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"Companies continue to try to spin their earnings news comparable to the worst levels seen in the 1990s." AP (Assoc. Press), March 23, 2005
"Sayles and Smith have covered all the bases with a comprehensive, yet fascinating, analysis of what has been ailing our capital market system. A system that has given us such high standards of living. A recommended read for those who not only want to understand what is going on in the corporate world, but why it is going on. Congratulations."
—Frank Kolhatkar, Retired Chairman and Executive Director of the Global Financial Services Industries Practice, Deloitte
"This book confronts, head-on, the problems that have beset American, and world, business over the last decade. The authors boldly go to the heart of the problem; to a business culture that has lost sight of fundamentals in pursuit of the illusions of rapid growth and personal gain. This is a call for action, by CEOs, boards of directors, investors, regulators, and the public at large, everyone with a stake in our business system. Anyone worried about the future of American business and American corporate culture should read this book."
—Morgan Witzel, Editor-in-Chief of Corporate Finance Review and Columnist, The Financial Times
"The authors have provided a 'must read' autopsy of just about all that's wrong with American business today. It is a 'must read' for investors interested in why we are where we are."
—Graef Crystal, Pay Expert and Columnist, Bloomberg News
"Sayles and Smith make a compelling case that rogue business executives received a lot of help from others: economists, business schools, apologists, a compliant Congress, under funded regulatory agencies, a gullible press, as well as sleazy professional auditors and accountants—all of which contributed to the great market crash of 2000 and the persistent corporate scandals. Seeking unprecedented individual gains, many members of the business community forgot their commitment to personal integrity, which maintains an essential trust among strangers, which binds all members in the larger society."
—James Kuhn, Courtney C. Brown Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
"We can pretend that we live in a progressive society and are protected as citizens and investors, or we can read the evidence in Sayles' and Smith's book and start to face reality. This book is a strong reminder of the breadth and depth of white collar crime and greed's piercing and pervasive impact on all of us."
—L.S. (Al) Rosen, Forensic Accountant, Rosen & Associates Limited
Billions of dollars continue to be lost by companies and investors due to the pervasive impact of manipulative, self-serving executives. Financial scandals aren't unknown in U.S. business history, but today's growing problem of executive excesses and self-serving behavior is unprecedented in both its persistence and pervasiveness. Executives continue to plunder their companies and rip off their stockholders. This book reveals the true breadth and depth of corporate corruption—including flagrant new cases that haven't received the publicity they deserve. More important, it answers the questions that matter most: Why now? And how can we stop it? The authors identify powerful forces that cut across management, finance, the economy, politics, and even psychology. They identify rarely discussed contributing factors, such as the consulting boom, new technologies used by accounting and auditing professionals, the transformation of business schools, journalism, and the media in general. This book addresses both criminal activity and the not-quite-illegal abuses that are now endemic in the executive suite—abuses that challenge the underpinnings of capitalism. Its deep insights will help both leaders and citizens understand exactly what's happened and what is needed to stem the tide of destructive behavior.
How the tail started wagging the dog
The unanticipated consequences of large-scale executive stock ownership
The technology of deceit
How information technology makes abuse easier to execute—and easier to hide
The silence of the lambs
How the media and academia contribute to the problem
The mythic executive
Overwhelming greed, excessive compensation...and feet of clay
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About the Authors.
1. The Tipping Point: How Good Companies Go Bad and Executives Become Rogues.
2. American Business at Risk: Picking Up the Pieces and Looking Ahead.
3. The Stock Market and Executive Decision Making.
4. Black Boxes and Big Black Lies.
5. The Shocking Destruction of Arthur Andersen, Auditing’s Gold Standard.
6. Auditing the Public’s Auditors.
7. Directors: Why the Weak Oversight.
8. Too Silent Critics: Journalism.
9. Too Silent Critics: Academe.
10. Fees Galore.
11. How We Nearly Lost American Capitalism.
12. The Mythic CEO: Why Real Leaders Became an Endangered Species.
13. Seeking and Valuing Real Leadership.
14. We Can Do Better.
From the Authors.
Addendum: Supreme Court Overturns Arthur Andersen.