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The Big Lie: Spying, Scandal, and Ethical Collapse at Hewlett Packard Hardcover – May 25, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


San Francisco Chronicle, July 18, 2010
"[A] gripping, well-sourced and illuminating book, "The Big Lie" [is] a gossipy and at times vulgar account of the battle of wills between Dunn and Tom Perkins, one of California's wealthiest venture capitalists. Think Tyra Banks meets "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell in a televised food fight... A splendid account of the very flawed stars of HP's sideshow."

Sacramento Book Review, June 30, 2010
“The book concludes by focusing on how some people will pay a high price to usher in a culture of openness in corporate governance. A captivating book; like reading a drama.”
New York Times, August 14, 2010
“An authoritative account”
Irish Times, August 29, 2010
The Big Lie shines a light on the boardroom machinations that lead to bad decisions being made.”
New York Journal of Books, September 2010
“Bianco’s reporting (and he’s done plenty of it at BusinessWeek) is complete, nasty, with plenty of villains, no heroes, and perhaps one victim… Read this alongside Jeffrey Pfeffer’s recent book, Power, and you will understand much of the dysfunction of Fortune 500 capitalism.”

About the Author

Anthony Bianco wrote for BusinessWeek for twenty-seven years, authoring more than fifty BusinessWeek cover stories. He is the author of four books, most recently Ghosts of 42nd Street: A History of America’s Most Infamous Block, and Wal-Mart: The Bully of Bentonville. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586488031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586488031
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,387,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Charles H. House on June 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hewlett-Packard was THE iconic American company for sixty years for (1) Innovative Products; (2) High-Quality Products; (3) Incredible Loyalty by employees for company leadership; and (4) Unshakeable Ethics and Integrity with customers, vendors, and employees.

HP under two outsider CEOs for the past decade has seemingly erased each of these iconic qualities. Attenuation, even destruction, of the first three is evident if we believe customers, analysts, or employee feedback on blogs and even HP's Voice of the Workforce surveys. This at a time that HP has grown via acquisition to become the largest high-tech firm on the planet, 20% larger by revenue than IBM or Samsung -- larger than Apple, Intel, and Cisco put together.

Carly Fiorina gets the blame in most circles -- photogenic, self-absorbed, aggrandizing -- she 'broke the HP Way' according to many, and vitriol still runs deep in Silicon Valley about her leadership. But the main charge was that she angered employees and damaged profits. Her replacement, Mark Hurd, is seldom seen or heard from, but gets much Wall Street credit now that the company has 'righted' itself (Wall Street may hardly be the best judge, we might say in these times!).

Anthony Bianco offers a stunning, well-researched perspective that adds a dimension not discussed nearly enough -- the desecration of the company's ethical and moral code. With a deft analysis from ex-Board member interviews and HP-filed public documents, Bianco shifts focus to the current CEO, and his role in the spying scandal called pretexting.

In the process, the book does a hard-hitting job of tackling the role,importance, and impact any CEO can have, whether on a company's ethics, innovation, or customer and employee satisfaction.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Booklubber on June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The pretexting scandal exploded in the media and then crawled through kangaroo Congressional hearings and a campaigning California AG's office. Righteous indignation amplified the bias of a press that was captivated by a swashbuckling septuagenarian. It was a comedy of egos with tragic consequences and a reasonable explanation has been a long time coming.

There are two sets of characters. There are two directors (one, a misogynistic, narcissistic egomaniac given to self-aggrandizing drivel who takes pleasure in making enemies by setting up his colleagues,--- and his foolishly loyal friend). And, there are two leaders (one, an idealist, who gives in to her protective instincts submitting to ruthless interrogation, and an ambitious fast rising star who, with calculated reticence, deftly positions his protector between himself and an impending train wreck). How could it have been too difficult to unravel the conflicts from their interests and discern who was telling the truth? Amazingly, it was for a lot of very powerful people including supposedly savvy journalists. Hopefully, with the benefit of Anthony Bianco's dedicated adherence to detail and his loyalty to accuracy, what should have been obvious finally is. Bianco doesn't resort to these cliches but the clarity of his style speaks to the axiom that the simplest explanation is the most likely. You wouldn't expect a book on this subject to be a page turner but The Big Lie was hard to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As corporate scandals go, Hewlett-Packard's 2006 boardroom imbroglio hardly rises to the level of Enron. No one went to jail, and HP shares quickly recovered. Even so, journalist Anthony Bianco manages to spin an entertaining yarn from this tempest in a tech teapot. Bianco gained impressive access to the main players in the HP battle. He unearths a wealth of telling details, and he offers a contrarian analysis of the "Spygate" scandal, though readers might wonder why they should care about a long-forgotten blowup and whether the evidence supports Bianco's strong criticism of then-CEO Mark Hurd (since replaced by Leo Apotheker). getAbstract recommends this book to readers seeking a cautionary tale about issues that remain relevant, from the dangers of toxic corporate climates to invasion of privacy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KAS on May 14, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've worked for HP for over 20 years, and have read much of what's been written about the company's ups and downs. I missed this book when it came out (I think because that was around the time of Mark Hurd's ignominious departure). This is quite the tale of behind the scenes intrigue and posturing, egos and spin. I'm glad this book rehabilitates Patty Dunn's reputation. She definitely deserved better treatment than what she received from her fellow board members, and a CEO who wasted no time throwing her under the bus to protect himself. A lack of ethics appears to be his trademark, though. A good read for anyone familiar with the history of HP or simply interested in corporate intrigue and debacles.
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By Envoy on September 18, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book did a very good job in explaining what went on behind closed doors and the larger than life egos that comprised the board of directors. If you're into corporate gossiping and backstabbing, you'll enjoy this book.
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