• Retail Gangster

  • The Insane, Real-Life Story of Crazy Eddie
  • By: Gary Weiss
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A biography of the spectacular rise and fall of Eddie Antar, better known as "Crazy Eddie," whose home electronics empire changed the world even as it turned out to be one of the biggest business scams of all time

Back in the fall of 2016, we heard the news about the passing of Eddie Antar, "Crazy Eddie" as he was known to millions of people, the man behind the successful chain of electronic stores and one of the most iconic ad campaigns in history. Few things evoke the New York of a particular era the way "Crazy Eddie! His prices are insaaaaane!" does. The journalist Herb Greenberg called his death the "end of an era" and that couldn't be more true. What's insane is that his story has never been told.

Before Enron, before Madoff, before The Wolf of Wall Street, Eddie Antar's corruption was second to none. The difference was that it was a street franchise, a local place that was in the blood stream of everyone's daily life in the 1970s and early '80s. And Eddie pulled it off with a certain style, an in your face blue collar chutzpah. Despite the fact that then U.S. Attorney Michael Chertoffcalled him "the Darth Vader of capitalism" after the extent of the fraud was revealed, one of the largest SEC frauds in American history after Crazy Eddie's stores went public in 1984, Eddie was talked about fondly by the people who worked for him. They still do--there are myriads of ex-Crazy Eddie employee web pages that still attract fans, and the Crazy Eddie fraud scheme is now taught in every business school across the United States. 

Many years have passed since the franchise went down in spectacular fashion but Crazy Eddie's moment has endured the way that iconic brands and characters do—one only need Google the media outpouring that accompanied his death. Maybe it's because it crystallized everything about 1970s New York almost perfectly, the merchandise and rise of consumer electronics (stereos!), the ads (cheesy!), the money (cash!). In Retail Gangsterinvestigative journalist Gary Weiss takes listeners behind the scenes of one of the most unbelievable business scam stories of all time, a story spanning continents and generations, reaffirming the old adage that the truth is often stranger than fiction.

©2022 Gary Weiss (P)2022 Hachette Books

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What listeners say about Retail Gangster

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Just couldn't make it through

this was actually extremely well written with excellent narration. unfortunately, I just couldn't finish it. perhaps if I grew up at the same time and in the same place I might have found it much more interesting.

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The book was “Insane!”

Growing up in Brooklyn near the Coney Island store during the 80’s, I lived everything they talked about in the book. I did know how insane the frauds were. This would make a great movie on par with the Wolf of Wall Street.

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Crazy as advertised

I did not know anything about Crazy Eddie going into this book. Frankly I'm not sure I'm better for having heard the sordid tale. But Mr. Weiss's storytelling is entertaining and gripping. But for humanity's sake, it would be well for all of these cast of characters fade away into oblivion.

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  • db
  • 09-02-22

Total waste of time

Great reader,rather stupid story... Could've told the story With a crisp 10 page outline

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Insane!!!

As a child of the 80s growing up in Brooklyn, I loved the Crazy Eddie commercials. This was an absolutely fascinating insight to the man behind the business.

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More a family drama than true crime

The book does not fit neatly into categories. It's partly a business history of Crazy Eddie, partly a true crime story, and partly a family drama. Eddie was a truly reprehensible person, and I did not enjoy hearing about his mistreatment of his family members, which made me feel like I was in a family squabble. I preferred the early business history, especially about advertising, and the investigation of his securities and other frauds.

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  • LZ
  • 08-29-22

Hard to get into

You would think a book about Crazy Eddie would contain some colorful characters or some drama, but it's very dry.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-22

Good Solid Listen

I enjoyed it. It is a rise and fall story. It explains how to commit fraud in retail. it is informative and a decent story.