FT Business Book of the Year

Best business books

All the books listed for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

Octopus by Guy Lawson


The collapse of Israel’s hedge fund, Bayou Capital, in 2008, would have been condemned to obscurity by the dark, long sha­dow of the vaster Madoff scam were it not for its sheer strangeness, as told by Guy Lawson. In Octopus, Lawson relates by far the most rollicking, trippy yarn to emerge from the 2008 fin­ancial collapse so far. — Read the complete FT review


Octopus is a real-life thriller that tells the inside story of a $300 million hedge fund fraud and the wild-goose chase through Europe by its drug-fuelled manager for a lucrative “secret market” beneath the financial market we all know.

Sam Israel was a man who seemed to have it all. Born into one of World’s richest families, he founded his own hedge fund, promising his investors guaranteed profits. But, after suffering devastating losses and faking tax returns, Israel knew his real performance would soon be discovered. So when a former CIA-operative turned conman told him about a “secret market” run by the Federal Reserve, Israel bet his last $150 million of other people’s money on a chance to make it all back. Thus began his crazy year-long adventure in a world populated by clandestine bankers, conspiracy theories, and gun-toting spooks issuing cryptic warnings about a mysterious cabal known as the Octopus.