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'I stole every nickel and blew it on fine threads, luxurious lodgings, fantastic foxes and other sensual goodies. I partied in every capital in Europe and basked on all the world's most famous beaches'. Frank W Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams and Ringo Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters and escape artists in history. In 'I stole every nickel and blew it on fine threads, luxurious lodgings, fantastic foxes and other sensual goodies. I partied in every capital in Europe and basked on all the world's most famous beaches'. Frank W Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams and Ringo Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and co-piloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as a member of hospital management, practised law without a licence, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks all before he was twenty-one. Known by the police of twenty-six foreign countries and all fifty states as 'The Skywayman', Abagnale lived a sumptuous life on the run - until the law caught up with him. Now recognised as the nation's leading authority on financial foul play, Abagnale is a charming rogue whose hilarious, stranger-than-fiction international escapades and ingenious escapes - including one from an aeroplane - make CATCH ME IF YOU CAN an irresistable tale of deceit.


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'I stole every nickel and blew it on fine threads, luxurious lodgings, fantastic foxes and other sensual goodies. I partied in every capital in Europe and basked on all the world's most famous beaches'. Frank W Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams and Ringo Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters and escape artists in history. In 'I stole every nickel and blew it on fine threads, luxurious lodgings, fantastic foxes and other sensual goodies. I partied in every capital in Europe and basked on all the world's most famous beaches'. Frank W Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams and Ringo Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and co-piloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as a member of hospital management, practised law without a licence, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks all before he was twenty-one. Known by the police of twenty-six foreign countries and all fifty states as 'The Skywayman', Abagnale lived a sumptuous life on the run - until the law caught up with him. Now recognised as the nation's leading authority on financial foul play, Abagnale is a charming rogue whose hilarious, stranger-than-fiction international escapades and ingenious escapes - including one from an aeroplane - make CATCH ME IF YOU CAN an irresistable tale of deceit.

30 review for Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

  1. 4 out of 5

    Crumb

    Fascinating and unbelievable It amazes me that Frank Abagnale got away with all of his cons for as long as he did. He is a man of sharp wit and unduly intelligence. This is a story of white-collar crime and lies. Big, fat, whoppers. If you've seen the movie, Catch Me if You Can and have enjoyed it, you will definitely enjoy this one. This book is heavy on the entertainment and I have no problem with that. A very quick, easy read. Although this is non-fiction, it reads like a modern-day thriller. Fascinating and unbelievable It amazes me that Frank Abagnale got away with all of his cons for as long as he did. He is a man of sharp wit and unduly intelligence. This is a story of white-collar crime and lies. Big, fat, whoppers. If you've seen the movie, Catch Me if You Can and have enjoyed it, you will definitely enjoy this one. This book is heavy on the entertainment and I have no problem with that. A very quick, easy read. Although this is non-fiction, it reads like a modern-day thriller. Absolutely recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    "What I learned from this book," Goodreads asks? That "con man" really does mean "confidence man": the more you act like you deserve something, the more likely you are to get it. A precocious child who devised clever modes of personal gain, Frank A. grew into an even smarter man. He faked college degrees, professional affiliations, career histories - pretty much everything, including his name. Without any relevant schooling, throughout his life he "was" (meaning he successfuly convinced people h "What I learned from this book," Goodreads asks? That "con man" really does mean "confidence man": the more you act like you deserve something, the more likely you are to get it. A precocious child who devised clever modes of personal gain, Frank A. grew into an even smarter man. He faked college degrees, professional affiliations, career histories - pretty much everything, including his name. Without any relevant schooling, throughout his life he "was" (meaning he successfuly convinced people he was) a pilot, doctor and college professor, among others. Amazing. This is a great book and a real inspiration for those who believe the mantra: what people don't know won't hurt them - and will probably help me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gary Taylor

    Although I knew the ghostwriter, Stan Redding, as far back as the 1970s and in the 1980s when this shot to the top of the bestseller lists, I never sat down to read it until 2008. When I was done, I couldn't understand the fuss. I've had to chalk it up to the tenor of the times, in which any sort of true confession like Abagnale's would seem a revelation. In addition, I am sure the excitement of such an accomplished, child-prodigy con artist overshadowed the omission of some elements I would hav Although I knew the ghostwriter, Stan Redding, as far back as the 1970s and in the 1980s when this shot to the top of the bestseller lists, I never sat down to read it until 2008. When I was done, I couldn't understand the fuss. I've had to chalk it up to the tenor of the times, in which any sort of true confession like Abagnale's would seem a revelation. In addition, I am sure the excitement of such an accomplished, child-prodigy con artist overshadowed the omission of some elements I would have considered vital to this story. Stan allowed Frank to run wild and loose on the narrative of his exploits with almost no confirmation, so that technique left it hard to believe. A thorough job of dissecting Frank's psychology might have salvaged that issue. But I'm betting Frank was holding back, and Stan was just taking what he could get out of him. He still produced a book that would entice a the top movie director/actor combo of Scorcese/DiCaprio/Hanks to develop a feature film 20 years after the fact. But Stan and I were jouirnalists in Houston back in the 1970s, so I was expecting more from him. "Catch Me If You Can" was plenty of fun with a surface scrubbing of the main character's psychology that left me suspicious about how much of this true crime memoir actually was fiction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    Q: One of the New York cops who’d worked hardest to catch me read the report and snorted. “This head doctor’s gotta be kiddin‘ us,” he scoffed. “This phony rips off several hundred banks, hustles half the hotels in the world for everything but the sheets, screws every airline in the skies, including most of their stewardesses, passes enough bad checks to paper the walls of the Pentagon, runs his own goddamned colleges and universities, makes half the cops in twenty countries look like dumbasses w Q: One of the New York cops who’d worked hardest to catch me read the report and snorted. “This head doctor’s gotta be kiddin‘ us,” he scoffed. “This phony rips off several hundred banks, hustles half the hotels in the world for everything but the sheets, screws every airline in the skies, including most of their stewardesses, passes enough bad checks to paper the walls of the Pentagon, runs his own goddamned colleges and universities, makes half the cops in twenty countries look like dumbasses while he’s stealing over $2 million, and he has a low criminal threshold? What the hell would he have done if he’d had a high criminal threshold, looted Fort Knox?” There is enchantment in a uniform, especially one that marks the wearer as a person of rare skills, courage or achievement. A paratrooper’s wings tell of a special breed of soldier. A submariner’s dolphin denotes the unusual sailor. A policeman’s blue symbolizes authority. A forest ranger’s raiment evokes wilderness lore. Even a doorman’s gaudy garb stirs vague thoughts of pomp and royalty. I felt great in my Pan Am pilot’s uniform as I walked into La Guardia Airport. I obviously was commanding respect and esteem. Men looked at me admiringly or enviously. Pretty women and girls smiled at me. Airport policemen nodded courteously. Pilots and stewardesses smiled, spoke to me or lifted a hand in greeting as they passed. Every man, woman and child who noticed me seemed warm and friendly. It was heady stuff and I loved it. In fact, I became instantly addicted. During the next five years the uniform was my alter ego. I used it in the same manner a junkie shoots up on heroin. Whenever I felt lonely, depressed, rejected or doubtful of my own worth, I’d dress up in my pilot’s uniform and seek out a crowd. The uniform bought me respect and dignity. Without it on, at times, I felt useless and dejected. With it on, during such times, I felt like I was wearing Fortunatus’ cap and walking in seven-league boots.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tom Quinn

    I learned early that class is universally admired. Almost any fault, sin or crime is considered more leniently if there's a touch of class involved. Charming and riotously entertaining, captivating and devilishly debonair. Crime has no business being this fun. 5 stars. I learned early that class is universally admired. Almost any fault, sin or crime is considered more leniently if there's a touch of class involved. Charming and riotously entertaining, captivating and devilishly debonair. Crime has no business being this fun. 5 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This is honestly the best book I have read in a long time. It's one of the few that I couldn't put down and had to know what was going to happen next. I know I had already seen the movie, but the book was better. I was disappointed to find out that the movie was actually a watered-down version of the story, and that the events were shuffled around and sometimes completely made up to go along with the flow of the movie. The actual story is much harsher and emotional, and there is really no cat-an This is honestly the best book I have read in a long time. It's one of the few that I couldn't put down and had to know what was going to happen next. I know I had already seen the movie, but the book was better. I was disappointed to find out that the movie was actually a watered-down version of the story, and that the events were shuffled around and sometimes completely made up to go along with the flow of the movie. The actual story is much harsher and emotional, and there is really no cat-and-mouse game with the detective. I mean yeah Abagnale did do stuff to piss off the police, and it was usually O'Reilly that was following him, but there wasn't that love hate relationship that there that really made the movie so great. I was also disappointed in the fact that the book just kinda stopped. I loved how the movie showed Frank's experiences after being caught. I mean I guess he talked a little about that in the book, but it was more of an epilogue and part of the question and answer section with the author. The movie was able to show what it was like after his life of crime while I felt like the book was just like crime crime crime crime crime fun crime fun crime jail OVER. So yeah.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    2.5/3 stars for the writing, but a full fledged 5 stars for his confidence and skill. Frank Abagnale must be one of the smartest criminals I've ever read about. He's quick thinking, and he does his research. I really don't know how he got away with it for so long, and it's pretty amazing. I never have committed a crime and I hope I never have to, but I have to tip my hat to this guy. Abagnale has successfully scammed everyone from airlines, hotels, and banks to local prisons, hookers, and the FBI. 2.5/3 stars for the writing, but a full fledged 5 stars for his confidence and skill. Frank Abagnale must be one of the smartest criminals I've ever read about. He's quick thinking, and he does his research. I really don't know how he got away with it for so long, and it's pretty amazing. I never have committed a crime and I hope I never have to, but I have to tip my hat to this guy. Abagnale has successfully scammed everyone from airlines, hotels, and banks to local prisons, hookers, and the FBI. But this book really isn't all that special if you already saw the movie. That's right, the movie was better. I loved Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks in the two roles and kept picturing them for the characters in the book. The book doesn't have anything more than the movie, and it isn't written very well either. If you already saw the movie, you can skip this one. If you didn't see the movie, just watch the movie. Wow, I never thought I would say that. Yes, I loved reliving all the conning from the movie, but it just felt like I've heard it all before so I was uninterested. I've watched a lot of movies before reading the book they originated from, and I never felt this way before. I wanted to enjoy this book much more than I did, and I even stuck with it all the way through despite being overly disappointed. Honestly, save yourself the time and just watch the movie. You'll be far more entertained.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom Germain

    This is the true crime book that inspired the fun movie starring DiCaprio and Hanks. Truly amazing what Abagnale, a guy who never finished high school, got away with, such as impersonating an airline pilot, a lawyer and a teacher...and all at a very young age. Sometimes the veracity of his claims may be in doubt, as after all, he was a con man, but even if half of it happened as he describes it, it serves as a lesson in human relations, namely that you should never trust what your eyes or ears t This is the true crime book that inspired the fun movie starring DiCaprio and Hanks. Truly amazing what Abagnale, a guy who never finished high school, got away with, such as impersonating an airline pilot, a lawyer and a teacher...and all at a very young age. Sometimes the veracity of his claims may be in doubt, as after all, he was a con man, but even if half of it happened as he describes it, it serves as a lesson in human relations, namely that you should never trust what your eyes or ears tell you! Also, it's amazing what a man will do just to bed women, which is what Abagnale says motivated him to lie, cheat and steal. I finished this book in two days, but I had never read anything that had so many expressions I wasn't familiar with or words that were used in an unexpected context (for example, he writes "abroad", but doesn't mean "in a foreign land"), as well as some curious inaccuracies (for ex, a "glide scope" isn't a light, as he claims), but that's the refreshing aspect of this book, as it feels authentic, as if Abagnale himself was speaking, sort of like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Digital audio book narrated by Barrett Whitener. Subtitle depends on the edition: The Amazing True Story of the Most Extraordinary Liar in the History of Fun and Profit! -or- The True Story Of a Real Fake. Frank Abagnale began his career as a forger, check-kiter and con-man when he was just sixteen years old. His first victim was his own father. By the time he was twenty-one he had passed himself off as a pilot, a pediatrician, a lawyer, and a professor of sociology, and he had cashed over $2.5 mi Digital audio book narrated by Barrett Whitener. Subtitle depends on the edition: The Amazing True Story of the Most Extraordinary Liar in the History of Fun and Profit! -or- The True Story Of a Real Fake. Frank Abagnale began his career as a forger, check-kiter and con-man when he was just sixteen years old. His first victim was his own father. By the time he was twenty-one he had passed himself off as a pilot, a pediatrician, a lawyer, and a professor of sociology, and he had cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks. He was known by the police forces of every state in the U.S. as well as those in more than twenty foreign countries. He was arrested more than once, and even served some time in European prisons, but more often he charmed his way out of the situation, or pulled off a daring escape. Why did he do this? He blamed it on “the ladies.” He was enamored of women, and he wanted to show them a good time. It’s a fascinating memoir of his years of crime, full of daring escapades, humorous situations, and outlandish lies. Abagnale’s audacity is matched only by his charm. He was eventually captured, and did serve time, but he went on to become a world-renowned authority on counterfeiting and document security, working with the FBI’s Financial Crimes Unit. Barrett Whitener does a fine job narrating the audio book. Great pacing and Abagnale’s charming personality shines through.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    3 Stars. Yes, it's a true story but it's dated in these days of cyber security, passwords, and video surveillance. The very personification of a rascal, Abagnale was a daring con-man who papered many a city with phony cheques. He had many an alias too, Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, etc. with such fake occupations as pilot, pediatrician, lawyer and professor. It was a different time, 1963 to 1969 when he was 15 to 21 years old - long before most of the laxness and loopholes he explo 3 Stars. Yes, it's a true story but it's dated in these days of cyber security, passwords, and video surveillance. The very personification of a rascal, Abagnale was a daring con-man who papered many a city with phony cheques. He had many an alias too, Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, etc. with such fake occupations as pilot, pediatrician, lawyer and professor. It was a different time, 1963 to 1969 when he was 15 to 21 years old - long before most of the laxness and loopholes he exploited at banks, hotels, casinos and corporations like Pan Am Airlines, were closed. His audacity got him out of several scrapes; in one case he pretended to be an undercover inspector and persuaded his prison authorities to let him walk out the front door! In another, he used information he acquired as a "pilot" on the internal design of airplanes to avoid US police by escaping through a plane's toilet. My view? He was more lucky than good and it ran out in France, Sweden, Canada and the US. He eventually grew-up to become an advisor to governments and corporations on security matters. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks starred in the 2002 movie! (May 2019)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sergio Gutierrez

    Few have ever really been fooled more than once in their lifetime. And Frank took advantage of that. He saw what the world was offering and cut his way to the top. Wow, prison life in Europe and still wanting more after that; he got what he wanted? He was a good freeloader. How long does it take to dismantle a plane? Frank knew that to get close to the cockpit, knowledge of any engine was thrown out the window. Thus making it an advantage for a common commuter to glide on the rails of the untrai Few have ever really been fooled more than once in their lifetime. And Frank took advantage of that. He saw what the world was offering and cut his way to the top. Wow, prison life in Europe and still wanting more after that; he got what he wanted? He was a good freeloader. How long does it take to dismantle a plane? Frank knew that to get close to the cockpit, knowledge of any engine was thrown out the window. Thus making it an advantage for a common commuter to glide on the rails of the untrained eye.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nina Ely

    Entertaining, if somewhat lightweight. Two big things that hold me back from rating this higher: 1)The author's attitude towards women is stuck pretty firmly in the early 60s. Women, to him, are basically ornaments that are so dazzled by his looks and brilliance that they go along with his schemes unquestioningly. Even women who supposedly played major roles in his life and exploits (including one he nearly married and one who helped him escape from prison) seem to have no personalities of their Entertaining, if somewhat lightweight. Two big things that hold me back from rating this higher: 1)The author's attitude towards women is stuck pretty firmly in the early 60s. Women, to him, are basically ornaments that are so dazzled by his looks and brilliance that they go along with his schemes unquestioningly. Even women who supposedly played major roles in his life and exploits (including one he nearly married and one who helped him escape from prison) seem to have no personalities of their own. To be fair, none of the men do, either (the author, a notorious con man, is unsurprisingly narcissistic) but the condescending "pretty girls" talk got wearing after awhile. And 2)It's pretty obvious there's a lot of exaggeration going on. This guy was passing bad checks, he wasn't James Bond. I believe he was bold and a lot of people gave him a pass because they thought he was an airline pilot, but it can't all have been glamour and no one gets hurt. The author makes a few glancing references to people who might have been fired for passing his checks, but I'd have liked a little more self-awareness that he was basically a common thief. Otherwise, a nice nostalgia trip.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    The first 200 or so pages--I was SO into. Then, the repetitiveness about how smart he is, how young he was, how he managed to rip of countless people, etc, etc..just got old. It was a really different feeling than I had from the movie. In the movie, I felt bad for poor Leonardo DiCaprio, and didn't want him to get caught. In the book, I couldn't wait for him to get caught. (And was a little peeved that he ended the book when he escaped--leaving it to the ghost writer to clarify in the afterword. The first 200 or so pages--I was SO into. Then, the repetitiveness about how smart he is, how young he was, how he managed to rip of countless people, etc, etc..just got old. It was a really different feeling than I had from the movie. In the movie, I felt bad for poor Leonardo DiCaprio, and didn't want him to get caught. In the book, I couldn't wait for him to get caught. (And was a little peeved that he ended the book when he escaped--leaving it to the ghost writer to clarify in the afterword.) When he was in his French jail cell...which was pretty gruesome, I admit, I didn't feel bad for him. Maybe I'm getting old, and crotchety, but he kept mentioning how much money he was stealing, and I kept thinking, who REALLY paid for that? Airline costs go up to cover it? Bank fees increase? Man, I'm an old fogey that I care about this stuff. My recommendation: If you liked the book, leave it at that.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ange H

    Well that was very entertaining! I’m not sure I believe half of it, but if even half is true it’s still quite a tale. It was fun to go along for the ride, however exaggerated. If you’re not familiar with the story, in the 1960s Frank Abignale Jr went on a crime spree of amazing creativity and daring. He posed as an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and a college professor; all the while passing fraudulent checks and racking up a small fortune. Even more amazing, he pulled all this off while he Well that was very entertaining! I’m not sure I believe half of it, but if even half is true it’s still quite a tale. It was fun to go along for the ride, however exaggerated. If you’re not familiar with the story, in the 1960s Frank Abignale Jr went on a crime spree of amazing creativity and daring. He posed as an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and a college professor; all the while passing fraudulent checks and racking up a small fortune. Even more amazing, he pulled all this off while he was still a teenager. The "real" Frank Abagnale as portrayed in this book was quite arrogant and a bit unlikeable. The book has a photo of him as an older man and he reminds me a bit of Henry Winkler, which is funny because young Frank has a Fonzie-like affect on women: he snaps his finger and they come running. But overall this was a quick and enjoyable read. I can’t wait to rewatch the movie now.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joy D

    This book is Frank W. Abagnale’s ghost-written memoir of his fraudulent activities from age 16 to 21 in the 1960s, primarily impersonating a pilot and cashing bad checks. It provides insights into how a con artist thinks. I have my reservations about believing the entire narrative without skepticism, as some of these episodes sound like “tall tales.” He offers no proof and there are no footnotes. For me, this book is just ok. I would have enjoyed it more if it had not included so many demeaning This book is Frank W. Abagnale’s ghost-written memoir of his fraudulent activities from age 16 to 21 in the 1960s, primarily impersonating a pilot and cashing bad checks. It provides insights into how a con artist thinks. I have my reservations about believing the entire narrative without skepticism, as some of these episodes sound like “tall tales.” He offers no proof and there are no footnotes. For me, this book is just ok. I would have enjoyed it more if it had not included so many demeaning references to women – it got tiresome. I am glad he turned his life around. I am also glad society has changed since the 1960s.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    Unbelievable! I had no idea until very recently that one of my favorite movies is based on a true story. While the book is incredible, I think I actually prefer seeing Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg bringing Frank Abagnale's life to the big screen - and yes, for the most part the movie is quite historically accurate considering some of the changes made. Unbelievable! I had no idea until very recently that one of my favorite movies is based on a true story. While the book is incredible, I think I actually prefer seeing Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg bringing Frank Abagnale's life to the big screen - and yes, for the most part the movie is quite historically accurate considering some of the changes made.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Manisha

    Stop the presses! I'm about to state something I've never stated before. THE MOVIE WAS BETTER! Frank Abagnale is a genius. Really, he is. He is such a genius, that he does genius things with his genius brain. Look, I have nothing against authors saying how intelligent their characters are (let's forget that Frank is real, for a bit). However, I do have an issue with the author constantly saying that same fact over and over, as if the very content of the book doesn't already show how intelligent t Stop the presses! I'm about to state something I've never stated before. THE MOVIE WAS BETTER! Frank Abagnale is a genius. Really, he is. He is such a genius, that he does genius things with his genius brain. Look, I have nothing against authors saying how intelligent their characters are (let's forget that Frank is real, for a bit). However, I do have an issue with the author constantly saying that same fact over and over, as if the very content of the book doesn't already show how intelligent the character is. Unlike in the movie (I know, how dare I compare these two?), Frank is not a sympathetic character. This works against him, because I did want him to get caught. And finally, the writing wasn't mature enough. The content was entertaining, but the writing felt out of place, as if it was written by a young boy who has lived a man's life. I understand that the book was in the first person's POV, and that the author was probably going for a young voice to make the character relatable. However, because the narration had the sense of being told by an older man, this felt wrong. All in all, it could have been better.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 4 STARS Before I went to see the movie by the same name, I saw a 48 Hours or maybe Dateline....or maybe even, 20/20 (true crime TV series) episode on this case. It really intrigued me. This young conman was able to dupe so many people, and elude the law for so many years. He was able to become a pilot and a doctor! I bought my copy from work (book store) and read it really quickly. I really liked this book. I just ate it up in one sitting. It was a fun read, and for once I was rooting for RATING: 4 STARS Before I went to see the movie by the same name, I saw a 48 Hours or maybe Dateline....or maybe even, 20/20 (true crime TV series) episode on this case. It really intrigued me. This young conman was able to dupe so many people, and elude the law for so many years. He was able to become a pilot and a doctor! I bought my copy from work (book store) and read it really quickly. I really liked this book. I just ate it up in one sitting. It was a fun read, and for once I was rooting for the "bad guy". It is funny and most unbelievable story you will hear. I am not sure how much of it is real, or Frank being Frank "the great conman," but as a story it is great! (Side note: I enjoyed the movie as well).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily Ross

    This was the real life story of Frank Abagnale Jr. one of America's best con men. Having successfully passed as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and a lecturer in order to pass forged cheques. It seems rather incredible reading about it, that this was able to happen, but he seems to have helped to have improved security and anti-forgery since his release from prison. I found the book quite difficult to read and it kinda just ends? It was very abrupt, and I think it would have been better if there had This was the real life story of Frank Abagnale Jr. one of America's best con men. Having successfully passed as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and a lecturer in order to pass forged cheques. It seems rather incredible reading about it, that this was able to happen, but he seems to have helped to have improved security and anti-forgery since his release from prison. I found the book quite difficult to read and it kinda just ends? It was very abrupt, and I think it would have been better if there had been a proper epilogue rather than a Q&A with Abagnale. I also think I struggled with the book because I was expecting it to be more like the musical or the film, and it really wasn't.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Yoak

    This was the biggest surprise delight I've had in a long time. This was an absolutely amazing book, and I expected it to be so-so at best. I haven't seen the movie, but am certainly going to. Abagnale's story reminds me of people I've known, though they were less ambitious than he. In addition to a fantastically entertaining anecdote, this work gives tremendous insight into a certain type of scam artist. 2018: This was fun to read with the kids, but I fear that I've inspired my son to a life of cr This was the biggest surprise delight I've had in a long time. This was an absolutely amazing book, and I expected it to be so-so at best. I haven't seen the movie, but am certainly going to. Abagnale's story reminds me of people I've known, though they were less ambitious than he. In addition to a fantastically entertaining anecdote, this work gives tremendous insight into a certain type of scam artist. 2018: This was fun to read with the kids, but I fear that I've inspired my son to a life of crime.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    I understand now why the movie was based from the FBI Agent's POV. This Abagnale guy is an obnoxious, self-centered, sexist, smug pig and I felt in need of a shower just reading his thoughts. The story itself is interesting and saves the book. Barely. I understand now why the movie was based from the FBI Agent's POV. This Abagnale guy is an obnoxious, self-centered, sexist, smug pig and I felt in need of a shower just reading his thoughts. The story itself is interesting and saves the book. Barely.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Giselle

    True story of Frank Abangale's con artist ways. Really enjoyed it! Though the movie with Leo was great too, I loved knowing how the real Frank came to be. True story of Frank Abangale's con artist ways. Really enjoyed it! Though the movie with Leo was great too, I loved knowing how the real Frank came to be.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    People really liked this book. I did too back in the 80s when it was first published. I thought it was pretty clever of the man to be able to pretend he was a doctor, a lawyer, an air plane pilot and a millionaire. He knew how to make people believe him, and it seemed like he was having fun doing it. Con artists like this are interesting, but I doubt if you knew him you would feel that way after a while. You really have to sit back and look at what they are doing. Take this guy; he could have ca People really liked this book. I did too back in the 80s when it was first published. I thought it was pretty clever of the man to be able to pretend he was a doctor, a lawyer, an air plane pilot and a millionaire. He knew how to make people believe him, and it seemed like he was having fun doing it. Con artists like this are interesting, but I doubt if you knew him you would feel that way after a while. You really have to sit back and look at what they are doing. Take this guy; he could have caused a lot of damage pretending to be a doctor and a lawyer. And since sociopaths, which is what he was, lie a lot, how much of this book is true? I believe our society is getting a first hand taste of what it means to have a sociopath in our highest office in 2017, a malignant one at that. The chaos he is creating will only get worse as time goes on if he isn’t stopped, but people will continue to be fooled until something happens that involves their own lives. I used to feel bad for sociopaths, and maybe in some ways I still do, and all because they don’t have any feelings for other people; just themselves. I used to wonder what it was like for them. I worked for a psychiatrist for a while, and he was a sociopath, said that he didn’t have any feelings for his clients, which helped him in some ways as he didn’t take on their problems. I should have asked him what it felt like to not care for others. But if you say something hurtful to him, he felt the pain, deeply. Strange.

  24. 5 out of 5

    uosɯɐS

    I had already seen the movie, years ago. I need to go watch it again, now. But, from what I remember, the movie is slightly different from the book, mostly just less detailed. When I was a kid, I read "The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes." My sister read "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare." So, I've always veered a bit towards mystery/crime stories, when it comes to stories. Also, as an adult, I've veered more towards non-fiction, so the fact that this is based on a true story, is anot I had already seen the movie, years ago. I need to go watch it again, now. But, from what I remember, the movie is slightly different from the book, mostly just less detailed. When I was a kid, I read "The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes." My sister read "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare." So, I've always veered a bit towards mystery/crime stories, when it comes to stories. Also, as an adult, I've veered more towards non-fiction, so the fact that this is based on a true story, is another thing that made it my kind of story. Although, I can't help but wonder how much of it was a true story? It's no secret that biographers, particularly autobiographers, often take liberties with the facts. And, human memory itself often takes liberties with the facts. And the author is a con man, who loves attention. Sooo... hmmm. Anyway, as a story, it was definitely a page turner, and quite funny at times. I think the nighttime escape from the airplane was my favorite. The description of the French prison was quite sobering. I knew French justice was anything but lenient, but I had no idea the prisons were so inhumane. Has that changed by now? I don't know. I'm glad they also described the Swedish ways - incredibly humane! Anyone with even slightly authoritarian views might think it obscenely humane treatment for criminals. If you feel that criminals "deserve to be punished," then you will have a hard time understanding the Swedish approach. They are all about rehabilitation. Whether or not the Swedish succeed at rehabilitation, I feel that is the only logical goal long-term, and so am partial to it. It's a fascinating coincidence that he went from one extreme straight to the other. Psychology, particularly personality theory, is something I've long been interested in. In accordance with that interest, and my above mentioned interest in the criminal element, I've read a little about sociopathy/psychopathy. Now, a con man is exactly the sort of person you would expect to be one of those, because: - It takes a great amount of emotional coolness to pull-off the sort of bold schemes that they do. - It is effectively a social game. A socio/psychopath would be bored to tears with anything less. - It is exciting, involves lots of change-of-scenery, and close call thrills. See above. ...and yet, Frank mentions at one point that a psychologist placed him low on a criminality scale. Now, I'd really like to get more details on what exactly the psychologist was testing for and how he did it. A test for criminality isn't necessarily a test for psychopathy, but there's got to be huge overlap. Nevertheless, there are reasons why I think that Frank may not have been a socio/psychopath: - Despite all the ways that he seemingly hurt people, he did not seem devoid of empathy. - Once he realized that people could lose their jobs because of him, he tried to confine himself to methods that would not negatively impact individuals, esp. lower-ranking individuals. - He eventually changed his ways, and left his criminal ways behind (-paths are notoriously hard to reform). I think Frank's own explanation seems to work the best. Basically, he was young at the time (Only 15, but over 6ft tall), ran away from home after his parents divorced, and was living a sort-of teenage boy's fantasy dream, without being adult enough to understand the consequences (for himself and others) until it was too late. That is, if you want to believe a conman's explanation. *shrug* Fun story though ;-)

  25. 5 out of 5

    AndrewP

    This is the somewhat embellished story of early life of Frank Abagnale when he was one of the most successful con men and tricksters in the world. This is defiantly one of those cases where truth is stranger than fiction. Before he was 21 Abagnale had a conned millions of dollars out of various institutions and impersonated: a Pan Am Airline pilot, a pediatric doctor, a lawyer and a university professor. While posing as an airline pilot he never actually flew a plane, instead he got free flights This is the somewhat embellished story of early life of Frank Abagnale when he was one of the most successful con men and tricksters in the world. This is defiantly one of those cases where truth is stranger than fiction. Before he was 21 Abagnale had a conned millions of dollars out of various institutions and impersonated: a Pan Am Airline pilot, a pediatric doctor, a lawyer and a university professor. While posing as an airline pilot he never actually flew a plane, instead he got free flights by 'deadheading' with other airlines. It's estimated that he took 200+ flights and flew over a million miles for free. The vast majority of his cons consisted of passing fake payroll, expense and bankers checks. Eventually he was caught and spent a few short spells in prison. He escaped custody twice, and that also makes very interesting reading. Abagnale was obviously a master of Social Engineering, before the term was even invented. This makes a good companion book to Kevin Mitnick's "Ghost in the Wires". Both are very smart guys who led the FBI on a merry chase for many years. (Both eventually became security consultants and ended up working for the FBI.) Also something they have in common, although they can be classified as master criminals, they never actually hurt anyone. Abagnale was very careful to only ever con money out of corporations who had insurance, never from private individuals. A great read if you are interested in this type of thing. As you would expect the book is quite a bit different to the film made from it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Frank Abagnale was a genuis, albeit a criminal one. This story of his legendary crimes as a con man entertains and demands that the pages be turned quickly. It is both amazing and unnerving at how easily he was able to perpetuate his scams. These same cons would not work today but the sheer ballsiness of his ploys no doubts resonates with present day bad guys. I really could not put it down.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Romping good fun! You can tell that Abagnale wrote this with another author, but that makes it no less enjoyable. Now I want to re-watch the movie!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Dipped in and out of this over a few months in between other reads not sure why as it is a lot of fun. Highly entertaining true story which is extremely hard to believe in places, wow this kid had some b***s to execute such scams while still only a teenager!! You have to laugh if people weren't so willing to turn a blind eye to a handsome guy in uniform he wouldn't have been able to carry out many of his exploits. More details than in the film and it's clear it wasn't all plain sailing!! Dipped in and out of this over a few months in between other reads not sure why as it is a lot of fun. Highly entertaining true story which is extremely hard to believe in places, wow this kid had some b***s to execute such scams while still only a teenager!! You have to laugh if people weren't so willing to turn a blind eye to a handsome guy in uniform he wouldn't have been able to carry out many of his exploits. More details than in the film and it's clear it wasn't all plain sailing!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alex Dunn

    Is it possible to be a pilot, a doctor, a professor, a lawyer, and a millionaire all before you are 21? Frank William Abagnale Jr. completed such feats as a teenager. Forging signatures, swindling checks, and charming every pretty bank teller were part of the normal routine For Abagnale. Mainly “Abagnale” was not his name though, as he had many pseudonyms and fake identities. All of Abagnale's stories and crimes are accounted for in his autobiography, Catch Me If You Can. Abagnale's first con Is it possible to be a pilot, a doctor, a professor, a lawyer, and a millionaire all before you are 21? Frank William Abagnale Jr. completed such feats as a teenager. Forging signatures, swindling checks, and charming every pretty bank teller were part of the normal routine For Abagnale. Mainly “Abagnale” was not his name though, as he had many pseudonyms and fake identities. All of Abagnale's stories and crimes are accounted for in his autobiography, Catch Me If You Can. Abagnale's first con was when he was 16, on the first day of his new school he pretended to be the substitute teacher for a french class after a boy had teased him in the hallways. From then on his cons and lies became more complex. In a matter of weeks after transferring to his new school his parents got divorced and he ran away to escape the stress of it all. His dad had given him his first checkbook and that’s when he started to commit fraud. He would open a completely legitimate bank account and write insufficient funds to those accounts with a check. Abagnale had matured early so at the age of 16 he looked like he was 25. This helped him with bank tellers. He always tried to talk to a lady because he would be able to charm them into anything. Thats where he learned much about checks and banking. After hitchhiking out of New York he had the drive to do something great. He admired Airline Pilots and envied the respect and gratitude they receive. That is when he decided he would make himself an airline pilot. After weeks of preparation, fraud, lying, and research Abagnale took his first flight as a Pan Am pilot where he just flew in the jump seat of a United Airlines Plane. In his career as a pilot he never actually flew a plane, instead he would go on flights with other airlines to get somewhere. This was a common thing for pilots at the time. All throughout his travels around the world he swindled checks and committed fraud. This deceit did not go unnoticed though. Carl Hanratty closely followed the trail that was left behind by Abagnale and came close to catching him in a California motel, only to have Abagnale trick Hanratty into believing he was another police agent. After months of being a flight attendant, Abagnale went on to become a doctor. For 11 months he worked at an Atlanta Hospital as a pediatric specialist but then quit after a boy had almost died at his watch. He didn’t want any death to come from his fraud. After becoming a doctor Abagnale forged a transcript and diploma from Harvard University of Law and passed the Louisiana Bar Exam to become a lawyer. As a lawyer Abagnale attempted to settle down and get married, but after the proposal he was forced to flee because the FBI were catching onto him. One of Abagnale's conflicts was the loneliness he suffered from. He was unable to tell anyone who he really was, and was mainly travelling alone. Another conflict in the story is Carl Hanratty becoming obsessive over Abagnale and trying to track him down. In parts of the book Abagnale describes why he committed so much fraud and had so many false identities. At first, the swindling was for survival but later Abagnale says it became a game that he just loved. “But what started out as survival became more and more of a game. I was an opportunist, so when I saw an opening I asked myself, ‘Could I get away with that?’ Then there was the satisfaction of actually getting away with it. The more I got away with, the more of a game it became—a game I knew I would ultimately lose, but a game I was going to have fun playing until I did”. Anyone who is interested in psychology would find this book quite fascinating, for Abagnale is a model criminal and his ideals are expressed in this book. This book makes a good read for many, but may be hard to understand for middle schools students. This book also educates the reader on checks, planes, banks, law, medicine, and many other fields that are beneficial to people’s general knowledge. At some points in the book the romantic in Abagnale comes out and some may appreciate the love stories. I did very much enjoy reading Catch Me If You Can, after reading the book I was compelled to watch the movie featuring an all-star cast of Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tim Healy

    Having never seen this movie, I had a limited understanding of the story. It's, of course, quite good. A friend of mine at work had read it and encouraged me. This is fun, almost in a John Irving way. Irving makes you laugh at things that are horrifying on every level. Abagnale makes you root for him even though you know he's a bad guy. He doesn't even try to present you any evidence that he's not. He pretty much accepts his criminal nature from the start and makes no apologies for succeeding at Having never seen this movie, I had a limited understanding of the story. It's, of course, quite good. A friend of mine at work had read it and encouraged me. This is fun, almost in a John Irving way. Irving makes you laugh at things that are horrifying on every level. Abagnale makes you root for him even though you know he's a bad guy. He doesn't even try to present you any evidence that he's not. He pretty much accepts his criminal nature from the start and makes no apologies for succeeding at what he did. You shouldn't like him, but he's so open about things, you almost can't help it. One note: it would be a lot harder to get away with the things Frank did, now, than it was in the less tech-savvy 60s. That doesn't detract. It's a fun story, and it's well-told.

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