Say the name 'Enron' and most people believe they've heard all about the story that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever. But in the hands of Kurt Eichenwald, the players we think we know and the business practices we think have been exposed are transformed into entirely new, and entirely gripping, material. The cast includes but is not limited to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul O'Neill, Harvey Pitt, Colin Powell, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Greenspan, Ken Lay, Andy Fastow, Jeff Skilling, Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, and Michael Eisner. Providing a you-are-there glimpse behind closed doors in the executive suites of the Enron Corporation, the Texas governor's mansion, the Justice Department, and even the Oval Office, Conspiracy of Fools is an all-true financial and political thriller of cinematic proportions.
©2005 Kurt Eichenwald; (P)2005 Books on Tape
"As an unadorned attempt to get into the heads of some major manipulators, this book can hardly be bettered." (Publishers Weekly)
"Conspiracy of Fools is a splendid achievement. Mr. Eichenwald has an encyclopedic grasp of a watershed business collapse, and has turned it into a gripping read, a true tale for our times." (The New York Times)
"A page-turning financial thriller....This book compares with Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gate in its breadth and depth of coverage of esoteric corporate culture and financial practices, recognizing the compelling human drama beneath the scandal." (Booklist)
I am not even waiting until I finish this book to write this review. We already know how the story ended!
This book, in my estimation, is a spellbinding unwrapping of all the events, large and small, that meshed to create the disaster that was Enron.Having worked for a major global corporation for 25 years myself during the same time period that Enron's business environment was evolving, what with the lack of central controls and the general confusion that prevailed, along with, I might add, the free reign that some new hires who were seen as "young geniuses" were given, I identified strongly with this book's description of the events that culminated in total collapse of not just the business, but countless lives and fortunes that were destroyed as a result. Many of us at my company were experiencing the same fright and uncertainty that plagued many of Enron's and other corporations' employees during that intense period, when the structures we had helped to build were blasted away with seemingly not a thought given to the consequences. I worked in accounting, so it all comes across as very real to me.
While this book does mainly break down the more complicated aspects of the financial constructs coming to life within Enron at the time, I will admit that a certain minor percentage of these are still not clear to me. (And never were to Enron, I believe.) But mainly, the book does make clear most of the events and their settings that caused the ruination of Enron. And to no one's surprise, I imagine, your basic unbridled greed was underlying the entire course of events.
The narration of this book is excellent. I have not encountered any irritations with it. The way it is read allows the listener to not even pay attention to the narration, but just to actually be a part of the action. This is as it should be.
There have been many books on this same topic; I have read some of them and did not even finish a couple, due to the way the material was treated. Because general corporate accounting is a foreign language to an average person on the street, the subject has to be made both understandable and most importantly, interesting, objectives hard to attain. This book definitely meets that challenge.
It also provides a realistic acquaintance for the listener with the characters involved, on a personal basis. This is important in understanding the motivations of characters who veered so far off course.
To my taste, this book accomplishes both of the above objectives better than any other I have read on this topic. It is a very long listen, 20-some hours. But that only serves to extend the pleasure of listening.
I believe very few listeners would be disappointed in this excellent book.
great insight, put together in very engaging way, scary reality
very good at captivating me
scary what can happen when greed takes over...
Compelling take on the Enron disaster. The author makes complex financial issues easy to understand. He seems to give Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay more of a pass than they probably deserve. I'm listening to The Smartest Guys in the Room to get another perspective on the issues. Both books together give a more full picture of why what happened did.
Not having much of a business background and unfamiliar with the jargon used on Wall Street I felt unprepared. Just a word of caution to those in a similar place as mine.
Not assume that everyone knows financial acronyms and jargon.
The book was thoroughly enjoyable!! but it felt like fiction with good and bad guys... mostly bad greedy guys !! but loved it !!
World Champion Parallel Parker
This was the book that started me listening to books. What a great story. The complexity is more manageable when it's read TO you - if I had seen the book on a shelf, I would never have picked it up. The book makes commuting fun.
This book is well worth the two credits - both in length and in quality.
This story is told like a Grisham or Bender novel. Knowing how this is going to end is apart of what makes this book so surreal.
It shows the danger of arrogant and narcissistic personalities running a company, especially one that dealt with billions of dollars.
The research that had to be done to tell the story in this way is mind boggling. The author goes into what people are thinking, what they ate for lunch that day, what was happening in their family life in a manner that you can't stop listening.
This book again confirms that "if it's too good to be true..."
There's lots of characters and the author goes into who they all are and where they fit in the forth part of the book at about 7 hours. It would be good if this was available to look at every 3 or 4 hours of listening.
The beginning of this book was fascinating, it was clearly explained to a financial moron like me what exactly was happening and why. But I quit halfway through the 2nd part. Hey, guys, I got it in the first part, I understand, I don't need to have every deal explained ad nauseam. I GOT it! I'll go log into MSNBC to see how it all ends.
Just plain boring!
I should have loved it. I'm the CEO of a small cap corporation myself and, by the way, I have previously been a manager in a "Fortune 100" company.
Sorry, I just didn't like this book.
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