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The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron (2003)

de Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind

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1,2702015,287 (4.02)21
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.… (més)
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I read this book in two chunks. Read the first hundred pages or so and stopped because my disgust with the people involved got the better of me. Similar to reading a book about Trump, there is a certain nose pinching distance one has to read from. Picked it up a month or so ago and was utterly fascinated the rest of the way. The first part is a little slower, setting up the beginnings of the company and the background of the players, but definitely picks up and runs into pure fascination. Lots of well organized detail presented in a fashion I could mostly understand--can't say I can explain much of it but while reading it I did maintain a decent grasp of the accounting shenanigans. You don't have to love numbers to enjoy this tragedy. There is enough workplace drama, high wire act gambles and operatic human downfalls to keep anyone's attention. There is a rooting interest for those with the most guilt in this debacle to get their comeuppance--and some do--but the ultimate feeling is one of despair for the guilty rarely see that they have done anything wrong, the victims are never made whole and the system keeps rolling merrily along. Many of the same factors involved in the Enron collapse were contributory to the crash of the housing market so what should have been a warning of things to come--was given lip-service instead of being properly addressed. Fascinating read that still applies though the collapse was over twenty years ago.
  KurtWombat | Feb 3, 2024 |
I had a hard time following all the threads, and really didn't understand the nuances of a lot of the shady accounting BS that happened... but nonetheless this book was interesting. I suppose it would have been too long if the authors had spent more time explaining things in more detail. ( )
  lemontwist | May 20, 2023 |
“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.”
― Bethany McLean, The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron

Man, if this book does not get you outraged...

This book tells the story of Enron. I am sure most people have heard of Enron. And not in a good way I am afraid.

So one might ask why read a book about a bunch of sociopaths who cheated their employees out of millions? Well first off, I am into psychology and found the book fascinating from that perspective. I have always hated the corporate world and the people of Enron are a great example of all there is to hate about it.

But the book goes into great detail about exactly what happened and it is chilling. One wonders what company or companies maybe doing the same thing right now. In a world, where the rich, the powerful seem to get away with just about everything this is a powerful read, even if it made me hate corporate America ever that much more.

There is also a Docufilm on same subject, same title and it is worth watching just as this book is worth reading. ( )
  Thebeautifulsea | Aug 4, 2022 |

I don't love true crime, unless it's white-collar crime, then I am all in. Recently, I listened to the Wall Street Journal's Bad Bets podcast and the first season is about Enron. Listening to that encouraged me to pick up this book, which I actually added to my TBR six years ago. This is very well done and I feel like I have a really good understanding of what happened in this case. ( )
  AKBouterse | Jan 1, 2022 |
See also 16 boxes of documents in SH Archive.
  LibraryofMistakes | Mar 2, 2021 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Bethany McLeanautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Elkind, Peterautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
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OUR VALUES

RESPECT: We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness, and arrogance don't belong here.

INTEGRITY: We work with customers and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely. When we say we will do something, we will do it; when we say we cannot or will not do something, then we won't do it.

COMMUNICATION: We have an oblication to communicate. Here, we take the time to talk with one another ... and to listen. We believe that information is meant to move and that information moves people.

EXCELLENCE: We are satisfied with nothing less than the very best in everything we do. We will continue to raise the bar for everyone. The great fun here will be for all of us to discover just how good we really can be.

--From Enron's 1998 Annual Report
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For Chris
--B. M.
For Laura
--P. E.
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(Introduction): On a cool Texas night in late January, Cliff Baxter slipped out of bed.
It is no accident that Ken Lay's career in the energy buisness began -- and, most likely, ended -- in the city of Houston, Texas.
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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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.

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