June 23, 2009

The Smartest Guys in the Room - Definitely smart by any standards

This is a definitely up there with the best of books that chronicles corporate disasters. Comparison with "Barbarians at the Gate" and "Den of Thieves" is fully justified. The best thing that you like in these books is that they rarely offer the authors perspective of the issue, preferring the reader to form his own opinion.

The characters, the plot and the unfolding of events has been well thought by the author. Issues regarding the structures of financial misrepresentation has been well reported. It is a well paced book, giving readers little room to reduce focus from the contents. The last few months of the final debacle has been well reproduced making it nearly impossible for any reader to put the book down and concentrate on anything else.

The book does lack in one key aspect. The attention to numbers / financials. It is very difficult to understand the extent of damage unless readers are continuously informed about the magnitude of damage through the book. EPS and market capitalisation was often used but one did not really know how much was the revenues and how much profits did it actually report. Infact, there would have been fewer than 10 times when the actual revenues and earnings were reported in the entire book. It was probably in the last 100 pages did one actually know the revenue, RoE, networth etc etc.

Overall, it is a wonderful book to read...much better than the earlier book on Enron. Read it...

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