Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron

By Peter Elkind, Bethany Mc Lean

There were dozens of books about Watergate, but only All the President's Men gave readers the full story, with all the drama and nuance and exclusive reporting. And thirty years later, if you're going to read only one book on Watergate, that's still the one. Today, Enron is the biggest business story of our time, and Fortune senior writers Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind are the new Woodward and Bernstein.

Remarkably, it was just two years ago that Enron was thought to epitomize a great New Economy company, with its skyrocketing profits and share price. But that was before Fortune published an article by McLean that asked a seemingly innocent question: How exactly does Enron make money? From that point on, Enron's house of cards began to crumble. Now, McLean and Elkind have investigated much deeper, to offer the definitive book about the Enron scandal and the fascinating people behind it.

Meticulously researched and character driven, Smartest Guys in the Room takes the reader deep into Enron's past--and behind the closed doors of private meetings. Drawing on a wide range of unique sources, the book follows Enron's rise from obscurity to the top of the business world to its disastrous demise. It reveals as never before major characters such as Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow, as well as lesser known players like Cliff Baxter and Rebecca Mark. Smartest Guys in the Room is a story of greed, arrogance, and deceit--a microcosm of all that is wrong with American business today. Above all, it's a fascinating human drama that will prove to be the authoritative account of the Enron scandal.


NEWS & OPINION: Joe Nocera Interview

Posted September 22, 2011, 2:16 PM with category of Current Events & Public Affairs
The following post and Q&A was written and submitted by Tom Ehrenfeld. Joe Nocera is one of the best business journalists working today. He combines a deep knowledge of business with a healthy dose of skepticism, not to mention a good journalist’s passion for poking the powerful in the eye when they need it. Read more

JACK COVERT SELECTS: Jack Covert Selects – All the Devils are Here

Posted December 10, 2010, 10:23 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean & Joe Nocera, Portfolio, 380 pages, $32. 95, Hardcover, November 2010, ISBN 9781591843634 I know you might be thinking, “Another book on the financial crisis… really? ” But this is the one that many have been waiting for, and after reading it for myself, I can safely say that Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera have delivered the most comprehensive documentation to-date of the many pieces that built the puzzle of our financial system over the decades. Read more

JACK COVERT SELECTS: Jack Covert Selects - The Match King

Posted October 26, 2009, 3:00 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, the Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals by Frank Partnoy, PublicAffairs, 272 Pages, $26. 95, Hardcover, April 2009, ISBN 9781586487430 When reading The Smartest Guys in the Room, the outstanding book by Bethany McLean that looks into the Enron debacle, you will learn about an accounting term called “mark to market. ” Not being an accountant, my simplified understanding of the concept is that when you purchase a product for $100 and you believe you can sell the product for $200 in five years, you put the sale price on your books at the expected selling price instead of the actual purchase price. Read more

NEWS & OPINION: Just Jack! at The Business Beat

Posted September 30, 2009, 1:37 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
Our company founder, Jack Covert, talked with Penguin's The Business Beat about the book The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. Jack had questioned whether or not to include the book in his 100 Best Business Books of All Time, co-authored with Todd Sattersten. However, after spending more time with the book, he realized how well the book was written, portraying the importance of vision and looking at the big picture. Read more

NEWS & OPINION: inBubbleWrap - The Smartest Guys in the Room

Posted February 9, 2009, 8:05 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
It being Monday as it is, we're back at inBubbleWrap, giving away another one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. This week, we have The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron. As Jack will tell you, it's the best narrative of the Enron saga that exists on bookshelves, and the edition that we're giving away is updated to include the Enron trial and the death of Ken Lay. Read more


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ISBN: 9781591840534

About the Paperback

Publisher Portfolio
Publish date 09/01/2004
Pages 480
ISBN-13 9781591840534
Language English

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