Anyone who co-wrote Barbarians at the Gate belongs in the Business Writers Hall of Fame. Anyone who wrote Vendetta about Edmond Safra also belongs in the Hall of Fame. Anyone who wrote The Big Rich about the great Texas wildcatters belongs there too. Bryan Burrough did all three, which puts him on Mt. Rushmore.
Now that I've regained my composure: The November 2009 Vanity Fair features Burrough's extended profile of Marc Dreier, which Dreier cooperated with. It's a shame Bernard Madoff came along and ruined everything because Marc Dreier's scheme was even more audacious and difficult to imagine. It's one thing to go after and defraud the naive and the gullible, rich widows and orphans and status-seekers who don't know much about investing, and to do it via a Ponzi scheme, which has an internal logic to it that makes it easier to prolong. Dreier just "went full con artist", which everyone knows you should never do (start watching at 0:25 and stop at 1:10), and he went after and defrauded the best, stealing from a who's who of hedge funds.
The obvious question is how someone like Dreier could have stolen so much from people who are so good. And he stole the most from the best--you're just going to have to trust me when I say this. Without knowing the details of the scheme in full, all I can say is that if Dreier had had to deal one-on-one with the managers of these hedge funds, rather than with people who reported to them, he would not have had a prayer of success. It's one of the buried risks of investing in large funds--the founding genius can't oversee everything.