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


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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: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,293 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.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Although the book will never be considered a classic, I did enjoy reading it and I do recommend it!
Steve
The book is very easy to read. but the content is quite deep and useful. additionally, the kindle version is well produced as well.
Bin Ma
For example, the Japanese police, only nominally competent, had to tell Mr. Woodford to not even go on his balcony!
John

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rocke Harder on March 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Let me quote some nonsense:

"Michael Woodford is not just a whistle blower - he's a truth teller and a hero" (Afterwords - written by Jake Adlestein)

and

(page 228) "One shareholder linked me to Bushido, the 'Way of the Warrior Knight"

And that folks is what this book became - a glorification of Michael Woodford as a modern day hero and the prophet and saviour of Japan's economic model.

The book started great: a genuinely inspirational account of a CEO spotting a fraud problem and assiduously following it through. The first four chapters were breathtaking as Mr Woodford unravels the problems and takes on the evil doers. But it then faltered and ran out of steam and thereafter it became a study in repetition and self glorification. And the book fast and firmly became a study in the heroics of Michael Woodford.

There was also a lot of what I would call American style dumbing down with many references to hugs - admiration for fellow man - paragraphs of praise to the folks who helped him and scrumptious meals eaten. For example:

On page 142 he describes the meal he and his wife had with close friends who are "calm, supportive - perfect tonic - cerebral - warm - best cook I know......" and a description of the dinner; " duck confit with braised leeks and potatoes...

Oh My Goodness - What a lot of junk - and the book is jam packed with such anodyne rubbish.

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. Does Michael Woodford not realise how ridiculous he is sounding with such biased reporting?
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Saporoschenko on March 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A puff piece catering to the author, former president, and very briefly, chairman of Olympus. He should be commended for his actions in exposing the accounting fraud at Olympus, but the entire book could have been condensed to a 7-10 page magazine article. Very lacking in numbers and hard details for a book that focuses on exposing accounting fraud. I don't really want to know about the author's hard childhood, all his wonderful friends, and his working on road safety (such a humanitarian). The puffing-up of a possible Yakuza connection throughout the book turns out to be hot air.
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2 of 3 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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