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

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

by Eugene Soltes


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541774179
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 1,251,867
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Eugene Soltes is the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His research on corporate malfeasance has been cited by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, and Bloomberg News. Professor Soltes teaches in Harvard Business School's executive education programs and is the recipient of the Charles M. Williams Award for Outstanding Teaching. He received his PhD and MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and his AM in statistics and AB in economics from Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Managing in the Gray 1

Part I The Struggle to Criminalize

1 "Not… bucket-shop operators, dead-beats, and fly-by-night swindlers": Pillars of the Community 13

2 "Guys… don't drop out of windows for no reason": Creating the White-Collar Criminal 33

Part II Nature Or Nurture? Reasoning Or Intuition?

3 "Inherently inferior organisms": Bad People Making Bad Decisions 47

4 "I thought it was all going to pass": A Press Release with Consequences 65

5 "If you don't take it then you will regret it forever": The Triumph of Reason 81

6 "I never once thought of the costs versus rewards": Intuitive Decisions 99

7 "I never felt that I was doing anything wrong" Overlooking Harm 115

8 "If there was something wrong with this transaction, wouldn't people have told me?": The Difficulty of Being Good 131

Part III The Business of Malfeasance

9 "You can't make the argument that the public was harmed by anything I did": Misleading Disclosure 165

10 "Unfortunately, the world is not black and white": Financial Reporting Fraud 175

11 "You go from just being on top of the world": Insider Trading 201

12 "I thought we were freakin' geniuses": Deceptive Financial Structures 227

13 "You couldn't stop because you would wreck everything": The Ponzi Scheme 257

14 "When I look back, it wasn't as if I couldn't have said no": Bernie Madoff 287

Conclusion: Toward Greater Humility 309

Acknowledgments 331

Illustration Credits 337

Notes 339

Bibliography 397

Index 435

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Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As the Director of the first ministry in the U.S. created to support individuals and families with white-collar and nonviolent incarceration issues, and as someone who served time in a Federal prison for a white-collar crime I committed when I was a lawyer, I can state unequivocally that Professor Soltes's methodology and his conclusions are "pure rubbish." Why They Do It, and the press releases and media attention surrounding it, are shamelessly exploitive and are designed solely to sell books; they inflame bigotry and hatred and paint people with a broad brush designed to promote stigma, shunning and Schadenfreude (unfortunately, themes for our time it seems). I am sure if we re-interviewed his subjects, most or all would say they had been duped into letting down their guards in sharing intensely personal details of their lives and feelings on the promise and belief that Soltes's book would be fair and balanced. We have worked with hundreds of men, women and families involved in and suffering from these matters, and most are not the subjects of the sensationalized headlines that Soltes claims to have interviewed. In fact, the overwhelming majority are ordinary people, professionals who live down the street, whose children play with yours, who simply got in over their heads due to desperation, addiction, compulsion or mental illness. Most didn't have the ego strength to simply talk to their spouses and admit that life was not going the way they had hoped and dreamed, until they had stepped over the line and it was too late. Contrary to Soltes's core thesis statement, almost all are mired in shame, guilt and remorse and are going through some kind of transformation from a material life to a more spiritual one. What other choice do they (we) have? Especially when treated more harshly than persons convicted of murder and other violent crimes. Our society has evolved enough to give violent criminals a second chance, and indeed everyone deserves our empathy, compassion and kindness. But white-collar criminals have little such chance, largely because of the kind of book written by Professor Soltes. Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div Founder/Director, Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc., Greenwich CT & Nationwide, prisonist.org