In my years of covering Wall street, Jeff Beck was easily the most
charismatic of the many investment bankers I met. He had an astounding ability to connect with anyone he met. His madcap charm, creativity and intelligence were obvious. What I came to learn the hard way was that this talented Mergers & Acquisitions man also was a tortured soul on the verge of psychic and emotional collapse.

Rainmaker started out as Beck’s autobiography. However, my role morphed from ghost writer to biographer as it became apparent that Beck had fabri- cated much of his pre-Wall Street resume, reinventing himself as a kind of macho anti-hero survivor of Vietnam combat and CIA intrigue. Beck did not make it easy for me, as he ingeniously embroidered his lies in an attempt to preserve them. In the end, though, I did what I believe he hoped I would do from the start: to free him from a life of deceit by dismantling the falsehoods in which he had imprisoned himself.

Beck, who died of a massive heart attack at 48, was a paradox: a pathological liar who also was a compulsive truth-teller about the high-stakes form of wheeling and dealing at which he excelled. More than a biography, Rainmaker offers an unsparing, often comical, insider’s portrait of the Wall Street deal game of the 1980s.

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