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Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower
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Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  345 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
"It was no comfort to know that I was making history, for the forced removal of a company president is almost unheard of in Japan. I rose quietly, left the room, and holding my head high, walked back to my office. My main goal was to escape as quickly as pos-sible. The board had seemed scared--why else would they have acted the way they did. But just what were they scared ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Portfolio
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(showing 1-30)
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Catherine Howard
I love a good corporate scandal, and the shady goings-on in Olympus—and the dramatic fashion in which they were revealed to the world, by their own CEO—were especially intriguing, especially since an examination of their cause promised to offer an insight into how Japanese corporate culture differs so dramatically from the West's. I was also looking forward to reading this because Woodford wrote it himself, which is unusual—most of these types of books are ghost-written, or co-authored.

And whil
裕安 王
Aug 22, 2013 裕安 王 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What he had done is encouraging. The main problem of this book was that it should not include Mr.Woodford's personal life into it. I was expecting to see more detailed information about this corporate scandals. How this big company beatified its financial reports to cover its loss.

If I wanted to see a novelistic story, I'd read John Grisham. The ego of Mr.Woodford bothered me from the very beginning. He enjoyed being served by flight attendant. He portraited himself as Michael Jackson and Georg
Jun 01, 2013 Nabila rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I promise I have not rated this harshly because Woodford professed his admiration of Thatcher. Honest. Rather, whilst there clearly is an interesting story here and the potential to explore key differences in the way Japanese businesses run vs. other 'Western' businesses, my problem was that I found the writing style clunky and awkward and Woodford himself to come across as pretty annoying. I know he did a brave thing but seriously, listing all his plaudits, talking at length about how people wo ...more
Oct 17, 2012 Tomoaki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good read to learn what happened inside of the well known Japanese company, Olympus.

I really think it was so difficult to fight and correct the problems of the company from the inside, even author became the leader of the company. We can learn his struggle as a top of the company and we know what he did was absolute right.

Mr.Woodford first published his book "Terminated (Kainin)" in April from Hayakawa Shobo in Japan.

This English book and the Japanese one shares a lot of same storyline
Dec 28, 2012 Mrz9876 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The greatest tragedy is that nothing changed in the end. Lacking any sort of moral compass, Olympus followed in the footsteps of so many Japanese companies (e.g. Mitsubishi Motors, TEPCO etc) by showing no sincere regret about the fraud but plenty of anguish about the fact that it was made public. More alarmingly, its banks and corporate stakeholders did the same, closing ranks to dilute existing (especially non-Japanese) shareholders and appoint managers cut from the same cloth as those who per ...more
Jj Li
It's an interesting cross-cultural perspective, and a great boardroom swashbuckler memoir. My problem is that Michael Woodford comes off a little petulant and unsympathetic, so it doesn't have quite the impact as it could.
By Quentin Webb

Society and markets need whistle-blowers. But it’s hard, lonely work. Michael Woodford’s “Exposure” details first-hand how the maverick executive blew the whistle on a $1.7 billion accounting scandal at Olympus, the company he ran. His integrity makes him a welcome outlier in an age of financial scandal.

Soon after becoming president of the Japanese electronics group in April 2011, Woodford was alerted to a series of odd, costly acquisitions. These included obscure companies active
Dec 11, 2014 Ricardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's fast and authentic. The story is good, and the topic is important. We are left to wonder - how many other companies are controlled by "club management" that essentially destroys value? How far have we advances in corporate governance?
But is we come out of the book with another ugly exemple of bad corporate governance, Woodford saves no words to accuse directly the "Corporate Japan network". As he repeats throughout the book, not once during the Olympus scandal did the Japanese shareholders
Jan 16, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A shocking scandal exposing criminal activity in a major Japanese/global corporation. Woodford rose from humble beginnings the top of the corporate pile, and in a Japanese company where both the East and West note considerable cultural differences. To achieve this is an incredible challenge and Woodford is clearly special and talented. As a one company man his devotion and loyalty to Olympus must have been absolute. Within weeks of achieving this lifetime ambition he sets himself on a path to un ...more
Vicki Beyer
I was very interested to hear the story of what went wrong at Olympus, but was very disappointed in this book. It's difficult to be sympathetic to a narrator who tells how much he loves Japanese women bowing at his feet while putting slippers on them in the first class cabin of an airplane, bemoans the loss of his chauffeur-driven Bentley and his Jaguar, and seems to need to give us the address of every UK and US restaurant he eats at with friends (while describing his Japanese dining experience ...more
May 06, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, biography
Michael Woodford's inside story on his whistle-blowing antics at Olympus is a sensational read. The author Pulls no punches regarding the doubts he went through in terms of the effects on his family and on the tens of thousands of ordinary employees of the company. Woodford walks the reader through his journey from realisation to the final resignations of most of the board members involved in scandals and thefts at Olympus.

The intricate web of lies and channels through which funds were illegally
Dec 26, 2012 Haje rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to judge a real-life book about the photography industry (well, sort of), that reads like an all-out crime triller? It was a very pleasant read, for sure, and rather exciting to boot, but I've got to say; I doubt a person is able to climb their way from salesman to CEO of a multinational without ever having mis-stepped: I can't shake the feeling that we're not getting the full story (great as it is), and the carefully crafted 'I never did anything wrong ever' taste of this book just doesn't ...more
Jul 20, 2014 Tirath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Important to go through such books.
Japanese culture, the experiences of a gaijin in Japan, and how incentives work in strong ways - a lie started has to be perpetuated.

What I found amazing was how seemingly ignorant the CEO was; is it really believable that a new CEO had not questioned such a large acquisition of Gyrus for a high valuation?
The CEO also seems quite used to his plush life of fancy homes, hotels, and first class travel.

That said, his whistle blowing was a lot of fun to read about,
Sivaram Velauthapillai
Mar 04, 2015 Sivaram Velauthapillai rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in corporate malfeasance, insider accounts of corporations
Shelves: business
This books provides an inside account of the Olympus scandal, one of the largest corporate scandals ever and perhaps the largest in modern Japanese history. If you wanted to know how the few months around the scandal--before and after--played out, this books goes into great detail. However, it doesn't really explain in detail what the fraud was and how it concealed, who benefitted, and where the money went (it touches on it a bit but it isn't much). This book also provides good insight into what ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book about the Olympus scandal that rocked the corporate world but, in the end, didn't end up changing a lot in Japan unfortunately. This book is the true story of how Woodford stood up against the corporate titans, to which he had just been named, and took them to task. He demanded to know what had gone on when he became aware of financial activities that didn't appear to be above board. His instincts were right and he took the situation into the public arena where it was ...more
Interesting story, giving insights into Japanese corporate culture. It is told in an engaging way and I have seen him speak at a conference and his speaking style is also very engaging and similar to his writing style (or vice-versa). I did find that he came across as possibly a bit arrogant, a bit of a name dropper (maybe these are needed to explain the story), and even though he claimed to be a simple man (kind of), he still took every chance he had to tell us about his trips to fancy places a ...more
Apr 04, 2014 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An well-written expose of the financial shenanigans at Olympus, a Japanese manufacturer of cameras and medical equipment. Mr. Woodford discovered some financial irregularities just after he was appointed CEO, and gave the Board the opportunity to explain. Instead they fired him. He had the courage to blow the whistle. Justice was done (except the instiutional investors/banks in Japan put their head in the sand and didn't bring him back, which is a shame.). A very enjoyable read, lots of intrigue ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Niranj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I knew from prior reading about the events as to what had happened. The book turned out to be an elaborate version of those, with bits of personal life of the author, the company, his friends, family, employees and the country.

Apart from the two decade old issue that was covered up for so long, which by itself is intriguing, the details of professionally working in Japan as a high ranking business executive are quite fascinating - something that I had no idea about.

If one is already aware of wha
Uwe Hook
Jan 19, 2013 Uwe Hook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Woodford does a superb job in describing his saga at Olympus in Japan. Quite interesting insight as to the boardroom culture in Japan. It is highly unfortunate that Mr. Woodford could not continue at Olympus and turn the company around, because Olympus does have great endoscopy business. It only would have been proper for Mr.Woodford to bring Olympus back to its heights, but perhapd that would be wishful thinking with the board, along with Japanese banks do not put shareholders' best int ...more
Oliver Schnusenberg
I really liked this book, but if possible I would give it 3.5 stars. Really my only criticism is that the book was focused too much on Michael Woodford himself. At times, it almost felt like he was justifying that what he was doing was really correct.

On the lacking side of things, I was waiting for the part of the book with the explanation of how exactly the scheme worked. However, only about five pages were spent on that aspect, and I would have appreciated a more in-depth explanation.

An interesting narrative, especially because it is an insider look, that is done in by the constant throw-back to the humdrum minutiae. The book could have done well with - [1] stronger editing to bring out the story in crisp detail and, [2] put the decisions in their context rather than putting them out as if they were meeting minutes.

The ugly nature of the scandal aside, it is probably the first time I am reading a CEO himself taking up the time to explain what went downhill. That's probably t
Charlie Pownall
Exposure can hardly be described as a balanced account (according to Japanese friends, Woodford is seen to have over-egged the publicity pudding and unashamedly thrust himself to the front and centre of the story. Nonetheless it makes for a fascinating and, in this case, singularly unedifying insight into the culture of the keiretsu and big business in Japan. It is also an excellent example of how a rogue employee (or two) can bring a reputable company to its knees through bitter resolve and sma ...more
Mark Monsma
This book is a testament to the fact that crimes doesn't pay. Michael Woodford became a world famous whistleblower when he discovered a major fraud and conspiracy in the company he worked for, Olympus. Once he had brought the discrepancies to his colleagues, he was quickly fired. But Woodford did not go quietly into the night, alarming the newspapers and investigative agencies. Michael Woodford is one of those heroes no one really recognizes. This book was a great read; a thrilling, edge-of-your ...more
Anthony Dench
Feb 17, 2013 Anthony Dench rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book seems to aim to cover both the author's rise to the top as well as the corporate scandal that rocked the company; however the detail on both stories was lacking a bit for me. That said It was enjoyable read, and at times hard to put down. I am hoping that the author provides some further material in the future that builds on both his career progress and the mechanics of the corporate governance scandal.
Peter Atkinson
Oct 15, 2013 Peter Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This real life boardroom story reads like a thriller by the best.
The effect on Michael and his wife is devastating and we get the FBI involved, the Serious Fraud Office and Scotland Yard. For serious readers who are interested in the media, in banking, in business and how international businesses fail.

Without integrity nothing works and Michael's integrity shines through.
I recommend this book
Mar 22, 2013 Summi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael is courageous, entertaining, and insightful. A very interesting look at Japanese business culture, especially in a world where business ethics often lose out to shareholder interests and personal gain. He's the kind of business person that many should aspire to be. I'd work for him in a heartbeat.
Mar 10, 2014 Julian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good if you are interested in the business culture of Japan. Woodford is obviously a 'good sort.' This will be turned into a film one day. The Japanese press did report it, but I bet you don't know the half of it. Will Japan change as a result of this whole sorry affair. I doubt it. Anyway, a good read, but only if you are interested in the subject matter.
Dec 10, 2014 Ricardo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fast and impressive. Author has some weird ticks with the "first class flights" and so on, but the story is excellent and well told, and shows very well how some in the Japanese business world behave. The comments on how the biggest creditor, and biggest loser in the story, refused to meet him tell a lot about what really matters there...
Jan 06, 2015 Tredaran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging, exciting and compelling. Michael Woodford is an excellent storyteller with a great memory for detail which, at times, affects the narrative flow. On the whole, though, a highly readable account of the uncovering of a major corporate fraud and the huge personal and emotional consequences for Woodford and his family and an insightful portrayal of corporate governance and culture in Japan.
Aug 23, 2014 Nicola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A business book - no a great story and read - the true tale of financial wrongdoing, possible Japanese mafia, danger, fear, expat family friction and demands set in a Japan reeling from the Tsunami. Michael Woodford stood out from the culture of Japanese business and faced personal and financial difficulties to seek the right outcome as a whistleblower - can't wait for the film.
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Michael Woodford grew up in Liverpool, and worked for Olympus for 30 years, becoming CEO on October 1st 2011. He is 51 years of age, married to Nuncy, a Spanish national, and they have two children, Edward 18 and Isabel 16. He is a keen runner and enjoys sailing.
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