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Why they do it : inside the mind of the white-collar criminal

Author: Eugene Soltes
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, [2016]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Rarely does a week go by without a well-known executive being indicted for engaging in a white-collar crime. Perplexed as to what drives successful, wealthy people to risk it all, Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes took a remarkable journey deep into the minds of these white-collar criminals, spending seven years in the company of the men behind the largest corporate crimes in history-from the
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Genre/Form: True crime stories
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Soltes, Eugene, author.
Why they do it
New York : PublicAffairs, 2016
(DLC) 2016026144
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Eugene Soltes
ISBN: 9781610395366 1610395360
OCLC Number: 945231947
Description: viii, 448 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Prologue: Managing in the gray --
The struggle to criminalize. "Not...bucket-shop operators, dead-beats, and fly-by-night swindlers" : pillars of the community ; "Guys...don't drop out of windows for no reason" : creating the white-collar criminal --
Nature or nurture? Reasoning or intuition?. "Inherently inferior organisms" : bad people making bad decisions ; "I thought it was all going to pass" : a press release with consequences ; "If you don't take it then you will regret it forever" : the triumph of reason ; "I never once thought of the costs versus rewards" : intuitive decisions ; "I never felt that I was doing anything wrong" : overlooking harm ; "If there was something wrong with this transaction, wouldn't people have told me?" : the difficulty of being good --
The business of malfeasance. "You can't make the argument that the public was harmed by anything I did" : misleading disclosure ; "Unfortunately, the world is not black and white" : financial reporting fraud ; "You go from just being on top of the world" : insider trading ; "I thought we were freakin' geniuses" : deceptive financial structures ; "You couldn't stop because you would wreck everything" : the Ponzi scheme ; "When I look back, it wasn't as if I couldn't have said no" : Bernie Madoff --
Conclusion: Toward greater humility.
Responsibility: Eugene Soltes.

Abstract:

"Rarely does a week go by without a well-known executive being indicted for engaging in a white-collar crime. Perplexed as to what drives successful, wealthy people to risk it all, Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes took a remarkable journey deep into the minds of these white-collar criminals, spending seven years in the company of the men behind the largest corporate crimes in history-from the financial fraudsters of Enron, to the embezzlers at Tyco, to the Ponzi schemers Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. Drawing on intimate details from personal visits, letters, and phone calls with these former executives, as well as psychological, sociological, and historical research, Why They Do It is a breakthrough look at the dark side of the business world. Soltes refutes popular but simplistic explanations of why seemingly successful executives engage in crime. White-collar criminals, he shows, are not merely driven by excessive greed or hubris, nor do they usually carefully calculate the costs and benefits before breaking the law and see it's worth the risk. Instead, he shows that most of these executives make decisions the way we all do-on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. The trouble is, these gut feelings are often poorly suited for the modern business world. Based on extensive interaction with nearly fifty former executives-many of whom have never spoken about their crimes-Soltes provides insights into why some saw the immediate effects of misconduct as positive, why executives often don't feel the emotions (angst, guilt, shame) most people would expect, and how acceptable norms in the business community can differ from those of the broader society"--

"Perplexed as to why people who seemingly had it all would risk it all just to acquire more, Eugene Soltes began an investigation into the mind of the corporate criminal. His journey into this netherworld included intense and lengthy personal interactions with the famous (such as Bernie Madoff, executives from Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, and McKinsey) as well as those who are lesser known--all of whom traded places of privilege for prison and disgrace. Based on intimate details from personal visits, interviews, letters and phone calls and fascinating psychological, sociological and historical insight, Why They Do It is a breakthrough look at a modern phenomenon. Soltes pushes beyond the explanation that these criminals were driven by psychological aberration, overconfidence, or excessive greed and ambition. Nor did they rationally calculate the costs and benefits of their crimes. Instead, these people were working in a "grey zone"--stepping over the line, often without careful calculation, letting their intuition and gut feel for what is right and wrong elude them. Based on innovative research and extended contact with close to 50 former executives--many of whom have never spoken about their crimes--Soltes provides insights such as why some saw the immediate effects of misconduct as positive; why executives often don't feel the emotions--angst, guilt, shame--most people would expect; and how acceptable norms in the business community can differ from those of the broader society. No one book has provided a complete picture of this phenomenon of the white-collar criminal. Why They Do It is an original, provocative, and compelling analysis of a complex disturbing trend that will, with the ever-increasing globalization of business, continue to worsen"--

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"This is a must-read... I was fascinated by Soltes' book. He interviewed four dozen prisoners -- including Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford (Ponzi schemes), Scott London and Sam Waksal (insider Read more...

 
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