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Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower (2012) Hardcover – November 27, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: 2012
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591845750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591845751
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A gripping chronicle by a corporate whistle-blower who achieved a stunning victory.”
Kirkus Reviews

Exposure treats readers to a fascinating inside look at bare-knuckled corporate governance…[it] should be compulsory reading for company directors and MBA students.”
The Economist
 
“Woodford has written a brilliantly gripping book, with a great hero at its heart. His story is all the more frightening for being true.”
—Rosamund Urwin, The Evening Standard (UK)
 
“Michael Woodford took a considerable risk in exposing wrongdoing. He was a study of boldness in action.”
—Lionel Barber, editor, Financial Times
 
“Woodford’s reaction to the corporate malfeasance and corruption he discov­ered once he reached the top is even more noteworthy, though perhaps not surprising. Throughout his life he had demonstrated a willingness to speak out against what he perceived as treachery, even when it could result in financial harm or personal danger.”
Bloomberg BusinessWeek
 
“Michael Woodford could have spent years turning a blind eye to the shady dealings of corporate executives at Olympus. Instead . . . he dove headfirst into allegations of corporate misconduct.”
Time, in naming him a 2011 Person Who Mattered
 
“Michael Woodford is a man who did not stand by and do nothing. He stood his ground and he spoke the truth. It’s people like him who keep our soci­ety from falling into total darkness. Japan could use more people like him.”
—Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice, from the Afterword
 
“He’s the most celebrated international whistleblower of recent times. His story is filled with mystery, suspense, and betrayal.”
Management Today
 
 “Michael Woodford lost his job for his integrity.”
The Economist

About the Author

Michael Woodford grew up in Liverpool and joined Olympus in 1981 as a medical equipment salesman. He later became head of its UK, Mid­dle East and Africa and European businesses. In April 2011 he was appointed president and COO of the Olympus Corporation—the first Western “salaryman” to rise through the ranks to the top of a Japanese giant. That October he was made CEO, but only two weeks later was dismissed after querying inexplicable payments of $1.7 billion. He was named Business Person of the Year by four major newspapers and won the Financial Times/Arcelor-Mittal Boldness in Business Person of the Year award. He lives in London with his wife and two teenage children.

Customer Reviews

Easy read and a story told without prejudice.
Martin
It's laughable too in that the bad guys are always ugly - wearing bad shirts and ties whilst the good guys are cool - slick and good looking.
Rocke Harder
Michael Woodford does a superb job in describing his saga at Olympus in Japan.
Pseudonymus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gaucho36 on January 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Having lived and worked in Japan for 5 years just prior to the onset of the Olympus scandal, I was not at all surprised to see things unfold at Olympus. This can happen - and HAS happened - at any number of Japanese companies due to their culture of hierarchical deference, extreme pressure to conform and little regard for return on investment - coupled with shareholders and a media corps who do absolutely nothing to rock the boat. Increasingly, the fingerprints of Japan's well organized crime families (yakuza) have added to the excitement. Woodford does an excellent job of capturing what it is like to be "inside the machine" - and also captures well how if you are a "gaijin" (foreigner), no matter how inside the machine you are (company President!) you are never really inside the machine. If you are looking for a fast paced eye opener on business in Japan - this is not a bad place to start.

Why 3 stars? I detected repeated whiffs of egomania. The author recounts in numbing detail his many interactions with the press. Clearly, he needed to use the media to get the story out and on one dimension it is part of his courage to be so public about the issues. That said, one can't help but sense his relishing being the center of attention. Towards the end of the book, he is careful to note all of the awards he won as "Businessman of the year" and includes a couple of emails that make sure you know he is a truly great guy. Just in case you didn't get the point, there a couple of essays written in the epilogue to let you know that not only does the author think he is a great guy, but he has witnesses! To me, it detracted from the power of the underlying story - maybe others will not feel the same way
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sam Whiteman on December 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought the Karl Taro Greenfield story in Businessweek was great last year so I was familiar with the story. This account from Michael Woodford is a page turner as a blow by blow account of the scandal. I read the kindle version in pretty quick time so that's a good guide, it is captivating.

If you're looking for the next Barbarians at the Gate or Too Big To Fail then you'll be disappointed, as it could have really done with a writers input, but the raw account is compelling enough that I'd recommend it.

It would have been great to see some more backstory on the authors successes at Olympus in the past few years also.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John on December 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started this book on a Friday evening, and had finished it by the following Saturday evening. I'm not the kind of person who reads books in 24 hours, but this one had the unique ability to keep me wrapped up on it with no intentions of taking a break.

It's not a happy book, but you cheer for the protaganist, Mr. Woodford, as he lays his claims and recounts events with enough precision to be convincing, even if not enough to satisfy all one's curiosity; I felt like the book could have been longer and more flushed out (especially links to organized crime, which would have made the book even more juicy). However I understand much had to be withheld for legal and security reasons. But by reading between the lines, it is likely that what actually happened is much worse than what the currently available information portrays. For example, the Japanese police, only nominally competent, had to tell Mr. Woodford to not even go on his balcony! This is big. I liked that Woodford continually reminds of the impact on his family and his health. For the CEO of a major world company who by his own admission boasted a 7-figure salary, Woodford comes off as simply human, with both pluses and minuses.

Even though Woodford tries to make clear that he is not against Japan or Japanese people, and that many Japanese people supported him through his ordeal, nonetheless this book does not leave one with a positive impression of the way things work in Japan. For those of us who live in Japan, it may serve as a solemn warning to be careful in our dealings; Things here work fundamentally different than we're used to, and our key assumptions may be wrong.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John on March 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a timely book, since the whole world is suffering in the Global Financial Crisis which was caused by the sort of human behavior discussed in "Exposure."

Michael Woodford, in his easy, informative, and entertaining style, will enlighten readers to the sad truth that the world is full of "yes men" who hold positions and receive salaries but don't actually perform their duties.

Most importantly, Mr. Woodford shows that one man armed with the truth can defeat an army of these "yes men."

I hope Mr. Woodford will enjoy many future benefits from his decision to expose fraud rather than participate in cover-up.

The hardback edition is handsome and will have a permanent place in my library.

John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Martin on January 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Easy read and a story told without prejudice. Michael Woodford also tries hard to leave you with hope even though much about his experience shows how foolish you are if you expect Japan to easily see economic turn around. It would make an interesting discussion to get those in business in Japan to suggest how Woodford might have done things better, ...but my guess is people would struggle to give an answer. He can never go back to Olympus, but personally I think the new government should invite him back to head up those in charge of running nuclear power generation in Japan.
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