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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.

©2005 Kurt Eichenwald (P)2005 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Nonfiction (Unabridged)

"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

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  • Overall

Great Story

Great listen! Couldn't put it down, all 4 volumes and 30+ hours. I was sceptical however read like a story, felt close to the characters like no other non fiction. Movie "Smartest guys..." paled in comparison. Highly recommend especially if intrigued by the scandal. The narration was also exceptional and added to my enjoyment.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Thomas
  • Plano, TX, USA
  • 01-20-06

In Depth

Outstanding book that takes you through the whole story of Enron and Arthur Andersen. It allows you to know the personalities involved and make your own judgements. Very informative and enjoyable. Excellent reader also. It is a long book with lots of detail. I am very glad I listened to this book.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Brilliant Approach!

I loved the way this book was written. The author made me feel like I was getting the inside scoop on how this disaster unfolded. I enjoyed it so much, that I listened to the entire audio twice!! I want to find more from this writer!!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I could not put my iPOD away

This book is a page-turner from beginning to end. Like other very engaging books, I was swept into another world -- this one a world of corporate greed and human foibles -- and I was upset when it was over. I highly recommend this book. The subject matter might seem dry but Eichenwald cuts through the complications and weaves a fantastic story. The story is all the more chilling in its truth. Well researched and wonderfully written, I give this book my highest recommendation. I only hope that Eichenwald writes a follow-up. The subsequent conviction and death of Ken Lay reminds the reader of the very real toll this true story took on people's lives.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Roy
  • Beaumont, TX, United States
  • 04-06-09

Take a Second Look

Remember Enron? Well, Kurt Eichenwald gives a blow-by-blow account of what happened and why. This is a good book to read as we are distanced from that disgraceful period in our financial history. The characters drawn by Eichenwald are vivid, their actions are unbelievable, and the results of their audacity are greater than we will know.

The unabridged version is the way to go so far as this audio version is concerned. Just when you think you have heard it all, something new jumps out and says "boo!" Don't be put off by the length of the audio version.

The underbelly of greed is all here. To understand what people are capable of, listen to Conspiracy of Fools. Well written and well read.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kim
  • Plano, TX, USA
  • 05-16-08

Highly recommended

I was hestitant about downloading this book at first, my only real knowledge of the Enron story was from the DVD, "Enron - The Smartest Guys in the Room." To be honest, I found the DVD lacking in the detail I needed to understand what happened; I was bored quickly.

This account delivers! Another reviewer stated that all of the blame was placed on Fastow, I have to disagree. Fastow took advantage of an environment that allowed his actions to go unchecked and capitalized on that advantage. We've all worked for people like that (although not to this extreme, I would hope.)

The account is even-handed; there is plenty of blame to go around and the telling of the story is completely engrossing.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stanley
  • Plainview , NY, USA
  • 06-11-06

Fascinating doings at Enron

Although I followed the debacle at Enron as it was unfolding in the press, I was astounded by the scope of the scandal as detailed in Conspiracy. The narration is crisp, the story troubling and nearly disorienting and the detail fascinating. Most disturbing of all was the palpable absence of integrity at the highest levels of corporate enterprise and those institutions the public relied upon to check greed and mismanagement. This was a great tale, well presented and highly informative. The recently reported jury verdict convicting Lay and Skilling is the icing on the cake.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very enlightening

I really enjoyed this book, but could not help thinking that it could be slanted. It makes Fastow and Copper look extremely guilty and Skilling and Lay as just unknowing involvement. While reading it, Fastow's prison sentence was unexpectedly reduced from 10 to 6 years. Who is to know why. The courts found Skilling and Lay guilty. I would really like to ask the author how he came up with some of his information. It sounds very personal at times.
In spite of all my questions, it was very engrossing. A great listen.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kevin
  • Charlottesville, VA, United States
  • 06-20-11


We have all heard bits and pieces or what we thought was the whole story, but the detail in this book is incredible. This is the best audiobook I have ever listened to. Dean Robertson does a great job in subtly changing inflection for the important character voices and captures mood very well. Excellent!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Well Written

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful