they cooked

Patrick Edwards on “They Cooked the Books”

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

“They Cooked the Books: A Humorous Look at the World of White Collar Crime”.

What’s the book’s first line?

“They cooked the books. I lost all my money in the stock because the company used ‘creative accounting’ to make it look like it was thriving.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

Have you ever wondered about expression such as “The cat’s out of the bag,” “Fast-buck artist”, and “Caught Red-Handed”?

“They Cooked the Books: A Humorous Look at the World of White Collar Crime” explores these sayings and their fascinating origins, original meanings and present day usage having to do with Wall Street crime.

For instance, “Cooking the books,” originated in England when the Earl of Strafford said: The proof was once clear; however they have cooked it ever since. The year was 1636 and the Earle was referring to altering ingredients in a recipe-not the “creative accounting” all too common in today’s business world.

There are both thought-provoking and humorous quotes throughout the book such as this one by Jay Leno. “It looks like more than 13,000 people were caught up in that Madoff Ponzi scheme. You know what a Ponzi scheme is? That’s when you throw good money after bad, or as the government calls it, a stimulus package.”

This book invites the reader to come along on a fascinating historical tour of some of today’s most familiar financial expressions dealing with fraud.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I must give credit for the idea of this book with two serendipitous happenings. The first was in summer of 2008 when Tony Bastian (owner of Joe’s Pharmacy in San Francisco) used the idiom “cooking the books” to describe why he lost all his money in one particular stock.

The second event, the enzyme that started the writing process, was the May 2009 Beetle Baily comic in which there was this exchange between Sgt. Snorkel and a new recruit:

“I was under investigation for corporate fraud, so I  joined the army.”

“Do you have any military experience?” Snorkel asked.

“No, but if you need someone to cook your books, I’m you man.”

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Fraud, fraud, and more fraud.

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