Buy, Lie, and Sell High: How Investors Lost Out on Enron and the Internet Bubble. By D. Quinn Mills; published by Financial Times Prentice Hall, www.prenhall.com (Web); 288 pages; $21.60.
Virtually everyone in the stock market in 2001 and 2002 was blindsided by the Internet bubble and various corporate frauds. How did it happen? Who is to blame? For insightful, authoritative answers, a good place to turn is to Harvard Business School Professor D. Quinn Mills's book .
A little business acumen--or at least interest--is a prerequisite for enjoying this book. Mills discusses the business environment of the late 1990s and the process of funding entrepreneurial ideas, from securing venture capital to taking a business public. Funding criteria changed as the dotcom era progressed, explains Mills, who drew much of his information from interviews with participants in the Internet bubble expansion and explosion.
From 1995 to 2000, many businesses that weren't ready were taken public, according to Mills. Venture capital firms looking to capitalize on the Internet frenzy threw money at them. To compete in this hot market, banks relaxed their lending requirements to these startups. Investors saw only the potential to make fast dollars; they ignored the downside risk of the stock market.
The book includes warning signs and lessons learned from rapid startups. The larger picture is viewed through the infamous Enron debacle, among other business failures. While the book is a little thin on how the frauds were actually perpetrated, the result is still worthwhile for corporate security managers interested in learning how executives can underhandedly manipulate their businesses.
Reviewer: R.A. (Andy) Wilson, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), is a founder and managing director of Wilson & Turner Incorporated, an investigative consulting firm, where he specializes in the prevention, identification, investigation, and resolution of employee crime. He is a fraud examiner and a frequent speaker and author on fraud investigation, fidelity-insurance recovery, and related topics for various industry organizations. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis. He serves on the Economic Crime Council of ASIS International.