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Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron Paperback – January 6, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bryce's book, with introduction by Molly Ivins, is as eminently readable and well organized as Enron was not. It starts and ends with sympathetic folk - those drug down in the Enron muck. Along the way, the reader meets the Politicos, the Pie (or is that Energy?) In The Sky Wheeler-Dealer Traders, "the Divine Miss Mark," Fast Andy Fastow, Snakey Skilling, and Kenny-Boy (President G.W.'s endearing nickname for his Buddy) Lay. Fans (if any) of Senator Phil and wife Wendy Gramm will not be amused by this foray through the Swamp that was Enron. This is an essential Enron primer, complete with footnotes, Index, and explanations of "Mark to Market" accounting that even us "Liberal Arts" majors can understand.
I urge you to BUY this book. Borrowing the library's copy is not recommended, as one should not write the outraged tirades that this book is sure to produce in the margins of Other People's Books.
This is a thorough, well documented study of the Enron scandal, from the corporation's early origins. While extensive, and depressing, Bryce alleviates it with sardonic depictions of the unvarnished vulgarity of the senior management feeding at the Enron trough.
Bryce is fair in that he gives the Clinton Administration its due for facilitating the depradations of Enron; however, while resisting the effort to go for the jugular, he makes it clear that the greatest beneficiaries of Enron's largesse were Republicans, particularly the two Bush administrations. He reserves most of his vitriol for Senator Phil Gramm and his wife, who were undeterred at any time by ethical concerns about their undisguised conflicts of interest in judgements on regulations benefitting the corporation that was filling their pockets.
Bryce provides a number of tutorials on accounting and trade and commodity practices that help the "lay" person understand how the transgressions were allowed to occur and mushroom. Reading "Pipe Dreams" you wonder first why the many members of the Enron management aren't in prison, much less the obscenity of their being able to loot the company and retain their obscene fortunes. It is incredibly disillusioning, and you are left with an increased sense of impotence, yet your outrage is alleviated by Bryce's biting sarcastic wit.
That being said I think the common thread throughout all the books is that Enron remains an enigma. Everyone defines Enron differently depending on their perspective and that is affected by the information they have in hand. For some this is an indictment on greed in America. For others this is a monumental failure of governmental oversight and regulation. I believe in neither. In a recent conversation with another former Enron employee, he asked me to allocate 10 points towards the contributing factors of Enron's demise. I don't even recall how I allocated the points and would probably give a completely different answer today. His answer differed significantly from mine as he assigned the majority of the blame to accounting systems and Arthur Anderson. That is endemic of the ever-shifting nature of the situation, and to be honest, events still remain to unfold. Fastow has been indicted, but what is happening with Lay, Skilling, and the other senior managers and board members? If story ends here, the only lesson that will be learned from Enron is that it's probably worth the risk to create an unsustainable, poorly-capitalized business model (and discounting the possibility of fraud to cover up that fact) if you can walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars in stocks and options.Read more ›
After a brief three-chapter history of Enron, the author develops his thesis that "Enron failed because its leadership was morally, ethically and financially corrupt," showing how deal-focused management took one of the most profitable companies in Houston into bankruptcy. The author, Robert Bryce, a Texas investigative journalist, interviewed over 200 individuals, and researched countless documents, including nineteen SEC filings for this book.
The text discusses the major players in the context of their work, their abilities, Houston society and their work-place relationships. Many former Enron people blamed Ken Lay stating ".... he flat couldn't judge people and said he became blinded to other people's faults. One Executive said Lay 'never understood that the pipelines that are paid for and power and processing plants that are mostly paid for, were the way to make money."
The harshest accounts concern Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow. Skilling, who became president in 1997, was called by one executive" the smartest son of a bitch I've ever met." However, "Skilling was not a manager, he was a deal maker. Exotic financing schemes and the deals that came with them excited Skilling.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fine non-technical telling of the story. A person unfamiliar with the deals and other technical aspects of the situation can get some introduction. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Phil O.
Robert Bryce has written other books such as Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy... Read morePublished on June 21, 2012 by Steven H Propp
A enjoyable book, well-written, with two great points to make. In the first chapter the author talks about how at the end, upper management was not capable of telling the truth to... Read morePublished on March 26, 2010 by Karen A. Lebens
I've used this book at the undergraduate and graduate level to stimulate class discussion about ethics and organizational culture. Student reaction has been excellent.Published on January 12, 2008 by Dr. Joan E. Aitken
The fact that an alleged business book has a forward by Molly Ivans lets you know that this book will be more political and slanted than others. Read morePublished on June 23, 2005 by Amazon Customer
This is a highly readable account of some of the highlights of the Enron collapse. The author provides a very easy-to-understand account of the financial manipulation of the... Read morePublished on June 13, 2005 by David_Allen
Just finished reading this and was disappointed to the point of deciding to write a non-positive review. Read morePublished on July 22, 2004 by G. Cattarin
Out of many books available on the Enron travesty, this one probably offers the most bang for the buck with its fast-moving and incredibly informative structure. Read morePublished on July 16, 2004 by doomsdayer520