Cover image for Why they do it : inside the mind of the white-collar criminal
Why they do it : inside the mind of the white-collar criminal
Soltes, Eugene author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : PublicAffairs, [2016]
Physical Description:
viii, 448 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
"Rarely does a week go by without a well-known executive being indicted for engaging in a white-collar crime. Perplexed as to what drives successful, wealthy people to risk it all, Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes took a remarkable journey deep into the minds of these white-collar criminals, spending seven years in the company of the men behind the largest corporate crimes in history-from the financial fraudsters of Enron, to the embezzlers at Tyco, to the Ponzi schemers Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. Drawing on intimate details from personal visits, letters, and phone calls with these former executives, as well as psychological, sociological, and historical research, Why They Do It is a breakthrough look at the dark side of the business world. Soltes refutes popular but simplistic explanations of why seemingly successful executives engage in crime. White-collar criminals, he shows, are not merely driven by excessive greed or hubris, nor do they usually carefully calculate the costs and benefits before breaking the law and see it's worth the risk. Instead, he shows that most of these executives make decisions the way we all do-on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. The trouble is, these gut feelings are often poorly suited for the modern business world. Based on extensive interaction with nearly fifty former executives-many of whom have never spoken about their crimes-Soltes provides insights into why some saw the immediate effects of misconduct as positive, why executives often don't feel the emotions (angst, guilt, shame) most people would expect, and how acceptable norms in the business community can differ from those of the broader society"--
Prologue: Managing in the gray -- Part I: The struggle to criminalize -- "Not...bucket-shop operators, dead-beats, and fly-by-night swindlers" : pillars of the community -- "Guys...don't drop out of windows for no reason" : creating the white-collar criminal -- Part II: Nature or nurture? Reasoning or intuition? -- "Inherently inferior organisms" : bad people making bad decisions -- "I thought it was all going to pass" : a press release with consequences -- "If you don't take it then you will regret it forever" : the triumph of reason -- "I never once thought of the costs versus rewards" : intuitive decisions -- "I never felt that I was doing anything wrong" : overlooking harm -- "If there was something wrong with this transaction, wouldn't people have told me?" : the difficulty of being good -- Part III: The business of malfeasance -- "You can't make the argument that the public was harmed by anything I did" : misleading disclosure -- "Unfortunately, the world is not black and white" : financial reporting fraud -- "You go from just being on top of the world" : insider trading -- "I thought we were freakin' geniuses" : deceptive financial structures -- "You couldn't stop because you would wreck everything" : the Ponzi scheme -- "When I look back, it wasn't as if I couldn't have said no" : Bernie Madoff -- Conclusion: Toward greater humility.
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