August 05, 2008

Conspiracy of Fools

Long time back one of my friends recommended this book – Conspiracy of Fools. She said the book gave an interesting tale of the otherwise boring subject - accounting and finance.

It took me quite some time to complete the book. The 1st half was dragging. The going was hard for me coz I have a non-finance background. By the time I reached the second half, I could comprehend some of the accounting issues mentioned in the book - not fully though. And then the going became easy and interesting.

The book helped me realize that there is quite a bit of learning I need to do in the finance world.

A few words on the real life characters of the Enron debacle:

I felt really sorry for Ken Lay. His story shows how important it is for a leader to pick the right trustworthy lieutenants. Perhaps one of the most important things a leader should do, other than developing a right vision, is to get the right, capable and trustworthy reportees, and keep them happy.

It was hard to learn that the real culprits (Andrew Fastow and Michael Kopper) of the Enron scandal - those who hatched the conspiracy, those whose greed had no limits - got easier incarceration than their colleagues, because they "cooperated" with the legal system! Isn't the justice system flawed in a major way?


Anu said...

Hello, I just chanced upon your blog while searching fr something on the web.

I found the book a fascinating read myself and as a financial auditor , I would find it hard to believe that a CEO is not aware of high level management adjustments such as these. Not doing your due diligence is also a crime sometimes, isn't it? Just wanted to let you know that (in case you weren't already aware) that ken lay died a couple of years ago.

Sophroniscus Dialectic said...

Thanks Anu for dropping by and leaving your comments.

Abt Lay... well... he trusted his men so much. At his age he didn't have the ability to monitor his top management well. And that is not exactly a crime. He should have step down at a much younger age. In fact the case tailored against him was totally different from the ones tailored against Skilling or Fastow. I guess had he handed over the reins to Rich Kinder years earlier, he wouldn't have had such a sad ending. But then, no point coming up with ifs-and-buts...

Anyways... the book is a nice one. I liked it. Someone suggested that "The Smartest Guys in the Room" is a better one.