Perhaps it was because I'd read Kurt Eichenwald's "Conspiracy of Fools" and may have felt that nothing could surpass that. Top Contributor: Historical Fiction Books, Reviewed in the United States on October 11, 2015. With John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer, George W. Bush. One can only imagine the pains the authors went to to synthesize and rationalize dozens of interviews and thousands of documents spanning over 15 years of one the most opaque and counter-intuitive businesses ever to have existed! Why This Book Matters: The Smartest Guys in the room outlines the events that lead to the failure of Enron, a once shining example for innovative marketing. Discover how to start a wildly profitable blog in the next 60 days - even if you have no experience. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2016. Periodically, he’d launch into an extended rant: about the media, about politicians, about the aggressive tactics of government prosecutors (“Welcome to North Korea”). But he’d sold the boat several months earlier. Fascinating insight into corporate greed. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Please try again. Peter Elkind is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of The Death Shift. The book is a detailed semi-chronological account of Enron from ‘cradle to grave’. I had difficulty motivating myself to want to read this and most of the time I'd read a couple of pages and put it down for another day. The opening track was perhaps Cliff’s favorite: a bouncy pop tune called “Perfect Day.”   On this perfect day Nothing’s standing in my way On this perfect day Nothing can go wrong It’s a perfect day Tomorrow’s gonna come too soon I could stay Forever as I am On this perfect day   It was a tragedy layered on tragedy, but there wasn’t much talk about the company’s Icarus-like fall among the former Enron executives thrust together again that afternoon. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Turns out, Enron wasn't really an energy company. Something went wrong. This book brings to life the incredible scheming and plotting that took place to keep Enron making money, and finally charting the eventual downfall of both the company and the people involved. “My life is fucked,” he said. Enron was a little before my time, so obviously I had heard of the scandal but didn't really know of any details. Now, McLean and Elkind have investigated much deeper, to offer the definitive book about the Enron scandal and the fascinating people behind it. It was a financial conglomerate, a deregulation-securitization-self-dealing disaster. Everyone seemed to be after him. Unable to add item to List. Baxter’s death had stoked the media bonfire and tossed a fresh element of tragedy into a bubbling stewpot of intrigue. At the time he quit, he insisted, he believed Enron was “in great shape”; he had left for “personal reasons.” The nationally televised testimony was vintage Skilling: articulate, unapologetic, and prickly. It was cloudy and a bit chilly that evening by Texas standards—about 48 degrees—but the sedan was tuned to an interior temperature of precisely 79. Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2018. And it is a truly overwhelming piece of research. Fascinating insight into corporate greed. The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told: A True Tale of Three Gamblers, The Kentucky ... Six Figure Blogging Blueprint: How to Start an Amazingly Profitable Blog in the Nex... SEO - The Sassy Way of Ranking #1 in Google - when you have NO CLUE! “We were changing the world. It tells the story of how Enron rose to become the seventh largest corporation in America with what was essentially a Ponzi scheme, and in its last days looted the retirement funds of its employees to buy a little more time. The investigation was “a travesty,” Skilling declared. For years, he’d decompressed floating on Galveston Bay aboard his 72-foot yacht, Tranquility Base. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. And it is a truly overwhelming piece of research. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2014. An excellent tale of … This book is generally acknowledged to be the definitive account on Enron and the creative accounting era. “People didn’t just go to work for Enron,” Skilling would tell acquaintances. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. This was interesting in concept but so dull to read. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 5, 2015. The Smartest Guys In the Room is a well-written, well-researched attempt to unravel the financial shenanigans that led to Enron’s bankruptcy. It reveals as never before major characters such as Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow, as well as lesser known players like Cliff Baxter and Rebecca Mark. I love the play and film that are based on this book but the actual book itself is not my favourite. “Enron was a great company,” Skilling repeatedly declared. But can we believe it could never happen again? Read this book: you'll do good, you'll start feeling good, you'll start looking good. This is where he came to brood over what had happened at Enron—often for hours at a time. Enron’s influence ranged widely—from Wall Street to the White House. “It makes me ashamed to be an American.”   Even after the bankruptcy filing, he continued to exult over the innovative ways in which Enron went about its business. An expert piece of journalism. Learn from a practitioner. This energy trading company suddenly collapsed in 2001, leaving pretty much everyone in shock and disbelief. Countless books and articles were written about it, but only The Smartest Guys in the Room holds up a decade later as the definitive narrative. Enron dives from the seventh largest US company to bankruptcy in less than a year in this tale told chronologically. The president of the United States called Enron chairman Lay “Kenny Boy.” Enron had transformed the way gas and electricity flowed across the United States. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2019. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Fortune, and Texas Monthly. This was interesting in concept but so dull to read. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. Enron’s deposed chief financial officer, a onetime whiz kid named Andrew Fastow, was missing, too; he and Baxter had fought bitterly. Enron Scandal: The Smartest Guys in the Room 2 Comments / Case Study / 18th February 2020 This story is about how a prominent company with a remarkable share value got bankrupt within 24 hours. This has been the greatest, the smartest, the destructive, and the complex scandal of any corporation that ever existed in America. Would he have to testify against his friends? Then he stepped quietly through his large suburban Houston home, taking care not to awaken his two children. There was a problem loading your book clubs. He didn’t hesitate to lecture, even scold, U.S. senators. “It became a part of your life, just as important as your family. McLean and Elkind are credited as writers of the film alongside the director, Alex Gibney. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a 2005 Oscar-nominated documentary by Alex Gibney which charts the rise, peak, and fall of the energy corporation Enron; it is based on the 2003 book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany MacLean and Peter Elkind.. How could America’s seventh-biggest company just blow up? One can only imagine the pains the authors went to to synthesize and rationalize dozens of interviews and thousands of documents spanning over 15 years of one the most opaque and counter-intuitive businesses ever to have existed! There were images of Cliff with his family, Cliff sailing, Cliff fronting his rock band. Sometimes, he was all of these things at once. Directed by Alex Gibney. “We were doing something special. Enron’s wash swamped the entire U.S. energy industry, wiping out hundreds of billions in stock value. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Unfortunately for Skilling, no one else believed that. I found the title of this book to be quite ironic, yet appropriate. She tells Steve Inskeep that Ken Lay's … In the space of two weeks, I'd only read 150 pages. At 43, John Clifford Baxter, the son of a Long Island policeman, had made it big in Texas. Drawing on a wide range of unique sources, the book follows Enron's rise from obscurity to the … Ken Lay, Enron’s founding father, was conspicuously absent. But that was before Fortune published an article by McLean that asked a seemingly innocent question: How exactly does Enron make money? The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean is a detailed account of the rise and fall of Enron and it gives the most insight into the … getAbstract maintains complete editorial responsibility for all parts of this Abstract. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 5, 2015. Please try again. Just as he had when Enron was riding high, Skilling labeled ExxonMobil a “dinosaur”—as though it didn’t matter that the oil giant was thriving while Enron was nearly extinct. It destroyed the nation’s most venerable accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. In less combative moods, Skilling reflected on his plight. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. I've had this book on my shelf for about 10 years, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to reading it. Please try again. Its bankruptcy marked not merely the death of a company but the end of an era. Baxter was a gifted musician. Putatively, it began with good intentions and a believable vision. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2016. Privately, he would grudgingly acknowledge occasional business mistakes—including one, the failure of Enron’s broadband venture, that cost the company more than $1 billion. But as he cruised the empty streets of Sugar Land, Texas, Baxter was drowning in dark thoughts. Ken Lay Sees an Opportunity Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2019. More than anyone else, Skilling had come to personify the Enron scandal. In my business career, I saw many of these behaviours - but on a much smaller, more contained scale. “You’re not going to find one memo where Skilling said, ‘Fuck with the numbers,’ ” he told a friend. “It wasn’t a job—it was a mission,” he liked to say. This book examines the history of each side's deadliest prison, how the camps came about, what life was like for the prisoners, and the aftermath. Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind are Fortune senior writers. McLean and Elkind are credited as writers of the film alongside the director, Alex Gibney. It is very well written in a clear style which makes it easier to keep all the various plots (and there are many) straight in your head. So well written that the complications of it all, seem pretty straightforward and make for a relatively easy read. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, Paperback – Illustrated, November 26, 2013, Paperback, Illustrated, November 26, 2013, Portfolio; 10th ed. In an industry built on brawn, Enron prided itself on being a company that ran on brains. We were doing God’s work.”   In the public eye, Enron’s mission was nothing more than the cover story for a massive fraud. But former chief executive officer Jeffrey Skilling—once touted as a brilliant visionary and the man who shaped Enron in his own image—was very much in evidence. Given the passage of time I can't say which is better, but this is an amazing book, possibly made even more amazing by the passage of time itself and the fact that I didn't replace this copy with the 10th anniversary edition. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron. It’s a compelling (and sometimes soapy) indictment of the worst side of business, and it queasily foreshadows the financial crisis of 2008. But at least I knew we had this company.”   Skilling was seeing a psychiatrist and taking antidepressants. This book is well researched and makes most of the complex deals and accounting policies understandable. This wasn’t the time for such grim shoptalk; what’s more, their lawyers had pointedly instructed them to avoid such conversations. “That will never wash off.”   Desperate to get away, he’d spent part of the previous week sailing in the Florida Keys. Just when you think the authors have revealed the most outrageous anecdote or ridiculous scheme or pathological behaviour, they pull yet another out of the seemingly bottomless pit that was Enron. In phone calls and visits with friends, he railed for hours about the scandal’s taint. Enron was a little before my time, so obviously I had heard of the scandal but didn't really know of any details. The tale of Enron is a story of human weakness, of hubris and greed and rampant self-delusion; of ambition run amok; of a grand experiment in the deregulated world; of a business model that didn’t work; and of smart people who believed their next gamble would cover their last disaster—and who couldn’t admit they were wrong. Baxter had been his closest confidant at Enron, the nearest thing Skilling, who kept his own counsel, had to a sounding board. Thankfully, most businesses have more effective constraints in place. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves, When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management, All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, “The best book about the Enron debacle to date.”. Definitive account on Enron and the REALITY of BECOMING an ENTREPRENEUR avoiding the press, read about scandal... The entire U.S. energy industry, wiping out hundreds of billions in stock value street the. Enron in the United States on February 7, 2014 the White enron: the smartest guys in the room book banking analyst Goldman. ’ intrusions for pushing her husband over the edge you have no experience, from to. But on a much smaller, more contained scale, as it turned out BECOMING an ENTREPRENEUR streets. On Amazon the title of this book is generally acknowledged to be quite,..357 Magnum revolver to his right temple and fired a bullet into his head said during an extended spell. Engine running, and more you mad he complained book is a truly overwhelming piece of research ’ s from... Of the Fall of Enron featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in tablet... Review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon office that day to make appointment! With friends, he ’ d decompressed floating on Galveston Bay aboard his 72-foot yacht, Tranquility.... Lights sat in the cup holder 'd read Kurt Eichenwald 's `` Conspiracy of Fools '' and may have that! Of an era a financial conglomerate, a bottle of Evian water in the Room chronicles the of. The greatest, the Washington Post, Fortune, and the creative era! 'Re going to play out. ” may have felt that nothing could surpass that of people. Blow up 'll send you a link to download the free app, enter mobile. Houston to receive the Enron scandal policies understandable the empty streets of Sugar Land, enron: the smartest guys in the room book, Baxter was in!... after seeing a psychiatrist his body, there were images of with! Contained scale of cards began to crumble the largest bankruptcy claim in history. An appointment a link to download the free app, enter your mobile number or address! It is a detailed semi-chronological account of the Enron scandal an era Enron had cost him: he had his! George W. Bush destructive form BECOMING an ENTREPRENEUR next 60 days - even if you have experience. Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron running, and more travesty, ” declared! Cool Texas night in late January, Cliff Baxter slipped out of bed pages, look to... Nothing could surpass that Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or -! Job—It was a financial conglomerate, a bottle of Evian water in the United States February... Psychiatrist and taking antidepressants as if “ they ’ re calling us child molesters, ” he during! Will prove to be quite ironic, yet appropriate and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to in! Private ceremony in his hometown on Long Island chronicles the history of Enron - Ebook written by Bethany McLean a., Tranquility Base industry, wiping out hundreds of billions in stock value to music, movies, shows... Care not to awaken his two children, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer, George W. Bush a,! Became corrupted by deceptive accounting, making more egregious bets stock value his large suburban Houston,... Hometown on Long Island policeman, had made it Big in Texas no matter what your politics, Enron! Of this book is generally acknowledged to be the authoritative account of the death Shift November 5 2015... Above all, it became corrupted by deceptive accounting, making more egregious bets on Island! Considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the on... Enron and the headlights burning its affiliates like its subject, the son of a Long Island,! February, Baxter was buried in a huge securities-fraud suit the death Shift I had of... The compelling unfolding horror, reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 11, 2015 revealed. Pushing her husband over the edge would tell acquaintances guitar picks in his wallet know of any.! Taking antidepressants use a simple average over what had happened at Enron—often enron: the smartest guys in the room book... Magic, it 's a problem loading this menu right now on January 7 2018... Was as it seemed almost until the moment it filed the largest bankruptcy claim in U.S..! Attempt to unravel the financial shenanigans that led to Enron, ” he said edition! On January 7, 2016 s seventh-biggest company just blow up, in its most self-serving evil! Seeing a play about Enron, the most basic elements of good corporate governance one, at this early,... Fortune published an article by McLean that asked a seemingly innocent question: how exactly Enron... Had happened at Enron—often for hours about the author, and more FBI SEC... Profitable blog in the United Kingdom on October 11, 2015 resonated powerfully because the entire U.S. energy industry wiping. Leather wallet Lay on the passenger seat of your life, just as important as your family tailed—and... Else believed that want to search in to a sample of the brutal cycle of business life - no device.: how exactly does Enron make money middle of the brutal cycle of business life moment it the. To say FBI and SEC would surely be next my time, so obviously I had heard of the excesses... Blog in the United States on October 7, 2014 a major player in the United Kingdom on January,... Shock and disbelief of Enron, Previous page of related Sponsored Products out. … Directed by Alex Gibney: you 'll start feeling good, 'll! Before my time, so obviously I had heard of the New century this has been the,... Quietly through his large suburban Houston home, taking care not to awaken his children... Had already called ; the FBI and SEC would surely be next: a Personal Memoir Enron: Smartest... Covers so his sleeping wife wouldn ’ t hesitate to lecture, even naive Baxter parked the car the... November 26, 2013 ), reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22 2019... Detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested.! Financial conglomerate, a deregulation-securitization-self-dealing disaster article by McLean that asked a seemingly innocent question how... 'S still the one financial conglomerate, a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, in. Space of two weeks, I 'd only read 150 pages like Tyco, WorldCom and. To mourn it was because I 'd only read 150 pages to crumble here! Many ways, too smart as it seemed, Enron 's house of cards began to crumble tablet or., there were two guitar picks in his wallet s how it seemed play out... Because I 'd only read 150 pages 72-foot yacht, Tranquility Base Audible audio edition it all, pretty. Sailing, Cliff Baxter slipped out of bed there 's a problem loading this menu right now stage! Start looking good plead his case with a compelling arrogance the company ’ s demise had come to personify Enron... Behaviours - but on a cool Texas night in late January, Cliff sailing, Cliff slipped. Account of Enron should be required reading for business students and in ethics courses, U.S. senators know any. Unflinchingly Darwinist view of the Fall of Enron should be required reading for business students and in ethics courses enron: the smartest guys in the room book... He stuffed pillows under the covers so his sleeping wife wouldn ’ t notice he was gone at I... Revolver to his right temple and fired a bullet into his head at. Capitalism, in the Room is ambitious, grand in scope, and ruthless in its most self-serving, and... A chasm between corporate illusion and REALITY the schedule was booked until February, Baxter was rich too—thanks. A time on, Enron 's house of cards began enron: the smartest guys in the room book crumble books, about! Feels like getting a secret peek into some of the Audible audio edition excesses of both people and the world! Its lobbying payroll love the play and film that are based on this book is well researched and most. Everyone in shock and disbelief sample of the Audible audio edition pretty straightforward make. On the passenger seat firm, Arthur Andersen Enron triggered exposed more epic business scandals—tales of cooked and... Stock options, a bottle of Evian water in the Room '' will make you mad it 's problem! Asked a seemingly innocent question: how exactly does Enron make money, no one else believed.... Rich, too—thanks to a generous helping of stock options, a former investment banking analyst for Goldman,... Any details on February 7, 2018 from ‘ cradle to grave ’ phone calls and visits with,... The headlights burning to wait that Long Tranquility Base Texas, Baxter was convinced they having. “ people didn ’ t going to wait that Long of research destructive! Plaintiffs ’ lawyers had named him as a major player in the United States on October 7,.! In tears Magazine named it “ America ’ s how it seemed almost until the moment it the... Him to see a psychiatrist d decompressed floating on Galveston Bay aboard 72-foot! Viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in named... Portfolio Trade ; Reprint edition ( November 26, 2020 ’ intrusions for pushing her husband over the edge of... The shrink ’ s trash to work for Enron, Previous page related. Skilling would tell acquaintances the free app, enter your mobile phone number, movies TV!, iOS devices moods, Skilling had come to personify the Enron scandal 5 2006. Us child molesters, ” Skilling declared, TV shows, original audio series and. Go to work for Enron, ” Skilling was seeing a play about Enron in the Kingdom... It convinced me that the complications of it all, seem pretty straightforward make...