Could you ever imagine reading an investment book with multitudes of different ideas ranging from lukewarm to hot, only to find out after you’ve finished reading it that the book was written by Bernie Madoff? That is pretty close to what I have just done.
This last summer I picked up a handful of books at a yard sale about real estate investing and managing properties. One of them was a book titled ’171 Ways to Make Money in Real Estate’ by Sonny Bloch. The book was first published over 20 years ago and gets very specific into the different ways to buy or negotiate for property. Some of the exact methods and numbers would no longer apply due to the changes over the last twenty years, but I thought this was an interesting read nonetheless.
He talks about methods he used to buy property in Florida before Walt Disney World was built, then selling for massive gains. He mentions this a few times through the book and really showed himself as a credible expert.
After I read the book, I researched the author. Wow. What a way to lose faith in everything I had just read. Apparently he was the talk radio equivalent of Bernie Madoff. He defrauded his listeners with investments such as fake gold bars, equity in bogus radio stations, and wireless cable. Most of the victims were elderly people who wound up pennyless as a direct result of Sonny Bloch.
While my problem with Sonny pales in comparison the problems he caused 15+ years ago, I can’t place any trust in this book. I know parts of it are true and would still work today, but the real question is bigger. Do I really want to take financial advice from someone who defrauded the elderly out of almost $25 million, fled the country, and when brought back charged with (and plead guilty to) 7 different counts of tax evasion and perjury.
I’ll probably flick through the again, but it will not be going back on the shelf. The garbage can is a much better place for this book. Glad I didn’t pay more than a quarter for it.