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Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster Hardcover – March 26, 2012
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A "scathing expose." - Reuters, March 12, 2012.
"A gripping account of a catastrophe foretold, Run to Failure explains not just why the spill happened, but why it didn't have to. It should be required reading in boardrooms across America," - Elizabeth Kolbert
"This often breathless account is a wakeup call, and affords a timely consideration of the nature of international business and its relationship to government." - Publisher's Weekly.
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Top Customer Reviews
[Review published in MIT's The Tech]
The horrifying image of a muddy column of oil rushing incessantly from the earth's guts into the deep blue waters of the Gulf is forever branded in my memory. As I watched in disbelief the live video feed from the bottom of the sea, showing the Macondo well vomiting poison into the ocean, week after week, impervious to the incompetent attempts of BP to kill it, there was one question that kept bouncing in my head: how on earth did this happen?
Abrahm Lustgarten, an award-winning environmental journalist and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grant," has the answer. His devastating exposé of BP's abysmal safety record details the role the company played in what is arguably the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Run to Failure, Lustgarten's recent book, deconstructs how the Deepwater Horizon "accident" was decades in the making, how short-sighted managerial decisions led to a culture where rhetoric ("safety remains our number one priority") cloaked sloppy operations for the sake of profit. The story unfolds like a train wreck in slow-motion, from the rise of John Browne as The One inside British Petroleum in the late 1980s to the moment Andrea Fleytas radioed "Mayday!" from a burning platform in the Gulf on the night of April 20, 2010. The conclusion is as damning as it is terrifying: The great 2010 oil spill was the direct result of BP's quick and dirty approach to business. And although it was utterly avoidable, a similar or worse disaster may happen again.
Although Lustgarten divides his book formally into three parts, it makes more sense to think of it in two blocks.Read more ›
The book documents a cultural fixation on short term earnings with little regard towards safety or long term profits. Operating, maintenance and quality control budgets were routinely subverted to the need for reportable earnings. On the north slope it meant neglect or the corrosion management and inspection programs and operating shortcuts in the oilfields. The highly predictable results were higher worker injury rates, pipeline failures and ultimately huge expenses to repair damage that could have been prevented.
Unfortunately today far too many senior managers are slaves to budgets that are driven from the top. It's not just the oil industry, across America you can see examples of how short term cost cutting is sacrificing long term interests. It's not just corporation but schools, governments, utilities and others have allowed the infrastructure to decay to the point of added costs and risks.
An interesting contrast to the culture of BP is our military. Young Marine officers are taught to listen to their non-commissioned officers. The Gunny (Sargent)is one of the most respected members of the Corps. Gen Colin Powell had a great presentation on management in which one of this rules was to believe the people in the field (rather than headquarters) in the absence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't know BP was so disastrous....but after the Deep Water Horizon explosion, I now know how they were so negligent on safety issues. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wildcat
Excellent read. Great lessons learned for leaders in any industryPublished 23 months ago by Louisiana purchase
this is a pro-business book describing in insightful detail for shortcomings of BP management.I would like to think that all BP management have read this book and discuss the... Read morePublished on June 4, 2014 by Stephen P Sims
Coming from the industry I was a bit skeptical about this book but I thought it was quite an interesting read. Read morePublished on May 15, 2013 by Ryan Lober
Lustgarten is an entertaining writer but his anti fossil fuel agenda is a bit much. About 20 pages in, I googled him and found out he's a regular writer for Propublica which seems... Read morePublished on May 12, 2013 by Paul Edwards
A very readable and informative book. I usually have two or three books going at any one time, and whichever one I pick up depends on my mood. Read morePublished on March 27, 2013 by TopCat19
Everyone in the Oil and Gas industry should read this book. Hopefully others can learn from these mistakes and save lives!Published on February 23, 2013 by jpd