The smartest guys in the room

I’ve just finished reading this book, which tells the story of Enron, the American power company who raised to incredible fame and generated ridiculous amounts of money to its shareholders $-$ mostly by cooking its books, through “creative accounting”.

I found the book quite interesting, if a times slightly difficult and technical (but then again, I suppose that’s the nature of this story, which spans over nearly 2 decades of American Corporate finance) $-$ it took me nearly 2 months to read it all!

Reading the book, you are obviously drawn to physically hate the protagonists and their greed $-$ at times it really feels like Enron (and the likes) are all that is wrong with the world. But equally, I couldn’t help but admiring some of their business ideas, which most of the times were way ahead of their competitors.

I had got into the Enron story when I went to see this play a few years ago $-$ I vaguely remember the story but evidently, at the time I hadn’t registered it for all its implications (which kind of annoys me, right now). Also, the story got me thinking about how most of our students are still in awe of a career in finance $-$ every time I tell one of my academic tutees about the many other possibilities for a statistician in areas other than that, they all look so surprised that such things even exist…

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