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Film

Ask Why?

The only conclusion one can reach after seeing Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is that greed is such a powerful motivator.

Ask Why — it was Enron’s tag line, intended to motivate employees to do great things and to educate investors as to why Enron was itself so great. But it’s clear that this was a management that was totally seduced by the money and in denial about the financial reality they had created.

In the process, lots of folks got screwed — employees (of both Enron and key suppliers including Arthur Andersen), shareholders, and the people of California who paid their electricity bills while suffering rolling blackouts at the hands of Enron traders.

Meanwhile, amazingly, Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay (among others) prepare to defend their innocence of any wrong doing at Enron. How can they possibly live with themselves?

Ask why?

[The San Francisco Chronicle’s Jonathan Curiel gave the movie the Little Man Jumping Out of Chair rating. The book by Fortune magazine writers Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind is also superb.]