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Healthsouth: The Wagon to Disaster Hardcover – November 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wagon Publishing Fairhope Alabama; First edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979628482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979628481
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Aaron Beam has produced an accessible and fascinating story about his experience as co-founder and the first CFO of HealthSouth. Those interested in corporate fraud or business ethics can learn from the lessons he conveys. This book truly has the potential to save others from similar mistakes for which Mr. Beam has paid dearly. --Dr. Linda Trevino, Penn State University

Of all the CEO's accused of misdeeds in recent years--at Enron, Worldcom and elsewhere--by far the most interesting is former HealthSouth CEO Richard Marin Scrushy. A charismatic leader, Scrushy could get employees to follow him either through charm or encouragement, or outright intimidation. In this book Chief Financial Officer Aaron Beam paints a vivid portrait of Scushy in the years before HealthSouth started cooking its books to meet Wall Street expectations. For those who have followed Scrushy's amazing career--from humble beginnings in Selma, Alabama to the creation of a Fortune 500 company, to accusations of fraud and his eventual acquittal of charges that he orchestrated the fraud at HealthSouth, Beam's first-hand account of life with Richard Scrushy is indispensable. - --Greg Farrell, Wall Street Correspondent, The Financial Times

This is the perfect book for the business student. People assume that they could never be entangled in these kinds of financial debacles, but this book personalizes the story and shows how each business person needs to have an impeccable personal moral compass. Careers and livelihoods ride principally on your reputation for integrity. - --Dr. Peter Ricchiuti, Professor, Tulane University

About the Author

Aaron Beam is the former founder and first CFO of HealthSouth Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama. The company was founded in 1984 by he and Richard Marin Scrushy and it became a Fortune 500 Company. Today Beam speaks to corporations about the perils of fraud and how they can manage this inherent risk trough education and training about its nature. Beam lives in Loxley, Alabama with his wife of 39 years, Phyllis.

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Customer Reviews

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Aaron Beam's conversational style is easy to read and his explanation of what happened is very easy to understand.
John Whitten
It gives an insight to the personality of the HealthSouth CEO and provides an insider's view of events that led to one of America's largest corporate scandals.
H. Barca
It gets you inside the inner circle where you see just how they made HealthSouth happen, the good, the bad and the ugly... and plenty of it is pretty ugly.
David Richards

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steven Rudd on January 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For anyone familiar with the rise-and-debacle epic of Alabama-based HealthSouth corporation, this is a compelling, eye-opening account of what went on beyond the press releases and news flashes. It comes not just from the inside but straight from the top, and it tells the tale right from the outset. To anyone who has no idea before opening this book as to just what HealthSouth was and is and who Richard Scrushy and Aaron Beam might be, it's still a great read.
Think of a John Grisham novel with all its drama of corporate greed and chicanery behind closed doors in an industry that already had good reason to be paranoid. Combine it with a Michael Moore documentary (but without Moore's bent to score political points) with its clear-eyed tracking in gritty detail of the grand-scale mismanagement that caused the downfall of a billion-dollar enterprise and led to a tragedy for millions of stakeholders. Then you have some idea of the impact of this concise, well-crafted summing up.
I highly recommend "HealthSouth: The Wagon to Disaster" to all readers who appreciate a true story well-told and who have a taste for the vanity of human affairs. A solid four stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Ferlise on February 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Growing up in Birmingham I saw first hand the rise of Healthsouth. Mr. Beam's book goes behind the scenes to reveal the "true" Richard Scrushy. He unveils the hold money and power have on society today. Mr. Beam goes on to explain his role in the corruption that ran rampant through Healhsouth. This books gives an interesting look at how companies can appear to have it all, when in reality nothing can be further from the truth. In an era of coporate fraud, The Wagon to Diaster gives the reader a great "inside" look at how it all begins.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Whitten on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very well written case study of what can happen when you are party to financial statement fraud. Of particular interest are the pressures that were brought to bear on Mr. Beam and the CFO's who came after him to overstate revenues and profits. Of course, Mr. Beam found out that merely leaving his job didn't excuse him as the long arm of the Federal Law caught up with him long after he thought he was in the clear. Of course a large part of the problem was the CEO with a bad case of NPD.(look it up in Wikepedia) This is not an uncommon problem with individuals with inflated egos who think that the world revolves around them and they they can do no wrong. Many use their wealth and influence to get away with it like the CEO in the example provided in this book. The other thing to note is the practical example of what can happen when the SEC, and the DOJ have you in their cross hairs and are willing to commit resources in going after you if you have committed a fraud. This book should be required reading for anyone who is or aspires to be an accountant, a financial professional, a CEO or member of the board of a public company. Aaron Beam's conversational style is easy to read and his explanation of what happened is very easy to understand. You get to know Mr. Beam personally as he recounts his time in prison and his new landscaping career as he successfully reconstructs his life. Unfortunately, I get the impression that these types of legal episodes tend to have a life of their own and the story is never truly over during our collective lifetimes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Barca on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book, written by one of the founders of HealthSouth and its first CFO, is an easy and entertaining one-night read. It gives an insight to the personality of the HealthSouth CEO and provides an insider's view of events that led to one of America's largest corporate scandals. It details how actions of a single greedy man with a powerful personality managed to start a company and oversee its enormous growth while simultaneously acting to cause its near destruction.

It shows the pressure that management can exert on employees and how good, honest people can succumb to that pressure and do the wrong thing. Their initial small misguided actions started the involved executives on a "slippery slope" where subsequent actions became increasingly egregious; culminating in an accounting scandal that nearly destroyed what should have been a thriving company. It also identifies the enormous personal costs paid by the author and the others involved. Their actions ruined their reputations and careers, destroyed their wealth and put them in jail.

This book clearly shows the necessity of doing the right thing. It is an outstanding read for anyone in a position where others will rely on the integrity of your work as well as an "eye opener" for those about to enter the workforce for the first time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DC on February 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have always told my family that "Life is about choices".

I just finished Wagon to Disaster and absolutely loved it. It is an easy read and really drives home what can happen if you chose the wrong road in life.

It is a powerful story because it is told mainly by Aaron Beam who was there right from the start. He allowed a more powerful personality in Richard Scrushy to overcome his (Mr. Beam's) better judgement and then he ended up paying the price for it.

They had it all, money, wealth and fame but are left with virtually nothing --all for chosing the wrong road.

I would thoroughly recommend this book and have asked that it be available on the Kindle as well.
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