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Fun While It Lasted: My Rise and Fall in the…

Fun While It Lasted: My Rise and Fall in the Land of Fame and Fortune

by Bruce McNall

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786868643, Hardcover)

Creativity is highly prized in the business world but once that creativity extends to bookkeeping, things can get a bit sticky. Bruce McNall's creative career afforded him celebrity status, millions of dollars, an opulent lifestyle, and, in the end, a five-year prison term. His memoir, Fun While It Lasted, which shares the same breeziness hinted at in its title, is both entertaining and a bit depressing. McNall parlayed a boyhood interest in rare coins into a profitable livelihood even before entering college. Within a few years, he was traveling the world, buying up coins from shady dealers and reselling them to Hollywood's elite. McNall played fast and loose with his prices and accounting and profited handsomely off a market that he helped create. From coins, he branched out, trading in thoroughbred racehorses, and buying the L.A. Kings hockey team. Ultimately, the FBI caught up with him and McNall was jailed for fraud. In reflecting on his life and crimes, McNall heartily endorses the assessment made by a Los Angeles Daily News reporter: "In the end, Bruce McNall wanted too much to be liked." And while that explanation is awfully sweet, if one judges by his choices and lifestyle it seems like his problem was plain old greed. Despite his financial success and stunning talent as a salesman, McNall always seemed to crave more money and power and was willing to break laws and lie to achieve them. Because it details a life more dramatic than most, and because its compelling central character ultimately gets his comeuppance, Fun While It Lasted, co-written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael D'Antonio, manages to be both a fun adventure and a cautionary moral tale. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 06 Apr 2016 09:37:27 -0400)

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