Do You Sincerely Want to Be Rich?
The Full Story of Bernard Cornfeld and I.O.S.
Publication Date: May 17, 2005
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In the fall of 1955, Bernard Cornfeld arrived in Paris with scant money in his pocket and a tenuous relationship with a New York firm to sell mutual funds overseas. Cornfeld, a former psychologist and social worker, knew how to make friends fast and soon targeted two groups of people who could help him fulfill his economic ambitions: American expatriates who were looking to build their own fortunes and servicemen abroad who loved to live high-rolling lives and spend money. Using the first group as door-to-door salesmen and the second group as his gullible target, Cornfeld built a multi-billion-dollar and multi-national company, famous for its salesmen’s winning one-line pitch: “Do you sincerely want to be rich?” In this eye-opening yet entertaining book, an award-winning “Insight” team of the London Sunday Times examines Cornfeld’s impressive scheme, a classic example of good, old-fashioned American business gumption and guile.
CHARLES RAW was financial editor of The Sunday Times (London) when this book was written. BRUCE PAGE, then executive features editor at The Sunday Times, was coauthor of two other bestselling "Insight" books. GODFREY HODGSON was a Washington correspondent for The Observer (London), where for two years he wrote the financial column "Mammon," and was foreign features editor of The Sunday Times. He also coauthored, with Page, American Melodrama: The Presidential Campaign of 1968.
“A splendid story quite splendidly told. . . . [The authors] have researched their subject well; this is no instant history. They savor the drama and the madness, but they stick to business and write with restraint. Cornfeld’s girls, castles, and planes come into the story mostly as they contributed to expense.” —John Kenneth Galbraith, Book World
“The best book of its kind I have ever read . . . unravels the financial complexity of Investors Overseas Services so skillfully that the general reader will have no difficulty in understanding what happened.” —New Statesmen
“A tremendously complex story. . . . [The authors] seem to have poked into every scandal, checked every statistic and interviewed everyone who would talk, from Bernie Cornfeld himself down to the disgruntled employee who told them: ‘If anyone was fool enough to put their money with us, that was their problem.’” —Otto Friedrich, New York Times Book Review