There’s a lot for Bernie to savor in this classic of French literature: Edmond Dantès is arrested and sentenced to a lengthy term at an unforgiving island prison, the Chateau D’If, only to escape and re-invent himself as a French aristocrat. While I’m not sure if Bernie possesses the derring-do to emulate Dantès, this book should give him something to fantasize about as he makes license plates, breaks rocks, and devises a cigarette-driven Ponzi scheme.
The Department of Corrections hasn’t decided yet where Bernie’s going to serve his prison term. But what if it’s the federal facility in Lovelock, Nevada? There’s a chance that he’ll wind up sharing a cell with O.J. Simpson, who happens to be one of my favorite authors. If he and the Juice are going to be roomies, Bernie may want to bone up on O.J.’s oeuvre, and If I Did It, his “fictionalized” account of his wife’s slaying, is a great place to start. Another promising topic for a conversation he might have with O.J.: In America, how come it’s easier to get away with murder than stealing sports memorabilia?
No reading list for a businessman—even an incarcerated one—would be complete without a book by Malcolm Gladwell. The subtitle of MG’s breakthrough 2000 tome is, “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” and in Madoff’s case, that little thing may be the spoon he uses to try to tunnel his way out of jail. But failing that, Madoff might consider using his time behind bars to write a Gladwellian blockbuster of his own; instead of Outliers, how about Liars? Or, instead of Blink, Clink? I’m just trying to be helpful.
This choice may seem kind of random, but Bernie needs at least one heartwarming book to see him through all of those grim days ahead. And who doesn’t love that adorable pooch Marley, for heaven’s sake? Have you read this thing? Marley is such a mischievous scamp. He chews up clothes and stuff!
I’ll admit it—it’s kind of shameless of me to include my own book on Bernie’s prison reading list. But since the Bernie Madoff saga is all about shamelessness, I think it’s entirely appropriate. Besides, it’s not as if I expect Bernie to actually buy my book—he’s been stripped of all of his assets, so he can’t even afford a copy ($9.95 at Amazon.com, free shipping with orders of three books or more.) But with chapters like “Trading One Gated Community for Another,” “Prison Cell Feng Shui,” and “Female CEOs: Breaking Through the Concrete Ceiling,” this book offers Bernie many valuable lessons for the future, or at least for the next 150 years.
Andy Borowitz is a comedian, writer and creator of the award-winning satire site, www.borowitzreport.com.