catch me if you can // book #45

I just read another book, bringing my lifetime total to 45.The book was Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank Abagnale. Yes, it’s the book that the movie of the same name was based on, starring Leonardo DiCaprio - and one of my favorite movies of all time.

Frank Abagnale tells the true story of his exploits as a full fledged con man, from age 16 to 21. In those years, he swindled over 2.5 million dollars out of the hands of banks, hotels, airlines, and other large businesses. He never graduated from high school and yet traveled the world posing as a co-pilot for Pan American Airlines, worked for a year as the chief resident pediatrician at a children’s hospital in Atlanta, passed the Bar exam and spent nine months working as an assistant prosecutor for an Attorney General (in some unnamed southern state), taught sociology for a summer at Brigham Young University, and even posed as a stock broker for a short period of time.

Once he was finally apprehended, he spent six months in a French prison (which, after reading this book, makes me never want to visit France again), one year in a Swedish prison (which kind of makes me want to commit a crime in Sweden and end up in one of their prison-hotels), then he was extradited to the United States and escaped out of the toilet compartment on the jet and lit off on the runway to freedom - for a while.

He was then apprehended again and escaped again, and apprehended again, and escaped again, several times before they finally managed to keep him locked up for six years for his crimes. He still has warrants for his arrest in dozens of European countries, which I’m sure he’ll never visit again, and he currently operates a successful consulting firm to help banks keep from being swindled by crooks like him.

This was an amazing story and I highly recommend it to anyone. After reading it, I now realize the incredible capacity (for good or bad) that people have when they wield unbridled confidence. Confidence is everything, at least in this story - and with it you are generally unstoppable. Frank Abagnale had such incredible confidence that while in prison in Virginia awaiting his sentencing, he literally talked the guards into unlocking his cell and escorting him out of the prison compound, where a friend of his was sitting in her car waiting to pick him up. He got in, and they drove off peacefully, with the guards laughing and waving in the distance.

Incredible.

Read it.

Again, as always, here’s my updated list.

All the books I’ve ever read in my life:

  1. Maus - Art Spiegelman
  2. Superman: Doomsday & Beyond - Louise Simonson
  3. The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
  4. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  5. Wild at Heart – John Eldredge
  6. Waking the Dead – John Eldredge
  7. Dangerous Wonder – Michael Yacconelli
  8. Messy Spirituality – Michael Yacconelli
  9. Run Like an Antelope: On The Road With Phish – Sean Gibbon
  10. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  11. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
  12. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
  13. Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller
  14. Searching For God Knows What – Donald Miller
  15. Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell
  16. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kyosaki
  17. What Jesus Meant – Gary Wills
  18. No Shortcuts to the Top – Ed Viesturs
  19. Into The Wild – Jon Krakauer
  20. To Own a Dragon – Donald Miller
  21. No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green – Melody Green
  22. Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men & Mountains – Jon Krakauer
  23. Under The Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer
  24. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
  25. Born on a Blue Day – Daniel Tammet
  26. The Survivors Club – Ben Sherwood
  27. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  28. Bringing Down The House – Ben Mezrich
  29. Rigged – Ben Mezrich
  30. Busting Vegas – Ben Mezrich
  31. The Accidental Billionaires – Ben Mezrich
  32. Where Men Win Glory - Jon Krakauer
  33. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years - Donald Miller
  34. Zeitoun - Dave Eggers
  35. Love Wins - Rob Bell
  36. Three Cups of Deceit - Jon Krakauer
  37. Prophet’s Prey - Sam Brower
  38. The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis
  39. No Angel - Jay Dobyns
  40. The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton - Joe Klein
  41. Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil - John Berendt
  42. Sex on the Moon - Ben Mezrich
  43. Ugly Americans - Ben Mezrich
  44. We Die Alone - David Howarth
  45. Catch Me If You Can - Frank W. Abagnale