The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron Hardcover – 2 Oct 2003
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...the most comprehensive picture yet of how the company went off the rails. The sheer accumulation of detail makes it possible for the first time to understand how Enron got away with its blend of hubris and incompetence for so long. . . This is more than a business story. It is also about what can happen to any institution when weak and complacent leadership allows itself to be swept along by strong vested interests and the mood of the times. (Richartd Lambert, ex editor of Financial Times and member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Bethany Mclean is a senior writer for Fortune. She is also the author of the award-winning A PIECE OF THE ACTION (1995). It was her investigation into Enron that first began the scandal. Peter Elkind is an investigative report for Fortune. He is the author of THE DEATH SHIFT (1989).
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Top Customer Reviews
So, for once, believe the blurb on the jacket; if you have only one book to read, not just about Enron but about the hubris of the past decade, make it this one.
On the other hand, if over-length in a business book is the sort of thing that dissuades you, don't let it: this is one of the most riveting books on the history of finance you'll read, and it gets more and more addictive the further you go on.
As a number of reviewers have noted, it is simply staggering that Enron can have ever got where it got to at all, let alone stayed there for the best part of a decade, with all the ostenisble checks and balances that sophisticated capital markets provide. Staggering. In checks and balances I don't mean regulators, who will always be the last ones to find out where market-based moral turpitude is concerned, but investors, stock analysts, brokers, lenders, rating agencies and fund managers: people who don't just earn huge remuneration, but stake their reputations on being sceptical in the face of unconvincing bluster.
But as McLean and Elkind make clear in chapter after chapter, barely disguised and unconvinving bluster was, in large part, all Enron was. For all the "black box" accounting, it is simply inconceivable that Enron's true internal wiring could be kept anything like properly secret, since far too many people had to know about it.Read more ›
I came to this book knowing little about corporate finance, and the authors are expert at doling out just enough information so that you can follow the insanely complicated financial transactions that made Enron appear to be far more substantial an entity than it really was. The characters are a fascinating rogues' gallery of people I wouldn't trust to sell fried dough out of a handcart on Boston Common: Skilling, arrogant, aggressive and downright unpleasant; Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, blithely skimming off millions from the deals he oversaw that enabled Enron to borrow money from itself and chalk it up as earnings; Kenneth Lay, endlessly complacent and blissfully untroubled by the fact that his company was built on illusions practically from the start. My favourite moment of high comedy is when, just as the company is beginning to crumble, Lay gives a speech to Enron employees, reassuring them that they'll ride out the current crisis.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To think that this all happened between 15 and 30 years ago. The one think I take away from this is that things are unlikely to have changed. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. E. Parry
Well written, but did jump about a little bit. Yet another example of lies, greed and bullying. Interesting read nonetheless.Published 7 months ago by David Pestell
Brilliant book. An incredible amount of detail that is presented alongside a timeline of the company. A masterpiece.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I loved this book. Enron was a little before my time, so obviously I had heard of the scandal but didn't really know of any details. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Olwen
Well written, some great and gripping parts. Didn't totally blow my hair back, but 100% worth the time and effort!Published 9 months ago by Jamie McLaughlin