The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal drew me in because it is the story of a subject that has long fascinating me… psychopathy. Ever since my psychology studies in college, these aberrations of normal human thinking have been an interest.
Not only has it left me intrigued by these stories, but I believe… quick to spot these types among my encounters. We all know them. They are not all murderers. Many are just manipulative self-centered sociopaths who view the people around them as tools to further their goals.
Seal tells one of the most fascinating tales of a remorseless sociopath. The Man in the Rockefeller suit, Christian Gerhartsreiter, was a chameleon that spent the better part of 50 years changing his name, background, skillset, circle of friends and anything else that suited his purpose. He went from a dorky teen in rural Bavaria to a multi-millionaire Wall Street broker. In between, he was a movie director, a computer technician, and many other “personas.”
This conman would slide into an affluent community, get to know the locals, con them into his latest ruse and then parlay that connection to a more powerful one.
Again, knowing people like this (close friends will know the ones I am talking about) and seeing them skirt all consequence as they continue to take advantage of good people around them, this book really hits home.
Read it because it is a good story. Read it because it is going to be made into a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Read it to be better able to identify these scam artists that are undoubtedly in your life. Read it.
by Chris Doelle
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