The book is great but it leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. One must conclude that there is no effective control by the SEC over companies on the NYSE and NADAQ.
I found this to be just a riveting book to read. It reminded me of the movie Wall Street although from what I gather Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham was not as good looking as Michael Douglas and he wore a hair piece and drove an older Oldsmobile, not a Ferrari.
Milken while reading the Wall Street Journal and similar material on the bus going to business school in Philadelphia came up with this idea of selling the junk bonds. Once he graduated and was employed he pushed that idea, similar to the way Fred Smith pushed Fed.Ex. - another college idea. It comes clear in the book, just shouting out at you, that he had lots of help. Banks helped him, brokers helped him, other companies helped him, he opened a new office for Drexel in LA and in general just took over that company - all because people knew and appreciated that he was going to make buckets of money. His whole scheme was in fact similar to a pyramid scheme with everyone getting fat fees that were supposed to be re-paid down stream by the successful company. The Predator's Ball did exist as real annual social get together where the bankers, brokers, and the borrowing companies got together for a night of partying. The victims - the shareholders - were not invited.
Like every Ponzi scheme at some point reality had to set in and it failed. That is what this book is about. Sure we can learn but apparently we are immune or unable to learn from history because the market over inflated itself and the Nasdaq went to 5000+ a decade later, and we had World Com and Enron. It is also remarkable that after taking so much money he got off with a light jail sentence and a big fine ($500. million) that Millken could pay.
Jack in Toronto