With dark humor and page-turning momentum, Cruver lays out firsthand: the giddy group-think nurtured by Enron's leadership, whose incessant cheerleading for the company's stock price rendered many Enronians unable to believe that they were routinely being spoon-fed lies; the "rank and yank" peer review process that fostered horse-trading among managers over which employees would be given poor evaluations; the traders who made dubious deals to ensure their own lucrative bonuses; and the sinister designs and funding of Enron's fraudulent off-the-books partnerships. As Cruver probes the sleazy escapades that Enron executives milked for personal gain, he introduces us, up close and personal, to such storied figures as Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow, along with other important Enron personalities like Rebecca Mark; Lou Pai; Thomas White, George W. Bush's Secretary of the Army; Joe Sutton; the "Mr. Blue", a disillusioned Enron executive; and Cruver's trading floor neighbor, a machine he christened "Sherman the Shredder" - who was always working overtime.
Cruver's day-by-day chronicle, which includes a running stock ticker to show the trajectory of Enron's collapse, is instantly reminiscent of such bestsellers as Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gate. Told in a fresh, empathetic voice, Anatomy of Greed is brimming with grist for political pundits and comic relief for victims of corporate collateral damage. It is ...
(P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Brian Cruver's book gives insight on the Enron scandal not found in other books, such as The Smartest Guys in the Room and Conspiracy of Fools. It's the insight of the low-level employee who just wants to go to work and be part of the Enron success story and ends up being a witness to/casualty of the collapse. It's helpful, but not essential, to read the other books first for details on the reasons why Enron fell apart because Cruver's take is more memoir than business analysis. You're not going to understand the ins and outs of the off-balance sheet transactions from reading this book alone. If that's your goal, read the others first. Having read the others and being ready to move past the financial minutiae, I found Cruver's take to be refreshingly lighter, snarkier and relatable.
His description of Enron employees helping each other with their resumes while watching ESPN on the expensive TV screens on the trading floor in the final days of the company's existence is both surreal and startlingly believable to anyone who's worked in corporate America. The narrator does an excellent job in matching the tone of Cruver's text. I actually rate him higher than the narrator of Conspiracy of Fools. If you have a fascination with the Enron story, as I do, this one is worth your time.
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