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Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron | [Mimi Swartz, Sherron Watkins]

Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron

From inside the walls of Enron, a lone whistleblower attempted to avert the course of events leading to the largest bankruptcy in American history. On August 16, 2001, Sherron Watkins wrote an anonymous letter to Enron's Chairman, Ken Lay, laying out problems with Enron's use of partnerships to hide debt. She warned of a possible scandal that could topple the company if investors and the news media learned of the operations. Then, she revealed her identity and confronted Lay directly.
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Publisher's Summary

From inside the walls of Enron, a lone whistleblower attempted to avert the course of events leading to the largest bankruptcy in American history. On August 16, 2001, Sherron Watkins wrote an anonymous letter to Enron's Chairman, Ken Lay, laying out problems with Enron's use of partnerships to hide debt. She warned of a possible scandal that could topple the company if investors and the news media learned of the operations. Then, she revealed her identity and confronted Lay directly. Lay did nothing, and the scandal broke, sending Enron's stock price into the basement and wiping out the life savings of many thousands of people. Hear how Enron's culture of greed and the relentless cutting of moral corners led to the ultimate disaster, as told by an insider.

©2003 Mimi Swartz; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (44 )
5 star
 (10)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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4.0 (6 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (6 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Karen Apex, NC, United States 05-13-03
    Karen Apex, NC, United States 05-13-03 Member Since 2001

    I write my reviews under my wife Karen's account. Retired USN Russian linguist/analyst; actor; director; producer. Biography & History focus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ENRON (Light)"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Charleston, WV, USA 06-26-03
    Brian Charleston, WV, USA 06-26-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Complex . . . but good."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. W. Larsen Boynton Beach, FL United States 05-25-03
    B. W. Larsen Boynton Beach, FL United States 05-25-03 Listener Since 2000

    Bj

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A very readable story on a complex subject"

    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".

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald LondonUnited Kingdom 04-25-03
    Donald LondonUnited Kingdom 04-25-03
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    "A good version"

    A very good inside version. Very readable. Gets over the atomosphere and culture inside Enron aswell as the the accounting.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerardo Los Angeles, CA, USA 02-07-04
    Gerardo Los Angeles, CA, USA 02-07-04
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Power Failure"

    Poorly edited!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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