April 15, 2019

In a new blog series that we're calling, "Powerful Reading," our team of energy trading consultants at MidDel Consulting will be sharing and summarizing some of their favorite books.  These books have not only influenced them in the excellent work that they do for our clients as energy consultants, but have also helped them gain perspective on a variety of global issues as we continue to strive to build a culture of lifelong learning. Today, we start with a book entitled:

Smartest Guys in the Room

by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind 2004

Although it has been more than 15 years since the fall of Enron, the lessons learned, the factors that led to its demise and the repercussions of the actions of a few must not be forgotten. Few scandals have been documented as well as that in Smartest Guys in the Room.

After several years of massive growth and a skyrocketing share price, co-author Bethany McLean, while reporting Enron’s activities for Fortune magazine, began asking the right questions and subsequently released the article, "Is Enron Overpriced?" in April 2001. Others, both inside and outside Enron, began digging deeper and found that the financial structure propping up the entity was not as it seemed.

Within months, the stock lost its value and was delisted, the company declared bankruptcy, and employees lost their life saving and their jobs. The book describes in detail the personalities involved in creating the seemingly perfect company and how they manipulated investors, creditors, auditors, rating agencies and regulators.

Anyone working in the energy industry, accounting, finance and many other related disciplines will find numerous takeaways from this definitive narrative on one of the biggest scandals in US history, including the notion that a company cannot run exclusively with type-A personalities.

Scott Pederson is a Certified Public Accountant and is a Senior Energy Consultant with MidDel Consulting, a Business Consulting firm and System Integrator specializing in the Energy industry. We have over a decade long track record of successful project implementations and a client list that is 100% referenceable. For more information, email us at info@middelgrp.com or call 952-500-9275.