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conspiracy of fools

I am reading another book I found on the sale table at Borders: Conspiracy of Fools by Kurt Eichenwald. It's the story of Enron. It's a huge book, over 700 pages plus a large index. Yet it is as readable as a fiction thriller.  I say "fiction thriller" because in a way this is a "nonfiction thriller".

I admit that  I was a little disappointed at the start to discover that Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling are....human. I wanted them to be monsters. In a way they surely are, but not in the psychopathic way that explains blatant disregard for others so well. Some of the reviewers of this book say that it explains how so many companies got caught up in the breathless 90s. And it does. It explains the accounting practices used and why, and the unwillingness of the top executives to look at what was really going on. It reveals the creativity and brilliance that invented many of the techniques that made Enron rich and later made it fall - men and women of extraordinary ability. I can practically smell the high that floated this team.

I am barely into this huge book but I can see where it's going. What keeps me reading is that it really is written like a novel. We get to know the characters almost as well as we would if Eichenwald had invented them, because of the extensive research and the incredible numbers of interviews he undertook. This book is a big wow.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 3rd, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: That's the thing, isn't it?
I have never been one to see people in just two dimensions, as does our current president and unfortunately a lot of others.

I saw Death and the Maiden. Yes, it is an amazing film, and deeply disturbing.

It is true, nevertheless, that those without conscience defy all efforts at humanizing. Without a sense of obligation to the world a person can really be as close to "evil" as possible. That's why I wondered if the top execs at Enron might be psychopaths, because they so blatantly blew off everyone else.

This is not what the Enron officials were. Yet in a way that makes it all the more distressing that they would put their own ambition and greed so far ahead of anyone else in the world. They aren't dumb people, but they do seem to have lacked a lot.

This book does an admirable job of filling in the blanks and spelling it all out - psychologically and financially. What does come across is that the company essentially bred this behavior and rewarded it. That may explain why there were so many people overlooking obvious discrepancies for so long.
Jun. 3rd, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I could handle a 700 page book about Enron. LOL!

Wouldn't you rather be...

...playing SIMS!?

Jun. 3rd, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
PS...don't forget to leave me eBay feedback, please. =)
Jun. 3rd, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah! Thanks for reminding me!
Jun. 4th, 2006 02:22 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Jun. 3rd, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
It's pretty amazing even for a reader like me to want to read such a huge book more than play the sims. I let it sit around the house for several weeks, actually, before I opened it up. I figured it was going to be quite a trudge. But no! It's riveting! It really is!

However, there's nothing saying I can't do both. So I do. I play the sims, I read, I play, I read, I eat...it is really a tough life sometimes.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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