ANATOMY OF GREED: The Unshredded Truth from an Enron Insider

Brian Cruver, Author
Brian Cruver, Author . Carroll & Graf $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1093-5
Reviewed on: 07/22/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Compact Disc - 978-1-59086-450-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59086-447-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59086-448-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-7867-1205-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-59086-449-4
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Cruver's "unshredded truth" doesn't actually offer any substantial evidence into Enron's misdoings. Instead, he sets out to create the same sort of "life during wartime" account former Amazon employee Mike Daisey presented in 21 Dog Years—but without the strong personality and storytelling capabilities that made Daisey more than just another grousing victim of the new economy hype. Cruver—who started at Enron in March 2001 in the department whose focus was on "buying and selling credit risk as a commodity" and was laid off before the year was through—doesn't have much to say about the company's final days: caught up in his own pride at having made the corporate big leagues, he ignores repeated warnings from an investor friend, updates his résumé while the shredders around him work overtime and collects several thousand dollars in free paychecks due to a clerical error. Because of his comparatively low-level status within the company and lack of real access to the company's inner workings, Cruver's awareness of Enron's financial problems was essentially limited to the same press releases and newspaper accounts the general public saw. The constant gossip among his colleagues rarely offers anything beyond speculation, as no one at Cruver's level had any clue what was really happening. (He does claim to have had one illuminating conversation with a pseudonymous executive, but even that encounter reveals little more than that Enron was willing to skimp on ethics in order to maximize profits, which is hardly news.) This quickie pseudo-exposé has a few funny scenes, but nothing of any lasting value. Illus. (Sept.)

Forecast:The book is the basis of a CBS-TV movie coming this fall, The Crooked E. That, along with a handful of prepub media mentions, an author tour and national advertising, might make it popular among Enron groupies. Readers seeking a substantial exploration of corporate responsibility won't find much here, though.

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