The Wizard of Lies by Diana Henriques – Epilogue
1. In the first paragraph (“The Madoff case demonstrated…”), explain what was “demonstrated with
2. What does Henriques mean by “in our midst”?
3. According to Henriques what is “exactly the profile of a Ponzi schemer”?
4. Why did people trust Bernie Madoff?
5. How do “we flatter ourselves” by thinking that only a “soulless, heartless monster” would commit a
crime like Bernie Madoff and hurt the ones he loves?
6. In paragraph 5 (from “We flatter ourselves” through “we cannot see our own blind spots”), what is
7. How does Henriques support that claim?
8. How is the fact that we deceive ourselves related to Bernie Madoff?
9. What is a delusion?
10. What does Henriques mean by, “Madoff was not inhumanly monstrous. He was monstrously
human”? What makes him monstrous?
11. What does Henriques argue was different about Madoff?
12. How did Madoff and his clients “selectively observe” daily experience? What does it mean to
“selectively observe” something?
13. Who is the “wizard behind the curtain”?
14. Who is Henriques comparing Madoff to by calling him a “wizard” and describing his “Emerald City”?
Why does Henriques argue so many people decided to follow Madoff even though he was a fraud?
15. Based on the context, what does “day of reckoning” mean?
16. Why did people give Madoff the “benefit of the doubt”?
17. How was Madoff like every “opportunistic cheat” and every “impulsive risk-taker”?
18. What does Henriques mean by “the next Bernie Madoff”?
19. How does Henriques argue that there will always be people like Bernie Madoff? Explain her
reasoning in your own words.
20. Why couldn’t a world without trust exist?
21. What point is Henriques making with her descriptions of “the next Bernie Madoff” and the people
22. Why are the most dangerous lies the ones we tell ourselves?