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Publisher's Summary

In 2000, when The Informant was published, few would've imagined that a story about price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland could be as un-put-downable as the best crime fiction. Yet critics, and consumers, agreed: New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald had taken the stuff of dry business reporting and turned it into an unparalleled page-turner. With Conspiracy of Fools, Eichenwald has done it again.

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.

This audio also includes an exclusive interview with the author and a "cast of characters" list.

©2005 Kurt Eichenwald (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Sharon
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 06-29-05

Conspiracy of Fools

This is one of the best books I have ever "read". It's a great crime novel, unfortunately a true story. The author makes it very easy to understand all of the theft and fraud that took place at Enron. Do not feel daunted by the length of the book. It is a compelling listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 05-20-05

what a story!

Eichenwald does a great job of putting the listener right into the picture of what was going on at Enron. You feel as if you were looking over the shoulders of the key players as it was happening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very Complicated and Difficult to Follow

What disappointed you about Conspiracy of Fools?

The cast of characters was unbelievable....were they all necessary for the telling of this story? There were as many people as in a Movie epic; just more and more just got very complex. I would like to have a condensed version of how it all came tumbling down, but so many people were involved that it was difficult to keep track of them all. Also, there is a lot of conjecture in this story. I did not really enjoy this book. I don't understand a lot about finances, so maybe that was my problem. What I was looking for was Enron for Dummies 101.

What do you think your next listen will be?

My next listen will be Dickens or entirely different genre.

What does Stephen Lang bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He did a good's pretty straightforward, so it was fine. Not great, just fine.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

This book filled me with anger at the incredible GREED of the people involved. I could not believe how greedy Fastow was and yet, he got off with the least amount of time. He should be in prison for a very long time. Also, I felt such sadness for the employees who placed all their life savings in this company. They had such faith. And, they are the ones to suffer, while the big wigs just get off with some time in prison, they get out to spend all their millions. Kenneth Lay was an unbelievable CEO; he had no idea of what was going on in his company. Overall, this book is scary about corporate greed and it will likely happen again, for sure.

Any additional comments?

I don't really recommend this book to anyone as it is quite challenging to follow. No wonder Kenneth Lay didn't understand what was going on!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rossano
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 01-09-14

Amazing story, superb narrative

Would you consider the audio edition of Conspiracy of Fools to be better than the print version?

The narrator is brilliant, and very well connected to the way the story is written.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The whole experience is thrilling. The book evolves as a mastery novel, enriched by real life details.

  • Overall
  • Dover NH, United States
  • 03-29-11


Again this is one book that the detail is absolutely supreme,Very well reconstructed! Absolutely two thumbs up great work Kurt Eichenwald !!!!!!!!!!

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Redding, CT, USA
  • 02-13-08

What a book! History was never so interesting.

Riveting. The factual details used in the "story" and the way the author built the plot, step by step, made it hard to imagine how this could have happened -- it is no wonder our economy took such a shock from this and the other corporate scandals that took place in that era.

Fascinating! Highly recommended!

  • Overall
  • Edward
  • Lebanon, TN, USA
  • 07-16-06

Soild View

This is a review of the factual elements of the building and decline of the now household word:
Enron. Appropriately titled - it's a modern version of the Emporer's New Clothes

  • Overall

Good Introduction to Enron

The book is very well read, but the author focuses a little too much on pinning the blame solely on Andrew Fastow. It's hard to believe that he fooled everyone. Could have been more balanced by holding the other characters accountable (Skilling, Lay, board members), and should have focused more on Capitol Hill support / involvement in this whole mess. Nevertheless, the book does offer insights into a series of complex actions and transactions that led to the demise of Enron. Jury is still out, though (literally). I gave it only 3 stars as I feel the material only covers 60% of the "real story". Great reader, though.

  • Overall

Want to get an education?

Then get the audio book Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story by Kurt Eschewal. Listening to this won?t get you a degree, but it will let you know what is going on?and it will keep you awake too.

The writer has done a fantastic job?and I say this as a fellow-writer. It is practically a movie script written as a novel?including settings, actions and expressions for the actors. The narrator should get a medal too.

This could be a TV series?but this won?t happen because it is too embarrassing. It wasn?t just some Enron executives who were fools, it was America itself. The dot-com boom was the biggest foolishness America ever experienced, an experience it may never recover from. It destroyed some of our basic values. It put the system firmly in control.

It?s easy to see what happened from a distance, or at least it seems easy. But when you look at the details, as this book does, you see how many people were involved?some of them striving mightily to keep it from happening; some of them, like Ken Lay, so enraptured with his power he couldn?t see what was going on under this nose; and the white-collar criminals who thought they would get away with it?and almost did. And everything in-between, including accountants who looked the other way, while holding out their hands.

Reality is very complicated, and it is tempting to simplify it into a morality play, and just through the bastards in jail. But if greed and stupidity were crimes, no jails would be big enough. And greed and stupidity are becoming bigger, not smaller?becoming global.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful