Conspiracy of Fools

Title: Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story
Published by: Broadway Books
Release Date: December 27, 2005
Pages: 784
ISBN13: 978-0767911795
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From an award-winning New York Times reporter, Kurt Eichenwald, comes Conspiracy of Fools, the full mind-boggling story of the lies, crimes, and ineptitude behind the spectacular scandal that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever...

It was the corporate collapse that appeared to come out of nowhere. In late 2001, the Enron Corporation—a darling of the financial world, a company whose executives were friends of presidents and the powerful—imploded virtually overnight, leaving vast wreckage in its wake and sparking a criminal investigation that would last for years. But for all that has been written about the Enron debacle, no one has yet to re-create the full drama of what has already become a near-mythic American tale.

Until now. With Conspiracy of Fools, Kurt Eichenwald transforms the unbelievable story of the Enron scandal into a rip-roaring narrative of epic proportions, one that is sure to delight readers of thrillers and business books alike, achieving for this new decade what books like Barbarians at the Gate and A Civil Action accomplished in the 1990s.

Written in the roller-coaster style of a novel, the compelling narrative takes readers behind every closed door—from the Oval Office to the executive suites, from the highest reaches of the Justice Department to the homes and bedrooms of the top officers. It is a tale of global reach—from Houston to Washington, from Bombay to London, from Munich to São Paulo—laying out the unbelievable scenes that twisted together to create this shocking true story.

Eichenwald reveals never-disclosed details of a story that features a cast including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul O'Neill, Harvey Pitt, Colin Powell, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Greenspan, Ken Lay, Andy Fastow, Jeff Skilling, Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, and Sumner Redstone. With its you-are-there glimpse into the secretive worlds of corporate power, Conspiracy of Fools is an all-true financial and political thriller of cinematic proportions.


“A meticulous dissection of the Enron story... Eichenwald has accomplished a prodigious feat of reporting... His writing is reader-friendly. He manages to convey a sense of the dizzying confusion and nerve-racking tension that infused the company years before it fell.”
The New York Times Book Review

Conspiracy of Fools is A SPLENDID ACHIEVEMENT. Mr. Eichenwald has an encylopedic grasp of a watershed business collapse, and has turned it into a gripping read, a true tale for our times... the overall effect is riveting.”
The New York Times

“Leaves the reader’s heart racing . . . a dynamic blend of a Shakesperean tragedy and the cliff-hanging breathlessness of The Perils of Pauline.
The Washington Post

“A gripping page-turner…a can’t put it down tale…The book reads like a thriller, but it’s all fact.”

“ENGROSSING... It is an excellent, entertaining tale. Mr. Eichenwald writes the book in a chain of ear-to-the-keyhole anecdotes of Enron meetings and conversations that show readers how the scandal unfolded.”
Dallas Morning News

“As a reader, you feel every bit of evidence has been weighed, every stone turned over, every effort made to find out what really happened. Yet, even given all the attention to detail, the book is an easy, page-turning read. Eichenwald structures his narrative as a scene-by-scene cinematic thriller... The last hundred pages, a minute-by-minute account of an imploding company, is a riveting slice of business journalism that bursts with chaos, adrenaline and despair.”

“Eichenwald, who also wrote The Informant, about the Archer Daniels Midland price-fixing scandal, isn’t the first, by a long shot, to write an Enron book. But Conspiracy of Fools may be the most comprehensive, with a sophisticated grasp of the big picture tempered by considerable human drama.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“MAGNIFICENT... written in the manner of a breezy crypto-thriller and told from the viewpoint of a fly on the wall—or at times, a devil on the shoulders. The style makes gripping reading... readers looking for a fact-filled companion to one of the all-time greatest Ponzi schemes will find everything they're expecting here, along with compelling prose and remarkable insights.”

“A RIVETING NARRATIVE... Eichenwald, a reporter for The New York Times, is becoming known not just for his strong newspaper reporting, which has won him two Polk Awards, but for turning stories of corporate crime into books that read something like John Grisham novels.”

“If it's an inside look at corporate malfeasance you're after, look no further than Conspiracy of Fools, the story of Enron and Kurt Eichenwald, who previously aimed his investigative pen at Archer Daniels Midland with "The Informant," now on the Hollywood drawing board.”
The New York Post

“[A]fter reading Kurt Eichenwald's Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story, you will wonder how it was possible no one heard the din of voices crying out in the wilderness of Enron's ruinous financial schemes.... The hefty book, an outgrowth of Eichenwald's three years covering the scandal for the New York Times, offers a timely reminiscence as the trials of former Enron chairman Ken Lay and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Skilling approach.”
US News & World Report

“Eichenwald offers vivid portraits of the main characters with revealing vignettes that capture a corporate tragedy of epic scale. Clearly, with the trials of Lay and Skilling yet to come, the story of Enron remains unfinished.... However, Eichenwald's account will rightly be judged the definitive book to date.”
Library Journal

“Although Enron's story is more convoluted than a Medici revenge plot, Eichenwald... spins out the essential facts in quick, colorful scenes. He recreates the dialogue of the principal characters as convincingly as if he had been at their elbow taking notes.”

“[P]resented in a rat-a-tat style thick with corporate anxiety, keeping pages turning... As an unadorned attempt to get into the heads of some major manipulators, this book can hardly be bettered.”
Publishers Weekly

“A PAGE-TURNING FINANCIAL THRILLER....This book compares with Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gate in its breadth and depth of coverage of esoteric corporate culture and financial practices, recognizing the compelling human drama beneath the scandal.”

“Only this white-collar-crime reporter for the New York Times could turn the Enron scandal into a book that reads like a Joel Schumacher script (starring Gene Hackman as glad-handing Ken Lay?). . . Eichenwald's style, which worked so well in The Informant, carries the day.”
Details Magazine

“THE DEFINITIVE ACCOUNT of Enron's collapse and an accurate historical account of how Corporate America got off track at the turn of the century... Two dozen books on the scandal have already been written, but today's arrival of Conspiracy of Fools stands out as the best of them... Eichenwald's fluid storytelling has resulted in a page-turner... As with another business book, Barbarians at the Gate, this one succeeds not only in telling the story of a company in crisis, but in portraying the spirit of an era.”
USA Today

“Even if you've read innumerable accounts of the Enron scandal, you'll find the meltdown depicted in Kurt Eichenwald's Conspiracy of Fools to be an eye-opener. His you-are-there narrative and fastidious attention to detail bring this byzantine saga to life as never before... he has likely come as close to reality as any outsider can get. It's abundantly clear why he's considered one of the best investigative reporters in the business.”

“THRILLING... A half-dozen books have been published about Enron's collapse, but Conspiracy of Fools, Kurt Eichenwald's richly detailed narrative, is likely to be a landmark record—not just of what went wrong at Enron, but of how American business went crazy during the 1990s, when it seemed that everyone had a shot at becoming a billionaire in the New Economy.”
Baltimore Sun

“It's pretty hard to read Kurt Eichenwald's history of the economic disaster known as "Enron" without feeling one's jaw drop... I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN.”
Wisconsin State Journal