• The cover of the book An American Wife

    An American Wife

    The first time I read An American Wife, I sank into the grip of a fascinating novel. The second time, I examined the making of a roman à clef about Laura Bush, and unraveled how Sittenfeld used the spine of truth and built fiction upon that skeleton.

     
  • The cover of the book Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend

    Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend

    Yes, there is a real man that inspired the phrase “Ponzi scheme.” Like many charlatans and schemers, Charles Ponzi could be irresistibly charming—and he managed to pull the wool over his wife’s eyes even as he fooled (almost) the entire City of Boston in 1920. Like Madoff, Ponzi had a few people shaking their heads and claiming foul—while the masses refused to listen and lost their life savings.

     
  • The cover of the book The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess

    The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess

    Excess. This book captures it all: from greed to drugs to indulgence, The Buy Side was a must read for researching the setting for my novel—and helped me plan how my character would pride himself on supposedly disallowing the shenanigans described in this book, further setting his character up as someone who knows how to pull the emotional and intellectual strings of those around him.

     
  • The cover of the book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute

    The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute

    How naïve can people be? Naïve enough to buy into the possibility of Beanie Babies (remember those?) rising forever in value, being a long-term investment and even sending children to college. The obsession rose from the work of the creator, Ty Warner, who pulled the strings of this mania.

     
  • The cover of the book Drunk Mom

    Drunk Mom

    What happens when you are the scandal that you’re trying to stop? I include this memoir because shame is such an important part of any scandal. Is the perpetrator ashamed? Aware of their guilt? And if so, what is the story they tell themselves even as they know their behavior is destroying their family? This book shines a light on the twisted logic used when we’re hiding from ourselves, as well as the world.