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

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former employee of HEALTHSOUTH under King Richard's reign, I really enjoyed the book. It gave the whole history in an easy to follow and concise manner. Realizing how a ruthless,sociopath came to found and than destroy a cutting edge company is a must for those that follow businesses. I would highly recommend this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I find this tale very interesting. It is basically a confessional and a true story. 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.
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Format: Hardcover
HealthSouth: The Wagon to Disaster by Aaron Beam is a sobering tale of the downfall of those who worked "the books" at HealthSouth. To understand how Mr. Beam became a founder of HealthSouth one must first understand there was an unbridled brash young respiratory therapist named Richard Scrushy. Though not actually a scion as I implied in my heading, his family was very average middle-class and he was somewhat invisible in his scholastic career, Richard Scrushy aspired to the life of one. Early on it seemed he had a vision and the talent to push those around him toward success. He saw a real opportunity for a new kind of rehabilitative health care company. One that didn't depend on hospitals, only referrals by a patient's doctor.

Rehabilitative services post-surgery were a hot field in the late 70's and early 80's. Changes first started in the latter 60's were in full fruition, the government's medical insurance, as well as private insurance, were paying well to insure the patient got out of the hospital as soon as possible. Rehab, as most folks colloquially called this type of service, overnight changed in its delivery. Almost all rehabilitation was shifted to free-standing clinics, on an out-patient basis, to avoid the cost of the same service while a patient was still hospitalized. This would save, in many instances, more than half of the cost of the same services rendered. It was a win-win situation as the insurance companies/government liked the savings and the patients, almost universally, wanted out of the hospital as soon as possible.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a great first person account of the HealthSouth story: In short, a narcissistic con-man, Richard Scrushy, swindled people who invested many millions of dollars of their hard earned money in a company that systematically cooked the books for years without getting caught.

The story illustrates how the conflicts of interest in our financial system, a broken healthcare industry and flaws in our legal system were all manipulated by one man.
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