Friday, October 12, 2007
Conspiracy of Fools
**** Conspiracy of Fools by Kurt Eichenwald. Nonfiction.
I got this from Zooba, which I use primarily for nonfiction and cookbooks, two kinds of books that I like, but would never buy if I had to pay regular hardcover prices for.
Conspiracy of Fools is the story of Enron, from beginning to collapse, researched and presented in excruciating detail. It's a horror story of greed, incompetence, arrogance, and willful ignorance. And it's a cautionary tale depicting the importance of accounting. (dusting off my accounting degree here) It's also thought-provoking, particularly with regard to the contradictory nature of American business--what's good for the actual business isn't necessarily what's good for the stockholders, and vice versa.
The first quarter or so of the book, I spent a lot of time flipping back to the the cast of characters in the front of the book, and being frustrated by the way it jumped between characters and POVs. After I became familiar with the major players, it read much more smoothly.
The other thing that drove me nuts for quite a while was that so many scenes were described with precise dates, sometimes even down to the minute. I kept expecting those times to be significant in some way, but they never were. I eventually realized that it was supposed to be proof of how accurate the research was, but I just found it distracting.
There's more detail than I expected, but in this kind of book, I appreciated that--it felt like I got a clearer picture of not only what happened, but why, and how it was allowed to happen.
Other than that, it was fascinating, and horrifying. Reading it was like watching a series of train wrecks, or a horror movie where you're screaming at the bimbo not to go up the stairs, but she does anyway. I'm glad I read it.
Categories: Books, 4stars, Nonfiction
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