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The Smartest Guys in the Room

2004 . Biography & Autobiography, Business . Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind

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5 total

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20K total

About the book

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Just as Watergate was the defining political story of its time, so Enron is the biggest business story of our time. And just as All the President s Men was the one Watergate book that gave readers the full story, with all the drama and nuance, The Smartest Guys in the Room is the one book you have to read to understand this amazing business saga. And the critics agree: This book is right up there with Den of Thieves and Barbarians at the Gate. . . . Those who want to learn what happened here, you don t have to read anything but this. James Cramer, CNBC The best book about the Enron debacle to date. . . . Based on hundreds of interviews and fresh details, McLean and Elkind masterfully weave together the many strands of the Enron story. They shine in their characterizations of Enron s often incompetent executives. Wendy Zellner, BusinessWeek News junkies and mystery lovers who enjoy financial scandals will devour this multilayered book. . . . The Smartest Guys in the Room will rival other models of the genre, including James Stewart s Den of Thieves. . . . The authors write with power and finesse. Their prose is effortless, like a sprinter floating down the track. . . . The character sketches of former chairman Kenneth Lay, former CEO Jeff Skilling and ex-chief financial officer Andrew Fastow are masterful. Edward Iwata, USA Today Powerful and shocking. . . . succeed[s] in opening a disturbing window into both the company and the era . . . filled with fascinating characters and anecdotes. Jonathan A. Knee, The New York Times Book Review The Smartest Guys in the Room is utterly professional, readable and even though you know what s coming highly entertaining. Daniel Gross, The Washington Post Meticulously reported and compelling . . . a cautionary tale about highfliers who weren t as clever as they thought. David Koeppel, Entertainment Weekly

Year:

2004

Language:

English

Publisher:

Portfolio

Pages:

440

ISBN:

1591840538 (ISBN13: 9781591840534)

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Reviews

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Morten Veith Schroeder image

6 months ago

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Really interesting book that goes into very high detail with the Enron scandal. I think you have to be a bit interested in Finance / business to really enjoy this book. It took me a little while to get into and the start felt a bit slow, but it's worth it. The story is told well, and goes into depth with both the financial maneuvers they did but also a lot of the personal stuff and you get close to a lot of the people involved. There's a couple of things I never realized about the Enron scandal until I read this book, which I found fascinating: (1) How a lot of what they did (initially) was technically not illegal. They were incredibly smart people who exploited loopholes in the law to make hypothetical profits, which over time became so illusive and complicated that they eventually fooled themselves to believing they made profits. This metaphor from an accountant in the book describes it really well: "Imagine that the law defined a duck as having a yellow beak and two feet. At Enron, we would then exploit that law and acquire a bunch of dogs and dress them up with yellow beaks and 2 legs, and now tell everyone we had ducks. We would keep on doing that to the point that we thought they were ducks, but underneath it all they were still just dogs". (2) How the moral compass adjusts with every little 'wrong' you do to the point where 10 years down the road, people are unable to notice it. I think Enron is a great example of this! (3) For sure the top management carries a lot of the blame, but oh boy, a lot of other organizations, people, bankers, etc. are the blame too. Great book!

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Markus Marañon Straarup image

6 months ago

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What an absolutely fascinating story! I always knew of Enron as the worst bankruptcy in history. But i was blown away by the extent and pervasiveness of the fraud. This was not just one fraudulent scheme, but a complex tapestry of financial, accounting, and legal maneuvering over many years. I found it especially frightening to see how many people were a part of this, and kind of knew what was going on. But because everyone else seemed to be ok with it, and it was part of the culture, it just gave way for .... more fraud! If you like business and finance books this is a must read!

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Morten Veith Schroeder image

6 months ago

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I think this phrase best describes what happened at Enron: “a gradual disintegration of the accounting moral and standards”

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Morten Veith Schroeder image

6 months ago

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Christ what a story 🤯🤯 Really enjoying this one!

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Morten Veith Schroeder image

6 months ago

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