Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Smartest Guys in the Room

Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein famously said that, far from being dangerous and corrupt, his firm was doing "God's work". I was delighted to read that Jeffrey Skilling once said his own company Enron was doing "the Lord's work".

I read it in The Smartest Guys in the Room; a very interesting read about the fall of Enron (and the baleful effects of securitization).

Saw the movie of the same title but hadn't read the book; if anything this 400 page book is even more accesible than the film - almost to a fault. The authors are excessively conversational, and don't show much faith in their reader's understanding. I wonder if they imagined their words being read aloud at a Wal-Mart and wrote accordingly.

Even the jacket design gets the spirit of it. This blurb from Jim Cramer is at the top on the back cover:

"...those who want to learn what happened here, you don't have to read anything but this."

Now, I appreciate being able to learn something quickly, which is why I appreciate this TV-investing-infotainer's ability to capture the essence of the anti-intellectualism at root of modern culture and learning. When did we lose the idea that learning something has a price?

When was the last time you re-read a book, just to appreciate what you may have missed or forgotten the first time?

That's what I thought.

Everyone - go out and read Oedipus Rex, then read it again two weeks later. It will be a totally different experience the second time.

Or Androcles and the Lion, though to my shame I haven't actually finished my second reading.

1 comment:

Jen said...

If it was such an easy read, maybe it should have been titled "The Smartest Guys in the Room: for Dummies." ha ha ha. I do want to read that book, though. Do you think you will read it a second time? Love you.