Non Fiction Reader
Enron's financial world was complex and difficult to explain. This book does an excellent job of providng an over-view and details, in an understandable way. It is not a pretty picture, and there are times the reader will gleen a less then objective interpretation (almost a voyeur's glee) in telling some of the details. But then, some are startling. If I were a prosecutor, I would present my case exactly as the book is written. Highly recommend it as informative and entertaining.
I have listened to this book several times and each time I get more out of it. As an investor, I learned how you can't believe even the financial advisors. I'm glad I got the unabridged version.
I wasn't sure purchasing this audiobook was a wise choice. "Thirty hours? Really?" I thought. Having read and seen "The Smartest Guys in the Room," however, this book seemed like the next step. I was not disappointed!! It was like crack in audiobook form. From the first chapter, the listener is drawn into the fascinating financial maelstrom that is the notorious Enron legacy. Eichenwald's writing provides much detail without it being overwhelming, while moving the story along at a compelling pace - not an easy combination to achieve - and Robertson Dean's narration ... I would listen to that man read from the telephone book. I'd have to say this is one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to. My only recommendation would be to keep a running list of all the players, because so many people are involved.
This book is fascinating and worth listening to. Unfortunately, it places all the blame for Enron on Andrew Fastow and portrays Kenneth Lay and Jeff Skilling as poor innocent children. if you read other sources (for example, the October 2002 Forbes Article "Andrew Fastow, Fall Guy" By Dan Ackman) it is clear that the problem with Enron was endemic and not just one bad apple. If you can stand more of the detail of the financial transaction involved, Enron's demise is more credibly portrayed in "Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron" by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. Eichenwald gives too many venal and greedy people free passes to be wholely credible.
I was always interested in the Enron fiasco and "Conspiracy of Fools" provided a very detailed account of the tragic events. I especially appreciated the insights into the specific schemes and how they were implemented. A good listen. Highly recommended.
First, I read The Smartest Guys In The Room. Next, I read Power Failure. Both were informative but only seemed to scratch the surface. I continued to have questions. I needed an elementary level explanation for how the accounting charade and stock market credit ratings intertwined. I wanted to know how multiple frauds could be established and survive over a long period within the same corporate structure. I was curious how each fraud came into being, whose baby it was, and who nurtured it. Conspiracy of Fools walked me through all of it. It didn't glorify the Whistleblower nor vilify any of the players. Rather, it just put the facts out and allowed me to draw my own conclusions. If I had read Conspiracy Of Fools first I would not have read the other two books as there simply would have been no need to do so.
In spite of the many layers of protection surrounding each key player, the book defined the responsible culprit. It cut through the chase.
He did an outstanding job on Jeff Skilling.
I was thrilled as the world of fraud collapsed. On the other hand, I felt sorrow and anger that the imploding financially devastated so many innocent people.
I am a bilingual high school teacher. I mostly read non-fiction, especially history, but I am also a sucker for science-fiction and fantasy novels.
I went into this not sure if a 30-hour book about Enron would really be all that interesting. However, I ended up really enjoying it. It was very, very detailed and thorough, and the author did a great job of making the financials easy to understand. I could follow what was happening with the money with no problems and I have no financial or accounting background. The book is very much a narrative, and in spite of the large cast of characters and the detailed series of events, you get so that you are really engrossed in the story. It was hard at times to remember that this all really happened! The author obviously went to a lot of trouble (as he discusses in the interesting interview with him at the end of the book) to tell the story based on facts and not demonize anyone. The people come across as authentic and complex, just like they should. Even the corrupt people can be sympathetic (or at least pathetic) at times. I was a teenager when Enron went bankrupt so I really didn't know anything about the story going in, but that didn't affect my ability to follow the book - the author didn't make any assumptions about what people already knew about Enron.
I really enjoyed the narration. It engaged me in the book and was neither over-dramatic nor monotone. There were only two or three mispronounced words that I caught, which is honestly pretty impressive in 30+ hours of reading.
My only complaint is that there wasn't another 10 hours about the trials and the aftermath. I understand why - because the trials were ongoing when the book was written - but I still wanted it to continue! In general, the ending wasn't that satisfying, but it is real life, so obviously it couldn't all get neatly wrapped up. Overall, I would recommend the book to people interested in history books, actually, since it reads like a good history book, with a clear narrative and interesting in-depth coverage of the whole history of Enron as well as its demise.
Very complex but clearly explained--engrossing and impressive--better than fiction--and I cannot imagine how it could be abridged--go for the full version--it's worth every minute--my husband is going to LOVE this one. Road trip.
Who knew that a 30 hour book on the collapse of a company could be so interesting? It is very interesting to hear from the inside how events progressed - and the magnitude of the incompetence of key players in the story.