Author: Bill Browder –
Publisher: Recorded Books –
Genre: Law, Politics –
Overall rating: 4/5 –
Writing: 4/5 –
Duration: 10:29 (medium) –
Narrator: Adam Grupper –
Narrator/performance: 4/5 –
Impressions: n/a –
Performance errors: 1/5 –
Complexity/reading level: 3/5 –
Audience: Adult, Specialized
The full title of the book is: “Freezing Order: A True Story of Russian Money Laundering, State-Sponsored Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath”. It was published in 2022. It is an example of gripping American non-fiction, written for a certain audience and with the aim to scandalize and trigger emotional response. It contains several heartbreaking stories, depictions of weak – but brave – internal resistance and the symptoms of international chaos, all around the central subject of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The book may be interesting for lawyers as it shows the impression a legal system and lawyers make on an influential businessman and political activist. To a lawyer, it is a “business as usual” to take photographs of case file records. To Bill Browder, it would be an innovative approach and groundbreaking ingenuity. A lawyer is required to advise the client of the option to file writs and submissions, even if their chance of success are low. To Bill Browder, such pieces of legal advice would be extraordinary sparks of genius and the confirmation that he indeed had the best lawyers money can buy. To lawyers, conflicts of interest are usually a calculated risk. To Bill Browder, caught inside the game lawyers play with each other every day, such a conflict may amount to treason. Many such problems are largely exaggerated in the book. It gives it an edge but perhaps at the price of accuracy, blurring the larger picture. The story is rather intense but it is also possible to finish the audiobook in one day.
The Author is a successful activist (his campaign led to the adoption of the Magnitsky Act of 2016/2017) and an apt decision maker. It is very interesting to learn how the Author escaped extradition to Russia just by sharing his arrest on Twitter. It shows that open networking may have similar positive effects for one’s personal security to private networking, while boosting one’s popularity – a feature not really available with a private circle of protectors and acquaintances. The book gives first-hand explanations to several decision-making processes and, as such, may be valuable to actual and future directors, managers and policy makers.
A good cover, true to the contents of the book and possible to read. Not very clear, though, in small formats. The amount of detail may be a little too much. Not a “likeable” cover, just an informative one. Also, rather difficult to remember, unremarkable.
Cover Photo by Michael Parulava on Unsplash