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Pigs at the Trough Hardcover – January 14, 2003

72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Arianna Huffington, popular pundit, columnist, and author, is not known for her polite criticisms or her carefully worded complaints. In the course of Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America, the corporate CEOs, accountants, politicians, and lobbyists at who she takes aim receive little relief from their porcine characterization first intimated in the book's title. And while she is full of invective for Enron's Kenneth Lay, Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski, Dick Cheney, and others, she backs up her outrage with dollar figures, dates, names, and specific information. The voluminous research is made more digestible by Huffington's direct and often amusing writing style (she characterizes a CEO's process of getting a loan approved by a corporate board as being akin to Tony Soprano getting a loan from Paulie Walnuts). Interspersed between chapters are entertainingly informative sidebars, including quizzes on executives' avarice and games where you match the CEO to his yacht. Occasionally, Huffington's anger gets mired in name-calling, which deflates her points. And while she spends ample time and space outlining the particulars of a flawed power structure, she dedicates little time to offering practical solutions toward remedying the problems. But Huffington is not trying to write a political science textbook or a party platform. As a highly readable indictment of corporate and governmental excess, Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America is highly successful. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

Nationally syndicated columnist Huffington's greatest dilemma while writing this scathing indictment of the corporate and political culture that brought the "new economy" '90s crashing down must have been how to choose among the plethora of examples of greed, corruption, hypocrisy and political manipulation. So unsavory are the CEO villains, so unfathomable is their greed and monstrously callous is their disregard for the thousands of employees who lost jobs and savings because of them, that even the most worldly activist and most cynical political observers will be shocked by what they read here. And Huffington's indictment of the corporate culture of greed, one that she believes undermines democracy, goes far beyond the high-flying corporate figures featured in congressional investigations. Among her accusations are that U.S. drug companies allowed the African AIDS epidemic to rage in the interests of corporate profits, and that President Bush is a conspirator in the corporate disregard of the interests of the American public. This is a powerful book, brimming with wit and sulphurous satire that connects the dots among politicians, lobbyists and corporations, and demonstrates their destructive effect on the well-being of average Americans. She may well be on her way to achieving her goal of convincing readers "to join forces to storm the control room of the S.S. America."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (January 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400047714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400047710
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,323,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2013, she was named to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. In 2006, and again in 2011, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on several boards, including EL PAÍS, PRISA, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Her 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder will be published by Crown in March 2014.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Stephan Filimonovich on February 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It is difficult to believe that some of the reviewers here have actually read "Pigs at the Trough." While they offer personal criticisms of the author herself, they say little about the book she's written.

"Pigs at the Trough" does, stylistically, contain some cliche phrases (the counting of cliches having been mentioned by another reviewer, who has obviously taken up the practice as presented by Martin Amis in his excellent book, "The War Against Cliche"). I attribute some of the cliches, however, to the fact that Ms. Huffington's writing is more like journalism than literature, much more about frank criticism that subtle, ironic remarks (of the sort found in papers like "The Guardian," for example).

Ms. Huffington's aim in "Pigs at the Trough" is to present the facts (and they are facts) on corporate crimes, and to introduce the reader to those who commit them.

"Pigs at the Trough" does not, in my opinion, come across as an attack on all businessmen or on wealthy people. This book is not focused on the fact that these businessmen are wealthy so much as the criminal ways in which they've managed to obtain that wealth. Americans need to be more aware the shamelessly illegal ways in which some businessmen, often CEOs, have obtained (I cannot say "earned") their fortunes.

The businessmen mentioned in "Pigs at the Trough" did not accumulate wealth through an honest work ethic, but out of exploitation, fancy accounting, and the circumvention of laws. They go unpunished for it, and Americans let them.

Yes, there are - obviously - business people in America who live very comfortably and have accumulated their wealth honestly and did not commit crimes in the name of money.
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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on March 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This was the book that started me reading more and more about politics, and the political influence that afflicts our country. I highly recommend it, and here's why.

In a hard-hitting, almost cynical style that I did appreciate, the author attacks companies that have raped the public and their employees because of their own greed. She names them like a littany of indictments that followed their wake: Adelphia, Tyco, Arthur Andersen, Enron, World Com, to name a few. Huffington shows how these once respected companies, their greed, and the relaxation of regulations have allowed them to virtually alter standard principles of accounting so they can hide money and cheat the government, taxpayers and employees.

Unlike one reviewer here who found her style sarcastic, I didn't mind. After all, these greedy little folks who walked away with millions after stranding customers and leaving employees pensionless, can take a little sarcasm their way. However, I agree with him the quizzes got in the way of the pace of the book, and seemed a little childish. (I always carry a highlighter for books like this one anyway.)

The most important thing Arianna makes clear is that politicians no longer seem to represent the people who elect them, but the interests of the corporations with the largest contributions. (It's called bribery outside of Congress.) This administration has given their blessing with their silence, and has a huge following of people who still believe their gospel while they are getting their own pockets picked. The repudiation of the pension for United Airlines is a perfect example. What did the administration say? Nothing, not a word!
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just read "Pigs" on a cross country flight. I thought it was an excellent analysis of how the U.S. government no longer functions as a democracy. It works like a radio station payola scheme. Inbred corporate directors steal money from investors and workers by giving each other outrageous amounts of money despite poor performance. Some politicians try to pass laws against these abuses, but these corporate govenors fund election campaigns making it impossible to change the system. Huffington lays out the issues that need to be addressed in order to correct these problems and gives out information on groups working to fix these issues.

I find the attack of this being a communist book to be [silly]. Huffington shows ways to make us back into a democracy where our vote counts and competition is fair. Corporate welfare is a form of communism if you ask me.

In regard to the cliches. Huffington uses the same wit that you could see on the Daily Show, or Politically Incorrect. This isn't a masterpiece, but it is a very accessible and useable guide to how our government currently works.
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87 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Reader/author on January 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms. Huffington is a God-send to a stunned, manipulated and often apathetic nation. Like maverick Senator John McCain she is trying valiantly to warn us to come to our senses before it is too late. I've heard she plans a college tour: PLEASE GO! Perhaps this next generation will do what the latest has so badly failed to do: clean up the corruption in Washington and on Wall Street, so that the rest of us get a fair shake. This woman deserves admiration and support for sharing what she has seen first hand. I admire her.
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