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24 Days: How Two Wall Street Journal Reporters Uncovered the Lies that Destroyed Faith in Corporate America Kindle Edition
|Length: 444 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
There are three story lines that flow like counterpoint. I found them riveting, but I enjoy reading about business. (You probably do as well, or why are you reading about this book?)
First, we follow Rebecca Smith and John Emshwiller as they track down leads in developing news stories about the sudden resignation of Enron's young CEO, Jeff Skilling. This seemingly minor story develops into the amazing and unexpected collapse of Enron as its corrupt financial dealings and improper accounting practices are exposed. We also follow the race between the authors as reporters for the Wall Street Journal racing against the New York Times, the LA Times, and the national TV news programs to get the story out first.
Second, we get the story of Enron and how Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and especially Andy Fastow worked hard to keep the true state of the company hidden from investors and regulators. We see how they drew others into their plans and punished those who wouldn't go along.Read more ›
Two significant differences are that Smith and Emshwiller limit their attention primarily to a period in 2001 extending from October 16th (when Enron announced huge losses caused by two partnerships) to December 2nd (when Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy); McLean and Elkind cover a two-year period of the company's "amazing rise and scandalous fall." Also, McLean and Elkind devote far more attention to each of the "smartest guys"; Smith and Emshwiller seem less interested in them, except in terms of the impact of their mismanagement and corruption. Let's say there are two books about the collapse of the twin towers at the World Trade Center; one focuses on the human tragedies associated with it whereas a second book addresses design, construction, and structural issues. Obviously, both approaches are valid.
In certain respects, this book reminds me of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's All the President's Men. In both, the reader is provided with a rigorous and comprehensive examination of the process by which investigative journalists generate, evaluate, and pursue leads, then tell a "story" based on the material they have accumulated. Smith and Emshwiller are the focal points in this book.Read more ›
There's also the story of what it's like to cover a big on-going economic event for the nation's leading business daily. The Journal's reporters can be confident that media sensitive business people are going to respond to their calls first. However, the writers give the impression that they were pretty much on their own after that and that all the Journal editors in New York do is decide on how much space to devote to each article.
I had two complaints about this otherwise solid book. First, after 381 pages, I'm still not sure how the villainous partnerships worked. The authors spent lots of time in 2001 trying to figure them out. It would have been nice if they had used this book to tell in a clear way what they discovered. How were they set up? How did they enrich Enron employees and how did they contribute to Enron's destruction? The second complaint comes form the author's attempt to personalize their coverage. Each time I read about their gulps of coffee in the morning and hints of bad feeling between the two of them I cringed. Smith and Emshwiller are solid business reporters - they and we would be better served if they stuck to their knitting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Follow the Wall Street Journal's energy reporters uncover accounting irregularities during last days of Enron. A good business read.Published 5 months ago by Maureen Abel
This is the first book I've ever read with my mouth periodically falling wide open. I couldn't believe the things I kept seeing. Read morePublished 17 months ago by victor
They just didn't know when to stop.
I'm referring, on one hand, to the puppetmasters of one-time corporate giant Enron, whose greed pushed them to create one corrupt... Read more
Book was as described and in excellent condition. Book arrived prior to said arrival date. Very pleasedPublished on February 15, 2010 by Betsy Power
I like the facts straight forward, and I think the authors wrote a pretty good book about the Enron fraud. Read morePublished on January 4, 2010 by Kevin M Quigg
This book provides a fascinating background on the Enron scandal. It provides a unique perspective and kept my interest throughout. Read morePublished on September 25, 2009 by R. Schauer
Very interesting and well written. With all the negative news, we may seem powerless to bring about change. These two reporters again remind us of how we can all make a difference.Published on May 30, 2009 by Lynn
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