©2003 Mimi Swartz; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Swartz paints the most detailed portrait yet of the company's ambitious executives and toxic culture." (Business Week)
"The book offers particularly strong perspective on some of Enron's wilder escapades... It does a stunning job of chronicling the power games within Enron." (Publishers Weekly)
"Riveting to the reader who knows that Enron ended in bankruptcy but has no knowledge of what life was like inside the organization." (New York Times Book Review)
I write my reviews under my wife Karen's account. Retired USN Russian linguist/analyst; actor; director; producer. Biography & History focus
A light read that broadly covers the rise and fall of ENRON. If you are looking for juicy gossip you won't find a lot of it in here...nor will you find much in detail...nor will you find much outside of the author's knowledge. All-in-all a moderate recommendation but I would suggest that there are better recountings elsewhere. Rate this one about a 3 - recommended with reservations. A good "beach" listen.
This is a complex tale that doesn't stop to educate the listener on business and investment terms. The minutia of the business transactions may frustrate some listeners, however the big picture should be easily understood by most all. It is a shocking realization of how corporations can manipulate their earnings to meet earnings projections and satisfy stockholders.
I really did not believe that it could be possible to tell the Enron story without requiring the reader to take the cpa exam first - not to mention that it would be possible to LISTEN to the story and gain some insight!
Mostly, the impossible task has been accomplished. The story on greed and criminal conduct is compelling, but what impresses me is that after listening to Power Failure, my own reading of Enron indictments in the business press have been enhanced. To follow the book, there is no need to understand the dirty details of SPEs and accounting entries to understand the reprehensible nature of Enron's officials and the behavior of the public accountants, lawyers, and investment bankers that condoned and promoted the fraud. The book is more setting the scene for judgment of a general corporate behavior rather than revealing and arguing specific transgressions against reigning law.
Power Failure is surprisingly easy listen - you do not find yourself wishing for a paper book where you can re-read a passage to pick up on a fine line violated by the principals - the book spells out Enron's actions in broad strokes that can be understood by most everyone.
The vantage point of the authors do make you wish for more, though. It's not that there is a lack of a smoking gun - Enron was a gun range (to torture the analogy). I suppose what I wish for most, would be a "where are they now" - what happened (or, is happening) to the many people feeding off the trough of Enron... And after listening to this book, I tend to believe that there are a large number of people of bad character untouched by the SEC's "dragnet".
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