Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal

Why They Do It Inside the Mind of the White Collar Criminal From the financial fraudsters of Enron to the embezzlers at Tyco to the insider traders at McKinsey to the Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff the failings of corporate titans are regular fixtures in the

  • Title: Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal
  • Author: Eugene Soltes
  • ISBN: 9781610395366
  • Page: 429
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the financial fraudsters of Enron, to the embezzlers at Tyco, to the insider traders at McKinsey, to the Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, the failings of corporate titans are regular fixtures in the news But what drives wealthy and powerful people to white collar crime Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes draws from extensive personal interaction and correspoFrom the financial fraudsters of Enron, to the embezzlers at Tyco, to the insider traders at McKinsey, to the Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, the failings of corporate titans are regular fixtures in the news But what drives wealthy and powerful people to white collar crime Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes draws from extensive personal interaction and correspondence with nearly fifty former executives as well as the latest research in psychology, criminology, and economics to investigate how once celebrated executives become white collar criminals The product of seven years in the company of the men behind the largest corporate crimes in history, Why They Do It is a breakthrough look at the dark side of the business world.Soltes reveals how the usual explanations fail to tell the whole story of why many seemingly successful people go over the line White collar criminals are not merely driven by excessive greed or hubris, nor do they usually carefully calculate costs and benefits before breaking the law Instead, Soltes shows that most of the executives who committed crimes made decisions the way we all do on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings The trouble is that these gut feelings are often poorly suited for the modern business world where leaders are increasingly distanced from the consequences of their decisions and the individuals they impact.The extraordinary costs of corporate misconduct are clear to its victims Yet, never before have we been able to peer so deeply into the minds of the many prominent perpetrators of white collar crime With the increasing globalization of business threatening us with even devastating corporate misconduct, the lessons Soltes draws in Why They Do It are needed urgently than ever.

    One thought on “Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal”

    1. This book is nonfiction and it is exactly what the title says it is. I found this so fascinating as the author examines the human psyche of these men who are or were in prison for their white-collar crimes. It blew my mind that some still don't think they did anything wrong because after all, they didn't hurt anyone. The author mentioned that people may tell a lie when selling a car about how much they paid for it (which isn't a crime), but if they tell that same kind of lie in the financial wor [...]

    2. Soltes has successfully walked me through the history of white-collar crime, outlined the whys and hows, put forward some possible remedies and introduced me to several convicted white-collar criminals, including the Big Kahuna of NYC Ponzi fame. I was baffled and angered by super successful men becoming criminals. Before the book, I saw them as entitled psychopaths. Or perhaps as malignant, antisocial narcissists like my muse, our oh-so transparent Tweeter in Chief. Apparently, white-collar cri [...]

    3. - How you doing Buddy?- Great, Caroline. Doing any better would be a sin, - replies Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox in Oliver Stone's Wall Street (1987), and that's how the movie begins.Why They Do It is a very timely book about white collar sins, and how we need to think very well about today's society, human psychology and the very basics of the structure of capitalism before we can really judge white collar criminals. There are millions of books written about choices that lead to success, but this i [...]

    4. 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 w [...]

    5. This book takes an academic approach to understanding the psychology that underlies white-collar crime, exploring current law enforcement understanding of the motives for white-collar crime, cases across the spectrum, from the seemingly psychologically normal executive who goes too far in information sharing to the seemingly sociopathic. Soltes gives a chilling example of the ease with which Madoff changed the subject from his son's death to dry financial concepts, seemingly untouched by the los [...]

    6. Insightful and interesting look at White Collar Crime. This book answered many of the questions I've had on White Collar Crime, however, some points could have been stressed a bit more. It almost seemed like the author didn't want to put his foot down on certain things so instead, he let them hang in the air. This book should be used in criminology courses as a backup to explain Sutherland's ideas a little further.

    7. Eugene Soltes presents innovative views about why white collar criminals commit their crimes. The first part of the book lays some necessary groundwork, including criminal justice theories and history. Then it gets increasingly interesting as he relates those theories to the extensive interviews he conducted of white collar criminals. Any business executive, accountant, corporate lawyer, regulator, or prosecutor can learn something useful from this book.

    8. Eugene Soltes' book is a much-needed and far-ranging scholarly exploration of white collar offenders' motivations for their behavior, told from first-hand accounts of "Celebrity" offenders like Marc Dreier, Bernie Madoff, and Allan Stanford. There is an absolute vacuum of such studies in the space of sociology and anthropology, and although Soltes is a business professor, this work is largely located in the social science space, although there is a good deal of discussion of business ethics as w [...]

    9. Solid on exploring the motivation, rich in examples, weak on identifying the enablers Why do they do it? Soltes builds good evidence with a tremendous number of case studies to answer this tricky question from the motivational perspective, but I think he goes a little easy on the perpetrators and the current system of enablers. I understand why the author avoids the self-righteous tone. After all, the criminals became his pen pals as he worked on this book, and he met quite a few of them in-pers [...]

    10. As one who has conducted qualitative research, I appreciated the enormous amount of work that went into Soltes' Why They Do It. Undoubtedly hundreds of hours of interviews, and a multiple of that in analysis, not to mention writing and crafting the book itself. All of which has resulted in a worthy read, especially for those who, like myself, are interested in finding ways to help young business professionals become better able to recognize and appropriately handle the ethical dilemmas that come [...]

    11. If you are looking at the title of this book and were interested enough to actually look at reviews, you are likely the type of person that would love this book. The book is incredibly well written and moreover, well researched. After reading it, you will be surprised with the knowledge you walk away with from such an entertaining read.I have found prior efforts in this literature to offer knee-jerk platitudes as the causal mechanisms in these crimes, providing the most obvious and uninsightful [...]

    12. While this book is quite interesting and very informative (hey, who would've known that greed isn't the only reason why people commit white-collar crimes??), it's not exactly the sort of reading you do for fun. It is very factual and it doesn't go straight to the point: it usually tells small anecdotes and examples of the kinds of white-collar crimes (some of them don't even sound like criminal activities) and goes all the way through the consequences of the criminals' acts until it actually get [...]

    13. Wrongdoing comes after 3 factor line up:1. A need2. An opportunity3. An excuseIt happens mostly "without thinking" and starts smallThe text made me think of how much the critical reflexion that sometimes goes on during a church sermon or when one reads the Bible can help stave off the arrogance that will/would eventually fell many. Sometimes the author seems to fail understanding orders of magnitude (when he compares faults of grotesquely different dimensions and calls them similar) and sometime [...]

    14. Greed and profits are the biggest incentives in business. Good detail on how out-of-touch smart guys get caught up in the cycle of success. They so minimize their role and deflect all blame (ex. "everyone else is doing it"). They have no accountability or connection to their workers. They are in complete silo echo chambers of ego, not engaging in deliberative reason. Disturbing how so many brilliant minds want to "game" the system with complicated financial maneuvers to hide losses and profits t [...]

    15. This is a BIG book. There is so much good information here about the psychology of the people who perpetuate white collar crimes, the business world both past and present, the difficulties in examining corporate wrongdoing, and discussion for how to make white collar crime less pervasive.Excellent.

    16. I listened to this on audio-book and did not enjoy the voice of the narrator. So that may have negatively biased my review.In general, I found this to be a pretty boring book that did not provide a ton of actionable takeaways. It seemed to attempt to justify the behavior of many white collar criminals by humanizing these men (and yes, they are all men) through personal narratives.

    17. Don't waste your time on the first 2/3 of this books, boring, dry, rules, laws, blah, blah. Last 1/3 speaks of specific individuals and their malfeasances. Final chapters offers insights and solutions.

    18. This book does a great job of diving into people who have committed financial crimes, while showing how one could fall into these positions. The book also manages to keep it interesting, and paces well.

    19. Through reading this book I generated a blog post, here: ozhamada-observes. Particularly favoured the author's first person interviews and research. It is a well developed book that has benefitted greatly from editing and peer advice. I'd happily read this author's work again.

    20. Had to read for school but a really awesome perspective on why people do and act the way they do both based on your experiences and also how you justify actions. Loved it!

    21. So, do you buy into another person's reasoning for their thinking that led to their criminal behavior? This is an interesting look at how people and society think. Worth the read. 4.3 ⭐️'s

    22. Elicited good discussion. Made me think about the accounting "rules" I was taught when I worked for a very large corporation. Happy to have read such a thorough study by a local resident.

    23. So I read it to hit 10,000 pages for the year. Well I did that, but can't such more about it. It was fine but nothing riveting as a business case study.

    24. So soI would have preferred more dialogue with the perpetrators rather than an assessment. Interesting, but I felt there was more to be learned.

    25. A fascinating look inside the minds of people who commit white collar crime. Soltes takes a deeper look at why men (and yes it is pretty much always men) who have so much already would feel the need to engage in criminal activities. What Soltes finds is that the crimes these men commit are really a series of missteps rather than a conscious decision to commit a crime. Soltes suggests that, while seminars on ethics are good, what a lot of people in the business industry really need is an outside [...]

    26. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but when I heard an interview with the author on NPR, I decided this one would be interesting. The thing that struck me most from the interview is that the people who committed white-collar crimes don't even think they did anything wrong, even after being convicted. That's why I decided to read the book.The first parts of the book are more about the psychology behind criminal misdeeds, and how our beliefs about them have changed over time from the days where peo [...]

    27. A creepily fascinating account of corporate misdoing by Eugene Soltes, a Harvard business professor, who has interviewed a number of prominent individuals convicted of insider trading, accounting fraud, Ponzi schemes, and other forms of white-collar crime, including Bernie Madoff. He doesn't really succeed in explaining why they do it, although he points out that the great majority of businessmen do not commit such actions. Many of the miscreants did not start out intending to commit fraud, and [...]

    28. Very good read on a topic, white collar crime, that doesn't usually get a book length treatment. I only have a minor complaints. First, his discussion of Mark Cuban's sale of Mamma after getting off the phone with it's C.E.O. was decided in court and was deemed to be NOT material non public information. The information was material. It altered Mark's investment decision but it was public. He gives all the convicted white collar criminals a voice in their defense but not Mark in his successful de [...]

    29. Fascinating book written by a Harvard business school prof. The first part of the book is history, which was actually really interesting to a non-business type like me. But it was more than history - kind of history, psychology, sociology, and economics rolled up together. Then came the stories of specific individuals. The author did a great job of delving into both the facts of each as well as the motivations. Though he offers thoughts on how to address white collar crime, I'm not sure there's [...]

    30. 3.5 star kind of book. The third part about the actual people and their acts was more interesting to me than the first part discussing biology of criminals and the history of thinking around why people commit crimes. The stories of white collar criminals in the third section really seemed to just say that each got into the circumstances unexpectedly and without much forethought. We all make millions of seemingly trivial decisions every day, and for some criminals, the way they started was throug [...]

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