Cover image for What went wrong at Enron : everyone's guide to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history
What went wrong at Enron : everyone's guide to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history
Fusaro, Peter C.
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Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : J. Wiley, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 240 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
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Table of contents
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HD9502.U54 E574 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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An easy answer guide to the difficult questions surrounding Enron
What Went Wrong at Enron explains the critical steps, transactions, and events that led to the demise of a company that was once considered one of the most innovative corporations in the United States. Energy risk management expert Peter Fusaro gets inside Enron and provides a coherent account of the who, why, where, and when of this corporate debacle, without sacrificing the complexity of what has happened. Enron has been front-page news for months, but confusion still remains about what actually happened. What Went Wrong at Enron is written for readers who find themselves wondering what exactly is an energy trading company, what was the sequence of events that caused the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history, and what does this all mean for me.

Author Notes

Peter C. Fusaro is founder and President of Global Change Associates, an energy consulting firm. His extensive research on Enron is regularly referenced by those investigating the firm's dramatic collapse
Ross M. Miller is founder and President of Miller Risk Advisors. Previously, he taught finance and economics and then established the quantitative finance research group at General Electric

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The two books under review here are early entrants into what undoubtedly will be a growing literature on the downfall of Enron. In Pipe Dreams, Texas journalist Bryce has produced an observant outsider's history of Enron, from its founding in 1985 to its bankruptcy on December 2, 2001. His explanations of the financial manipulations are lucid, understandable by the average newspaper reader, and revealing of the company's high-executive rot, including the familiar names (Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Andy Fastow) as well as the less familiar. Bryce is especially good at detailing the corporate culture, from greed, arrogance, deception, and incompetence in the highest places to various intracorporate affairs and executives' housing choices in the best Houston neighborhoods. Bryce draws no conclusions save that greed was rampant and suggests no social, civil, or criminal remedies. This volume is fascinating, and it gives literary support for the Enron logo, the crooked "E." Little attention is paid to the auditing firm Arthur Andersen.What Went Wrong at Enron provides more detailed coverage of the financial issues at Enron, but without the interesting account of corporate culture. Fusaro (head of an energy consulting firm) and Miller (an economist and head of a financial consulting firm) offer a brief and clear analytic history of the Enron financial circus, from the company's founding to four months after bankruptcy. They address the major issues of mark-to-market accounting practices, CEO Jeffrey Skilling's gas bank, personnel evaluations, liquidity crises, Enron Online, broadband services, electricity and water investments and misjudgments, accounting concealments and misstatements (hiding debt, inflating revenues, misreporting "profit"), special purpose entities, and Chapter 11. Emphasis is on the financial aspects (as it should be); the financial side of Enron's corporate culture is revealed loud and clear. Appendixes include the cast of characters (23 Enron employees briefly described and a list of Enron directors); timeline (17 pages with dates of specific events described in the text); and the "Enron files" (reproductions of 11 documents, including Sherron Watkins's whistle-blowing memos to Ken Lay; the SPE approval sheet missing Skilling's approval signature; the Temple-to-Odum-to-Duncan memo "reminding the [Andersen] engagement team of [the] documentation and retention policy," which swung the jury to convict Andersen; the Baxter purported suicide note; and a memo from attorneys explaining Enron's trading strategy in California electricity). Bibliography of 75 references; good index. Both books are recommended for public and academic collections, lower-division undergraduate and up. What Went Wrong at Enron will also interest professionals. R. A. Miller Wesleyan University

Table of Contents

Preface: In the Beginning ...p. vii
1 Ken Lay's Junk Bond Ride Up on the Natural Gas Expressp. 1
2 A Pattern of Less than Full Disclosurep. 11
3 The Skilling Case Studyp. 25
4 The Downside of Rank and Yankp. 39
5 A Market a Day Keeps the Debt Away (But Only Temporarily)p. 53
6 Enron Goes Onlinep. 69
7 Broadband Is a Costly Mistakep. 83
8 Enron Takes on Waterp. 95
9 From Arrogance to Bankruptcyp. 107
10 Of Talking Heads and Quiet Dealsp. 125
11 The Only Place to End the Enron Storyp. 145
Cast of Charactersp. 151
Through the Pipeline: An Enron Time Linep. 163
The Enron Filesp. 181
Referencesp. 217
About the Authorsp. 227
Indexp. 229