Soltes refutes popular 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. Instead, he shows that most of these executives make decisions the way we all do - on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings.
Based on extensive interaction with nearly 50 former executives, Soltes provides insights into why some saw the immediate effects of misconduct as positive, why executives often don't feel the emotions most people would expect, and how acceptable norms in the business community can differ from those of the broader society.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By rikki on 10-07-18
a great insight to white collar crime
"it did not seem like a bad crime when I started doing it, not like I mugged an old lady for her handbag" seems to be the general excuse of these guys who fiddled accounts/stocks etc for millions. some really honest chats with people who moved over the line into a grey area and then found they could not stop digging a hole for themselves
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kevin on 22-10-16
insight into the slippery slope of fraud
the book provides an insight into some of the biggest fraud cases of recent history. but more importantly it describes how these executives fell into the clutches of fraud before they realized it was too late
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Philo on 22-10-16
Wide ranging, from psych studies to perps' words
This work covers quite a wide swath of business ethics, paired often and deftly with laws and case histories. It starts with a treatise on "why they do it," i.e., why humans do aberrant and illegal things, that is plodding in a few passages though always alright at least (or better), and improves as it moves to case histories. The cherry on top is the writings of various of the infamous perps on their motives and perceptions, paired with nice capsule recountings of their companies' stories. The assembled perp letters vary from (in my opinion) catalogs of energetic blame deflection and flagrant pilings-on of yet more self-aggrandizing and righteously aggrieved, dubious "realities" (Stanford), to echoes of the thrill of the clever whiz-kid unveiling ever-more abstruse financial tricks to accolades of the world, as they plunge onward (Fastow, and, to some degree, in his earlier trades-and-exchanges-innovating career phase, Madoff). We get to see step by step and often in their own words, just how these figures moved from ambitious performers to criminals. This transition is of central importance to me, as a professor teaching business ethics. It is not the headline, but the little incremental shifts that add up to the turnoff onto the wrong road. It was smart of the author to intuit that these personalities, shunted off their former glory-platforms into ill-repute, would have strong motives to again alight on a platform (the correspondence behind this book) to get attention and explain themselves. Parts of this will be familiar to readers with a history of studying the fraud and ethics genres and the financial press. But the whole is a good refresher with some fresh angles on things and people I have already scrutinized. The perps in all cases shed bits of light I hadn't seen elsewhere. The author is quite thoughtful in exploring the fuzzy edges of laws as these play out in fast-breaking business situations. The distance between an innovative solution that is lawful or not, can be narrow, and this is masterfully walked through.
24 of 26 people found this review helpful