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Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron
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Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  209 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
“They’re still trying to hide the weenie,” thought Sherron Watkins as she read a newspaper clipping about Enron two weeks before Christmas, 2001. . . It quoted [CFO] Jeff McMahon addressing the company’s creditors and cautioning them against a rash judgment. “Don’t assume that there is a smoking gun.”
Sherron knew Enron well enough to know that the company was in extreme sp
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 25th 2003 by Doubleday (first published November 7th 2002)
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Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-affairs
Update: My wife and I just finished watching Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, an excellent documentary made in 2005. I recommend it highly, especially as many of the seeds of the current economic crisis were apparent in the machinations of the Enron boys. The parallels are uncanny.

Ken Lay was the product of a very religious background in a small Midwestern town. During work on his PhD in economics, he became enamored of the world of stocks. He parlayed InterNorth, a small energy company int
Mar 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: finance
Watkins wasn't a whistle blower,
she saw the fraud at Enron, told Ken Lay about it,
and when he told her to be quiet about it,


Conspiracy of Fools is an infinitely better book

David Glad
So a couple weeks back an online friend asked me just what the fraud at Enron was. As I was unsatisfied with the answer I gave (more or less concealing liabilities through a web of complex partnerships AKA special purpose entities or SPEs) and, since my library had this audiobook, I figured might as well listen to this.

Book begins by mentioning Houston's origins, including how the original promoters of the territory insisted the local waterway was navigable. (Barely.) Along with the cast of char
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Given that Power Failure was written with Sherron Watkins (a player of sorts in the situation), I expected it to have some unique insights but to be very agenda driven. While Watkins comes out of it looking good, the book's strength actually turns out to be its relatively "straight" recounting of the events. One can't pretend to be "unbiased" about the figures involved in the Enron scandal, but Power Failure does not aggressively push any particular theory about why things went wrong (compared t ...more
Alberto Lopez
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
As the third Enron book I have read, it added little to what I already knew about the company. But if this is your first book on Enron, then it will reveal everything about the Houston based company and its culture. In any case, the book was very pleasurable. It also stayed away from being too technical.
Amy Johanning
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Wow. It is said that money and power are the root of all evil. This book proves that assertion. It is unbelievable to me - unfathomable actually - that human beings are as greedy and narcissistic as described in this book. Even the heroine, the "whistleblower," was susceptible to these traits and as such, should be given no sympathy. Ken Lay, CEO of Enron was found guilty of 10 counts of securities fraud, circumvented incarceration by dying three months before the judge was to impose sentencing. ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
A good book with a lot of details about the Enron debacle. At first you think that just a few people are the bad guys, cooking the books and keeping the debt off the balance sheet. But as you read you realize how greedy all the people there were, including Sharon Watkins, the supposed whistle blower (who really wasn't, though she did eventually go the the CEO with some of her questions and suggestions...a real whistle blower would have gone to the SEC or other outside agency). As you read along ...more
Power Failure examines in great detail the story of Enron: the players, the dynamics, the interesting accounting structures - that lead to Enron's ultimate implosion.

Although it's a compelling story, I think the level of detail of the various deals and the effect on Enron's financial statements might confuse the average reader.

Also, the author uses colorful and varied language to describe the people involved - I suppose to give interest to the reader - that don't really mesh. One such instance
Lisa Manke
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this a fascinating book but I lived in Houston when the S*** hit the fan and did it ever. The shock waves reverberated through the whole city, taking many down with it.

I admired sherron Watkins before reading this and although I know she had a stake in this book I WANT to believe that her pointing out the issues was not for selfish reasons. She did not want the company to collapse, she wanted the company to come clean. But it wouldn't, and didn't. And houston wept.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating inside look at the Enron culture.
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
A great read with a really good character depiction. However one cannot but wonder whether Mimi didn't twist it some in order to appear better than reality.
C. Michael
Sherron Watkins was an Enron insider who had much to gain and lose in this book. This is not the history to read, but does provide a unique insider's perspective.
Sharon Beers
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sherron Watkins, heroic whistle-blower
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