Books San Francisco/California

Smartest Guys in the Room

While on the road earlier this week, I finally finished reading Bethany McLean’s book The Smartest Guys in the Room. It’s a story of the Enron debacle, told in all of its gory detail.

The book begins with ex-Enron exec Cliff Baxter’s suicide a few weeks following Enron’s bankruptcy filing and then peels back to the early days of Ken Lay before following the story through to the end. An amazing story of arrogant egos gone wild. In particular, the chapter on Enron’s manipulation (along with others) of the California electricity and natural gas markets is downright sickening. it’s one of those books that has you washing your hands after reading.

Update: Tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times has a long article based upon interviews with Ken Lay in which Lay claims he’s innocent of any crimes — but, as CEO, admits he is accountable for what happened at Enron. What a guy!