July 1, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - 24 Days

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 6:19 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

24 Days: How Two Wall Street Journal Reporters Uncovered the Lies That Destroyed Faith in Corporate America by Rebecca Smith, John R. Emshwiller, Harpercollins, $25.95, Aug 1, 2003, ISBN 0060520736
We know that Enron went out with a bang, but do we actually know what events led up to the explosion? 24 Days is the true story of the digging two Wall Street Journal writers did to try and understand one of the most complicated and shadowy corporations on the planet.
The title comes from the number of days between October 16, 2001 when Enron released its quarterly earnings, and November 8 when they filed documents with the Security and Exchange Commission. Those documents showed all the deceitful accounting practices and the hidden deals used to inflate the value of Enron. These practices destroyed Enron and Arthur Andersen, and cost us all money. Plus, Enrons 15,000 employees retirement funds took a $1.2B hit. CEOs Skilling, Lay, Fastow and Pai walked away with $522m from selling Enron stock!
The story really reads like a mystery. It reminds me of a similar book, that in the 1990s, shocked but also fascinated peoplenot unlike a car wreck on the freewayBarbarians at the Gate. It gave a fly on the wall view of the feeding frenzy around RJR. The book also read like a novel because you just couldnt believe what you were reading.