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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

What went wrong with American business at the end of the 20th century?

Until the spring of 2001, Enron epitomised the triumph of the New Economy. Feared by rivals, worshipped by investors, Enron seemingly could do no wrong. Its profits rose every year; its stock price surged ever upward; its leaders were hailed as visionaries. 

Then a young Fortune writer, Bethany McLean, wrote an article posing a simple question - how, exactly, does Enron make its money? 

Within a year Enron was facing humiliation and bankruptcy, the largest in US history, which caused Americans to lose faith in a system that rewarded top insiders with millions of dollars, while small investors lost everything. It was revealed that Enron was a company whose business was an illusion, an illusion that Wall Street was willing to accept even though they knew what the real truth was. This book tells the extraordinary story of Enron's fall.

©2020 Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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If you wanted a deep understanding, avoid

For many years, I’ve been intrigued by the collapse of large companies and Enron was definitely at the top of my interests. However, this book certainly did not help with my intrigue.

The book was more of a chronological commentary of what happened, but didn’t necessarily explain why or how. It doesn’t delve into understanding why Mark to Market Accounting was the issue, the relevance of the funds Fastow had created and it felt more like a Jeff Skilling biography than anything else.

It’s a let down in that respect, I found plenty of resources online that helped explain why and how, this book didn’t.

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A testament to greed

A fascinating expose of the biggest bankruptcy in US history. The accounting frauds are well explained, and were inevitably discovered. A great book , which was well read.

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Great Listen!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book - quite long at 20 hrs but very engrossing. Crazy some of the things these guys got up to but very interesting all the same! Well worth a look.

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Thrilling, Chilling, Tragic

Hard work, brains, degrees, experience, confidence, technical jargon — a gripping reminder of the damage that can be done when such things combine with a toxic culture. This detailed investigation is a public service.