From an award-winning New York Times reporter comes the full, mind-boggling true story of the lies, crimes, and ineptitude behind the Enron scandal that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever.
It was the corporate collapse that appeared to come out of nowhere. In late 2001, the Enron Corporation—a darling of the financial world, a company whose executives were friends of presidents and the powerful—imploded virtually overnight, leaving vast wreckage in its wake and sparking a criminal investigation that would last for years.
Kurt Eichenwald transforms the unbelievable story of the Enron scandal into a rip-roaring narrative of epic proportions, taking readers behind every closed door—from the Oval Office to the executive suites, from the highest reaches of the Justice Department to the homes and bedrooms of the top officers. It is a tale of global reach—from Houston to Washington, from Bombay to London, from Munich to Sao Paolo—laying out the unbelievable scenes that twisted together to create this shocking true story.
Eichenwald reveals never-disclosed details of a story that features a cast including 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 Sumner Redstone. With its you-are-there glimpse into the secretive worlds of corporate power, Conspiracy of Fools is an all-true financial and political thriller of cinematic proportions.
This enormous, intimate blow-by-blow of Enron's implosion gets as close to what actually happened, in terms of people making (bad) decisions in real time, as anyone who wasn't there with a concealed video-phone possibly could. Having combed endless documents and interviewed countless principals and peripherals, Eichenwald (The Informant) presents short declarative sentences (and lots of sentence fragments) that may have run through the heads of men like top executives Skilling, Lay and Fastow as they managed to cook a very large set of books, as well as men like Stuart Zisman, a lawyer in the firm's wholesale division who wrote an early memo titled "Overall Book Manipulation" that stated "the majority of investments being introduced to Raptor are bad ones." Eichenwald's bald depictions ("Skilling sank deeper into depression"; "It couldn't be true, Bauer thought") make for real tension. Collegial meetings at the White House with Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and others; charged conference calls with skeptical investors; endless buy-ins, buyouts and acronyms all are presented in a rat-a-tat style thick with corporate anxiety, keeping pages turning even as the details themselves are numbing. (Luckily, Eichenwald includes a "Cast of Characters" and "List of Deals" so that readers can remind themselves of past carnage.) As an unadorned attempt to get into the heads of some major manipulators, this book can hardly be bettered. (On sale Mar. 8)
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Very in depth text, described in detail Andy Fastow's complex accounting deals. Shows the real personalities of the executives involved in this unique piece of history.
This beautifully researched book will astound you. Even if you can't remember the Enron debacle, you should read it. What amazed me was the carelessness of these highly paid executives, and their greed.