Thursday, October 5, 2017

Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal, by Eugene Soltes (author, narrator), Johnny Heller (narrator)

Highbridge, a Division of Recorded Books, October 2016

Eugene Soltes examines the problem of white collar crime--what makes some of the most successful and respected businessmen in the country (and the world, but his focus is mainly on the US) commit financial crimes that destroy their careers and land them in jail. He takes a hard and detailed look at how our views of white collar crime have evolved, as well as why white collar criminals do it.

The most fascinating parts of the book are the profiles of major white collar criminals, and the ways in which they justified their crimes to themselves. What I found a bit hard to swallow is the Enron story, in which the company officers are presented as succumbing to the desire to be clever and successful, with no sense that they were going to be hurting anyone. This would be easier to take if we didn't have audio of Enron traders laughing about "Grandma Millie."

So, please. I think there's a lot of good work here that Sontes has done. I think he does add a lot to our understanding of what lets successful businessmen (and he says that even now it really is almost all men who get caught in this trap) get drawn into white collar crime when they have no need to do it. I don't regret at all any of the time I spent listening to this audiobook, or the money spent on it.

But I'd like to sit down with him for a long chat about some parts of it.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.