Diana B. Henriques

Diana B. Henriques Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Diana B. Henriques is the author of The White Sharks of Wall Street and Fidelity’s World. She is a senior financial writer for The New York Times, having joined the Times staff in 1989. A Polk Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, she has won several awards for her work on the Times’s coverage of the Madoff scandal and was part of the team recognized as a Pulitzer finalist for its coverage of the financial crisis of 2008. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.



Q & A

Where are you from?
Born in Bryan, Texas; raised in Roanoke, Va.

Who are your favorite writers?
God, how does one choose?
Nonfiction: John McPhee, Primo Levi, David McCullough, William Manchester, John Brooks, James B. Stewart, Bill Bryson, Roger Lowenstein, Calvin Trillin, Ron Chernow and Kurt Eichenwald.
Contemporary Fiction: Michael Chabon, Dorothy Dunnett, Michael Dibdin, Neal Stephenson, Jane Smiley, Patrick O'Brian, Dorothy Sayers and, yes, J.K. Rowling.
Gore Vidal is a big favorite in both categories.
The Late Greats: Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen, in a dead heat for first. Close behind: Edith Wharton, Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.

Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
I'd like to think they are ones by Primo Levi and John McPhee. I have read their entire canon, several times over. The clarity and simplicity of their approach is a bracing tonic for writers who tend to go a little overboard. The consistently beautiful work of the late John Brooks, a business writer for the New Yorker, was also a revelation and inspiration.

What are your hobbies and outside interests?
Nothing you could honestly call a hobby except reading and the theater. I plan to take up ballroom dancing in retirement.

What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you? 
Every single rule between the covers of the time-management classic "How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life" by Alan Lakein. The result has been a lifelong commitment to goal-setting, list-making and long-term planning.  

What is your favorite quote?
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."—Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

What is the question most commonly asked by your readers?  What is the answer?
Q. What makes you think you can be truly objective about anything?
A. I don't — I just think that working hard to be objective gets you a lot closer to that ideal than giving up.

What inspired you to write your first book?
A passionate desire to explain the risks surrounding an obscure but very important public policy development, the proliferation of public revenue bond authorities. Hey, it was a long time ago!

Where do you write?
My books have been mostly written in my window-less, sky-lit home office in Hoboken. Since I use voice recognition software for all my long writing projects — and have since 1998 — the seclusion helps.



The Wizard of Lies

Diana B. Henriques

"An impressive, meticulously reported postmortem. . . . The Wizard of Lies is the definitive book on what Madoff did and how he did it." —Bloomberg Businessweek...