24 Days: How Two Wall Street Journal Reporters Uncovered the Lies that Destroyed Faith in Corporate America

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Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - Business & Economics - 432 pages
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This is the story of Rebecca Smith and John R. Emshwiller, the two reporters who led the Wall Street Journal's reporting on Enron and uncovered the unorthodox partnerships at the heart of the scandal through skill, luck, and relentless determination.

It all started in August 2001when Emshwiller was assigned to write a supposedly simple article on the unexpected resignation of Enron CEO Jeff Skilling. During his research, Emshwiller uncovered a buried reference to an off-balance-sheet partnership called LJM. Little did he know, this was the start of a fast and furious ride through the remarkable downfall of a once highly-prized company.

Written in an intense, fast paced narrative style, 24 Days tells the gripping story of the colossal collapse of what would become the world's most notorious corporation. The reader follows along as Smith and Emshwiller continue to uncover new partnerships and self-dealing among the highest levels of Enron's management. As they publish articles detailing their findings in the Journal, Wall Street and individual investors have a crisis of confidence and start selling Enron stock at unprecedented levels of volume. In the end - 24 short days later - Enron had completely collapsed, erasing 16 years of growth and losing $19 billion in market value while watching the stock drop from $33.84 to $8.41. Not only was the company destroyed, but investors and retired employees were completely wiped out-all the while Enron executives were collecting millions of dollars.

Climaxing with this 24-day period, this book shows the reporter's-eye view of a David-and-Goliath battle between journalists and a giant corporation. Each day a new story uncovered another fact; each day the company issued denials. And when the investigative stories reached critical mass and momentum, the stock market cast its final vote of no confidence. In the tradition of Indecent Exposure and Barbarians at the Gate, two other gripping narratives that began as a series of Wall Street Journal stories and ended up as books that defined an era, 24 Days brings the importance of great investigative journalism to life.


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User Review  - terbby - LibraryThing

I just finished reading the Kindle version after finding a recommendation in Library Thing. The subject of the Enron collapse is fascinating but this is not the best coverage of the subject. The ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dakin - LibraryThing

Great recap of how the Enron story unfolded. Terrific ideas for reporting. Read full review


Out CEO Is Resigning
Whos Andy Fastow?
You Wont Believe What Skilling Just Told Me
I Have Found That Mt Lay Doesnt Take Kindly to Ctiticism
It Isnt a Conflict of Intetest
Youte Just Sctatching the Sutface
You Ate About to Topple a 20B House of Catds
I Want to Be CFO of the Yeat
Does Ken Lay Know About This Meeting?
Dont Apptoach Theit People Again
At Least Wete Going to Be Pat t of the Biggest
Laydoff com
Thete Will Be Something Else Fun and Exciting on
Enton Has a Ptoblem You May Want to Wtite About
We Notified Entons Audit Committee of Possible Illegal Acts
Do You Guys Have a Shteddet Hete?

Its Okay to Have a Conflict
Make the Joutnal Go Away
He Would Have Done Nothing to Hatm Enton
Amend My Last Statement
You Missed Something That Could Be Really Big
Looks Like the SEC Read Yout Stoties
Thete Is an Appeatance That You Ate Hiding Something
Oh 1 Expect to Be in the Office All Weekend
Those Liats
Youve Got to Be Kidding Me
Thete Was a Young Tutk Attoganre
Next Titne Fastow Is Going to Run a Racket 1 Want to
The Attogance The Lack of Accountability
Entons CFO Koppet and Othets Devised a Scheme to Deftaud
If It Isnt Ctiminal It Ought to Be

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About the author (2009)

Rebecca Smith is a national energy reporter in the Los Angeles bureau of the Wall Street Journal. She won the Gerald Loeb Award in 1996 and 2001.

John R. Emshwiller, a senior national correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, has spent most of the past decade covering white-collar crime and related issues. He is the author of Scam Dogs & Mo-Mo Mamas. Together, Smith and Emshwiller shared the 2002 Gerald Loeb Award for their coverage of Enron.

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