weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq? If your answer is “what’s that?” then congratulations, you’re not unlike one of your former presidents. Who told the USians that there were WMDs with Saddam? Curveball.
The Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Perkins was an economic hitman, who at the instruction of US intelligence agencies and giant corporations cajoled and blackmailed other country leaders to serve US foreign policy and award lucrative contracts to American businesses (now that job has been transferred to the White House).
A Kim Jong – Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer. Say you want to make a big movie for your country. But there is no one in your country who can handle such an ambitious project. What do you do? Hire some talent from other country? But you’re Kim Jong – Il. Oh. Then you just kidnap them, and force them to make the glorious movie of yours. Read this book. It’s pretty absurd (the movie they eventually made for Kim was utter shit. The Room would look like Gone with the Wind compared to that abomination).
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets… And How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins. One day a man Abdul Qadeer Khan caught a plane to Pakistan from Europe. With him he had blueprints of the mechanism that could prepare weapons grade Uranium that he had stolen from the lab he worked at in the last 3 years. He would make the first atomic bomb for Pakistan with that information. Then he sold the tech to stable countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. How can someone get away with stealing such powerful information? Read this book to find out.
Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. This is a pretty controversial topic that has only gained wider acknowledgement in recent decades. Read this book to know in detail how bogus the claims of justice being served to the perpetrators of the Holocaust were. Basically, if you were a scientist, you were very likely to be acquitted from any War Crimes allegations.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina by Uki Goni. How did most of the Nazis who managed to escape from Germany ended up in South America? Read about the collusion of various entities and institutions that made it possible in this book.
The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. This is the true story of a mole in FBI, how he attempted to sell classified information and how FBI tried to track him down.
ROBBERIES, HEISTS.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein. If there is one thief in this list that I admire, it is without a doubt, Attila Ambrus. Ambrus was known as a gentleman thief, who would ask – no, request - the teller to fill his bag with money. If you read this book, it would be hard for you to dislike Attila even though he was a thief.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Bill Mason, Lee Gruenfeld. Bill Mason looted many famous personalities in his long career as a jewel thief. In this book he tells how he did it.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. Do you know there are people whose hobby is fly tying? The feathery thing that you attach to the hook to catch fish? But these are not your average fly tiers. They use feathers from exotic birds to create different ties whose total cost could run in thousands of dollars. Moreover, many of the most coveted birds are either protected or extinct. So one night a man named Edwin Rist broke into Tring museum and took hundreds of bird skins, some that belonged to Darwin, to fuel his hobby and even getting rich by selling precious feathers to other tiers. Don’t miss this book.
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million by Mark Bowden. Who hasn’t dreamt of finding a big bag of money? It couldn’t have happened to a more clueless person. Joey Coyle, to be exact.
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby. The theft from Antwerp that still raises many questions.
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. The truth is not that romantic.
The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby. Pearls, more valuable than the Hope Diamond, are stolen by thieves in Edwardian London.
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. My favorite Crichton book. Stealing gold from a running train! Watch the movie too that stars the great Sean Connery.
Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant. How easy is it to steal 17 million dollars? As far as these thieves were concerned, not much. Getting away with it was another thing altogether. The movie was pretty average, I think.
Into the Blast: The True Story of DB Cooper by Skipp Porteous, Robert Blevins. Is Tommy Wiseau DB Cooper? If only that was true. Read the book but don’t expect any clear-cut answers (I think most people would agree that the clumsy bastard died after he jumped from the plane).
A Pickpocket’s Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York by Timothy J. Gilfoyle. True story of George Appo, a pickpocket living in nineteenth-century New York.
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich. A guy steals moon rocks from NASA and then had sex on them with his girlfriend (how the hell is that comfortable?)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. The last hermit was not a hermit in true sense. He didn’t rely on land to feed himself. He stole from the nearby community. Before someone says I have spoiled the book for them, it is revealed in the first chapter that he is a thief.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. The Steve Jobs impersonator, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and her old boyfriend, Sunny, are some of the most vile people that I have come across while reading about corporate crime. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart. This is probably the most famous book written about those Wall Street scoundrels.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. The story of Leo Koretz, who created one of the longest running Ponzi scheme in the 1920s Chicago.
The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. Mark Whitacre becomes an FBI informant against his own corporation. But as time goes by, the FBI starts to realize that Mark is not as truthful as he seems to be, and he has his own agenda (they made a movie with Matt Damon).
Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con by Guy Lawson. Sam Israel’s hedge fund was making heavy losses. So naturally, he fabricated fake returns to fool the investors. Then he heard about a secret market from where he could convert his millions into billions. That’s how he lost the last 150 million dollars of his invertors’ money.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder. Only thing you are going to learn from this book is don’t do business in Russia.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Bethany McLean asked one simple question in her article when everyone else was going gaga over Enron. “What does Enron actually do?” Nobody knew. Even Enron couldn’t give a specific answer. They were not just committing accounting fraud; they were looting ordinary people by creating fake shortage of electricity and driving the prices high. The documentary is worth watching too.
Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony by Gary Stephen Ross. The guy Molony debited huge amounts of money from the bank he worked at to feed his gambling addiction. Oh, and he took the money in other people’s name who held huge accounts there. This is one of the best true-crime books that I have ever read.
Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way by Jon Krakauer. You know the man who builds schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Great guy, right? Krakauer doesn’t think so. And he’ll tell you why in this short book.
The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques. 65 billion dollars. That’s the amount that Madoff swindled from people through decades of fraud. I think I can buy a small island country with this much money. The idiot is in jail though. I don’t know, maybe after a couple of billion, skip to a country with no extradition treaty and live the rest of your life without the fear of being getting caught? But then, these types of people don’t know when to stop.
OTHER.
American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down --- My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off World’s Casinos by Richard Marcus. The guy ripped-off casinos all over the world by stealing gaming chips while maintaining an illusion of a highroller to lend his eventual take required legitimacy.
Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape from Alcatraz by Jolene Babyak. Written by the daughter of a guard at Alcatraz, this book tells the story of the infamous escape from the prison island. Don’t forget to watch the classic movie too.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. The movie 21 was based on this book. But if you want to know the real story, without the whitewashing, you have no choice but to read this book.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales. Kevin Bales estimates that there are 27 million people worldwide who live as slaves, right now. And yes, slavery still exists in United States of America in case you were wondering. This is a depressing book.
Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by T. J. Parsell. Rape in prison is absolutely overlooked almost everywhere. Read this book if you can endure reading about helplessness page after page.
Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Most Notorious Jail by Kathryn Bonella. Prison systems in developing world differ from the developed one in one regard that the guards and officials there are more corrupt and hence are likely to look the other way when something bad is going down amongst the inmates. Kerobokan Jail in Bali is one of the worst among those.
The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. The author interviewed inmates from Leavenworth Prison for two years. The book is the result of that labor.
The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business by Jeffrey Robinson. I have a perfect idea to launder money. Laser Tag! Robinson looks at the third largest business in the world. The book was published a while ago, but still hasn’t lost most of its relevancy.
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Jon releases the Krakauer on one of the most relevant subjects of today. Rapes in colleges. These institutes would do anything to sweep things under the rug to maintain the illusion of clean image in the public eye.
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover. The author worked as a prison guard for a year at one of the most notorious prisons of the United States. This book is about his experience.
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Parka Kings - 23 Skidoo (1996) FULL ALBUM

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