Guide Nine Lives: Confessions Of A Master Jewel Thief

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Then I interrupted a robbery at the house of my boss. This isn't over a large period of time; this took place in the same week. This all piqued my interest and sent me to Reddit - home of anecdotal evidence on the internet - to learn how to make a home a thief deterrent. It was in sifting through a smash-and-grab AMA The house next to my mother's was robbed.

It was in sifting through a smash-and-grab AMA ask me anything , that I learned about this book and immediately headed over to PaperBackSwap dot com; free to pick up a copy to read. I found a copy and ordered it and in less than a week, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page. It is a well written work. The book can be divided into two halves: the first is boasting about heists - though with far fewer details than I had hoped - and the second is the legal implications and consequences of having committed the heists.

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Example of said inner thoughts: "Nothing works more in a thief's favor than people feeling secure. But then again, you wouldn't be able to be a thief who did the things that you did without such an ego. He admits, rather unashamedly, to being selfish and self-centered in that way that people do when they don't mean to change, and also acknowledges the harm he brought to others in that way that people do when they don't mean to change and where change is the only way to make amends.

I managed to enjoy the story despite this, but others might find this to be a stumbling block around which they cannot proceed. I also found the time-line to be somewhat secondary to the overwhelming themes.

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While the story proceeds in a mostly linear fashion, there are several points where I had to flip pages to figure out where things appear. In one, a later story is referenced too early and in another an earlier story is stuck in too late. While this wasn't a deal breaker, it did cost my review a single star. Other than that, I, not a fan at all of true crime, could not tear my eyes from this book and inhaled it rather quickly. You could say that I was riveted, but I think it is more that I was intrigued and that there were no natural stopping points, so I just kept going in order to satiate my curiosity.

Oct 20, kingshearte rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , I really love heist movies. I'm pretty sure that's what drew me to this book in the first place, and in that respect, it didn't disappoint.

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The first half of the book describes a number of Mason's scores in delightful detail. Within the first few pages, he describes inching along a narrow ledge on the outside of a building to get the target patio, and you really do feel like you're hanging right there with him. The others are just as suspenseful and meticulously laid out. Good times. The second h I really love heist movies. The second half of the book addresses some of his more personal issues and his legal troubles, going into detail about his trials, his time as a fugitive, his relationships, his time in jail, etc.

I thought he and Gruenfeld managed to do a pretty good job of portraying Mason as someone who you can't entirely figure out why people love him so much but you also can't quite bring yourself to loathe. And even he gratefully acknowledges his astonishment at the love and support he got from a shocking number of people, despite everything.

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This does speak to his character, I think, and his people-judgement skills, as he managed to surround himself with friends who were genuinely friends no matter what, even though I wonder if a little less acceptance from some of them might have helped steer him off the criminal path a little sooner. He discusses, at the end, the irresistible compulsions he felt to go after these scores, and compares them to other kinds of addictions, without coming across as trying to excuse his actions on those grounds, and I think that's interesting.

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We know there are people who get pretty major adrenaline kicks, and this is just one manifestation of that, and I wonder if therapy might have also helped keep it in check. I'm also reminded of the character of Stella in The Italian Job, who took the safe-cracking skills her father taught her and put them toward a legitimate career helping cops get into safes and testing safe manufacturers' new models.

I don't know if there would be any way of turning Mason's mad cat burglary skillz into a legitimate career along those lines finding the flaws in supposedly high-security buildings, for example , but it might have been something to consider, that could have maybe provided enough problem-solving satisfaction to keep him on the straight and narrow. There might not be the adrenaline to go with it, but maybe it could have helped? Because you really do find yourself kind of rooting for the guy, not so much to successfully steal a bunch more stuff, but to finally stop and to stay out of trouble.

Because in many ways, he really does come across as a good guy who just gets sucked into this addiction of his. Like I said, he doesn't excuse himself on those grounds, and I'm not trying to excuse him on them either, but the book does manage to make you feel that way a little. In any case, I don't know how much or how little embellishment this book contained, but it was a fun read, and that's enough for me. May 01, J. I picked this book up at the used bookstore that went out of business in July. Their stock was pretty well picked over by that time, but no way was I leaving without a full bag.

This book caught my eye and I snatched it up, but because I have run out of shelf space in my apartment, it's been sitting on top of the bag ever I picked this book up at the used bookstore that went out of business in July. This book caught my eye and I snatched it up, but because I have run out of shelf space in my apartment, it's been sitting on top of the bag ever since.

So when I needed something to read, I picked it up. This book is written very well. It tells the story of Bill Mason, one-time jewelry thief who targeted the rich and famous. Among his victims were Robert Goulet and Phyllis Diller twice.

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For him, the thrill of the score came from puzzling through how to circumvent high levels of security and pull off seemingly impossible heists. If nothing else, the book makes you more aware of your own personal security as well as the fallibility of so-called foolproof security systems. The latter part of the book details how Mason's exploits caught up with him, eventually destroying his marriage and landing him in jail on several occasions. At one point he lived as a fugitive, but eventually served his time and put thievery behind him for good.

His story is outrageous at times, but it keeps you reading to the end. This book appeals to the rogue in us all, and I could easily see it coming to life on the big screen. Okay, confession. I always wanted to be a jewel thief. Well, as a kid. You know most kids of my generation wanted to be astronauts or firemen or cops or president of the untied states of arugula, but I wanted to be Alexander Mundy.

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  5. He was a jewel and art thief, the original "White Collar" character, long before Neil Caffrey Matt Bomer was ever born. Played by Robert Wagner he was suave, sophisticated, cool, and a thief.

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    Sauver, sophisticated-er, cooler, and a thief. Bill Mason was pretty much that, except as he fully admits in this autobiography, he was also a bit of a self-indulgent jerk who didn't really care much about how what he was doing affected the people in his life as long as he got his rush from planning capers and stealing. The book is a little too much just a recitation of the facts, without a lot of emotion in it, it's interesting, towards the end, well, in the epilogue, he talks about how emotional it was to write and think back through all the experiences, but really, very little if any of that comes across in the writing.

    He comes across pretty emotionless other than when things don't go his way. Ah well, guess I'm glad I went for that arugula position. Jul 14, G. Bill Mason's story as a master "night man" thief is a fascinating read. The man had an uncanny ability to track and analyze his targets - rich celebrities. He was truly a self taught burglar, knocking off his first score when was a newlywed.

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    Over the years, he planned and executed jewel robberies from numerous celebrities, all the while maintaining an image of a successful family man. He details his methods, his acquired skills, his major scores, and his mis-fires. At the same time, he introduces Bill Mason's story as a master "night man" thief is a fascinating read.

    At the same time, he introduces the reader to the gritty world of jewelry fences, who will buy all he can deliver for a big discount of the value of the haul. BUT, as the years wore on, his compulsion to top one big job with another eventually destroyed his marriage and ruined his health. Finally, he was caught and sent to prison.

    However, the police were not able to connect him to all of his scores, so he served a minimum time in prison. Mason proved that "crimes pays", but it comes a steep price. Everything that he valued was destroyed by his life of crime. A recommended read for those who want to peer into the mind of a master jewel thief. Feb 03, Larry Hostetler rated it really liked it Shelves: It wasn't too long into the book I realized I had already read it, but since it was the only book I took with me on the trip I decided to re-read it.

    I found it engaging, a quick read, and this time more than the first time through I found myself noticing the quirks of nature or nurture - still debated that created the character who would live such a double life. Is it addiction or something else? Upon my return home I gave it to my wife to read a mental health professional thinking it might It wasn't too long into the book I realized I had already read it, but since it was the only book I took with me on the trip I decided to re-read it.

    Upon my return home I gave it to my wife to read a mental health professional thinking it might be an interesting study for her from a psychological standpoint. She is, indeed, enjoying the book, but has yet to issue a definitive diagnosis. That's not the point. The book gives insight not only into what makes a man do such things, but how did he become so successful as a jewel thief? At times a "high-wire" act filled with action and suspense, at other times a "chess match" as he analyzes and plans, it was a good read very much along the lines of "Catch Me If You Can.

    Nov 01, Amy Chamberlain rated it really liked it. Fun read. I especially liked his re-telling of the incredible robberies he pulled off. He was meticulous and careful and planned for months, which is how he got away with his crimes for so long. There's a lesson there, kids! Whether you choose a life or crime or not, planning and hard work will get you what you want! It went off the rails for me a bit during the last half, where he focuses more on his ongoing, and increasingly nasty, battles with law enforcement.

    He says he's reformed, but he cle Fun read. It is not a handbook on how to crack a safe — those details are left out. But in every other respect it offers an insight into the mind of a professional thief. He never used violence, attempting always to burglarise when the owners were out. He offers some interesting details about the quality of gems, too: the four Cs — carat, clarity, cut, colour. Told in the first person aided by Lee Gruenfeld , it reads in places like a suspense novel.

    He admits that often the owners of the jewels were hurt not at the loss of the monetary value of certain precious items; many were without price, being heirlooms or personal mementos from loved ones, valued for sentimental reasons. Urged to write this book by friends and family, he is donating a portion of the royalties to victim compensation organisations in Ohio and Florida, his hunting ground when active. A film option was taken up in but a movie has not materialised. He saw them as puzzles to solve, scores to resolve, a challenge. Though a little out of date, this page may be of interest, too; Bill Mason is 7 in the top ten infamous cat-burglars:.

    Posted by Nik Morton at Tuesday, April 29, Labels: Bill Mason , cat-burglar , confessions , crime , criminal , detective , jewel thief , Nine Lives , Sudden Vengeance , Weissmuller. No comments:. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom. About Me Nik Morton View my complete profile.

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