Inside Their Minds: Australian Criminals

Inside Their Minds: Australian Criminals

Inside Their Minds: Australian Criminals

Inside Their Minds: Australian Criminals

Synopsis

Following on from his best selling Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained, an eye-opening account of some of the successful deals and spectacular failures in the career of one of Australia's best known private equity investors. Bill Ferris has led the field in Australian venture capital and private equity for over forty years. He has seen his share of successful floats, fly-by-night wonders and companies gone wrong. In his bestselling Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained he took readers behind closed doors to explain how the industry works and shared the lessons he learned along the way. This book takes the story on into the world of private equity, with a wealth of stories on the successes and failures, deals that went right and deals that went wrong. There are priceless lessons for would-be investors and entrepreneurs in the insights the author can offer - how to raise funds, picking the right people, start-ups versus buyouts, IPOs and trade sales, all lessons drawn from personal experience. Along with numerous cases studies of successful, and not so successful, ventures, Bill Ferris gives a detailed analysis of what makes a successful PE team, looks into the future of private equity and summarises the history of the industry from the 1970s.

Excerpt

I’ve always been fascinated with ‘the story behind the story’. As a journalist I’ve worked on many crime and police stories about missing persons, international fraud, armed robbers, organised crime figures and murder investigations. What’s always intrigued me is the psychology and motivation of criminals to commit their crimes, but I had little chance to pursue this fascination when working as a journalist; you often don’t have the time or the luxury to analyse the complexities behind the basic premises of who, why, what, where and how.

The opportunity to explore my interest came when I wrote my first book, the biography of Billy ‘The Texan’ Longley, a man described as Australia’s godfather of crime. As I wrote his story I became engrossed in what had ‘created’ Billy. the book required extensive research and interviews with his family, friends and foes. Surprisingly, this old-time villain and convicted murderer came from a stable, law-abiding, middleclass background. So, what happened? Was it in his nature or the way he was nurtured? Was he born ‘bad’ or did he become a criminal to survive?

I explored and researched Billy’s background and interviewed him many times, but at the end of writing his biography, I still wasn’t able to answer these bigger questions. Today, knowing more about the criminal mind, I believe Billy turned to crime out of necessity and because of the tough Depression years. This, combined with being a natural rebel, having a violent temper and a hatred of being ‘stood over’, created the person he became.

My fascination with criminal psychology continued when I produced a series for Radio National’s ‘Bush Telegraph’ program about bushfire arson. I managed to convince a convicted arsonist, ‘John’, to speak. John had been found guilty of lighting 25 fires in Australia. It was an intriguing . . .

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