Archive: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a documentary film that investigates one of the largest business scandals in American history. Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind wrote the best-selling book on which it is based.

The Art of Enron

Most people can bear adversity; but if you wish to know what a man really is give him power. This is the supreme test.
—Robert G. Ingersoll, Unity 1883

Unless you happened to work at Vermont’s Ben and Jerry’s in 1985 when the 5 to 1 rule was in effect1, America’s corporations, unwittingly or not, promote a type of culture that is “dog-eat-dog”. Under such merit-based systems, ambitious employees clock in long hours and rely on a variety of skills to climb the competitive corporate ladder. The highest tier of company leadership is where the best fruits of labor can be enjoyed.

Enron executives took this culture model and its fruits to an unprecedented level. For them, the culture wasn’t confined to activities in Enron’s trading floors and accounting offices; for this precious few, it became a way of life in which nothing was ever enough. Continue reading The Art of Enron