Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal

By Eugene Soltes
From the financial fraudsters of Enron, to the embezzlers at Tyco, to the insider traders at McKinsey, to the Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, the failings of corporate titans are regular fixtures in the news. But what drives wealthy and powerful people to white-collar crime? Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes draws from extensive personal interaction and correspondence with nearly fifty former executives as well as the latest research in psychology, criminology, and economics to investigate how once-celebrated executives become white-collar criminals. The product of seven years in the company of the men behind the largest corporate crimes in history, Why They Do It is a breakthrough look at the dark side of the business world.

Soltes reveals how the usual explanations fail to tell the whole story of why many seemingly successful people go over the line. White-collar criminals are not merely driven by excessive greed or hubris, nor do they usually carefully calculate costs and benefits before breaking the law. Instead, Soltes shows that most of the executives who committed crimes made decisions the way we all do--on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. The trouble is that these gut feelings are often poorly suited for the modern business world where leaders are increasingly distanced from the consequences of their decisions and the individuals they impact.

The extraordinary costs of corporate misconduct are clear to its victims. Yet, never before have we been able to peer so deeply into the minds of the many prominent perpetrators of white-collar crime. With the increasing globalization of business threatening us with even more devastating corporate misconduct, the lessons Soltes draws in Why They Do It are needed more urgently than ever.



    REVIEW QUOTES
"This is a must-read... I was fascinated by Soltes' book. He interviewed four dozen prisoners - including Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford (Ponzi schemes), Scott London and Sam Waksal (insider trading).... I think the contrast that Soltes paints about empathy is powerful." --Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune

"A groundbreaking book... Engaging, precisely researched, and well argued, this is a spectacular achievement in business ethics, corporate culture, and true crime. Highly recommended for all audiences." --Library Journal, starred review

"Groundbreaking...[an] impressive debut...a forcefully developed and documented contribution to our further understanding of high-level criminality in lightly regulated free markets." --Kirkus Reviews

"By showing us how well-educated and well-meaning businessmen come to commit terrible crimes, Eugene Soltes has done a great service to the business community and society. This landmark study of business gone wrong should be required reading for all people in business, MBA students, business school faculty and staff, and regulators and policymakers." --Andrew Lo, MIT Sloan School of Management

Groundbreaking...[an] impressive debut...a forcefully developed and documented contribution to our further understanding of high-level criminality in lightly regulated free markets. Kirkus Reviews "By showing us how well-educated and well-meaning businessmen come to commit terrible crimes, Eugene Soltes has done a great service to the business community and society. This landmark study of business gone wrong should be required reading for all people in business, MBA students, business school faculty and staff, and regulators and policymakers." Andrew Lo, MIT Sloan School of Management "This book is a deep and important analysis of one of the most important and least studied problems of our times: corporate crime. But it is also a page turner." Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and author of A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity "When you read of yet another corporate titan who has it allmoney, fame, powerbut who blows it all by straying across the line separating aggressive risk taking from crime, you're driven to ask, what possessed them? Soltes' book provides a rare, intimate, and fascinating glimpse into the series of decisions, each one mundane enough, that lead by steps to high crime. Leaves you wondering, could it happen to you?"John Coates, former trader and author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: How Risk Taking Transforms Us, Body, and Mind "For those who wonder why the Madoffs, Kozlowskis, and other scamsters embark on careers of fraud, this fascinating book reads like a fast-paced novel that details the motivations and consequences of white-collar crime."Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (1993-2001) "
"By showing us how well-educated and well-meaning businessmen come to commit terrible crimes, Eugene Soltes has done a great service to the business community and society. This landmark study of business gone wrong should be required reading for all people in business, MBA students, business school faculty and staff, and regulators and policymakers." Andrew Lo, MIT Sloan School of Management "This book is a deep and important analysis of one of the most important and least studied problems of our times: corporate crime. But it is also a page turner." Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and author of "A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity" "When you read of yet another corporate titan who has it allmoney, fame, powerbut who blows it all by straying across the line separating aggressive risk taking from crime, you're driven to ask, what possessed them? Soltes' book provides a rare, intimate, and fascinating glimpse into the series of decisions, each one mundane enough, that lead by steps to high crime. Leaves you wondering, could it happen to you?"John Coates, former trader and author of "The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: How Risk Taking Transforms Us, Body, and Mind" "For those who wonder why the Madoffs, Kozlowskis, and other scamsters embark on careers of fraud, this fascinating book reads like a fast-paced novel that details the motivations and consequences of white-collar crime."Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (1993-2001) "



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About the Hardcover

Publisher PublicAffairs
Publish date 10/11/2016
Pages 464
ISBN-13 9781610395366
ISBN-10 1610395360
Language English

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