Enron Mail

Subject:Enron Book Project
Date:Thu, 3 Jan 2002 08:10:05 -0800 (PST)

Dear Ken:

When the timing is right, I would like to visit with you (and Linda if appropriate) to discuss my idea of writing a scholarly but lively history of Enron. My working title is Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Enron. Perhaps the "Fall" is premature, but it will be revised accordingly if a stunning comeback is achieved. One of the advantages of a longer book is that the last chapter will be on industry developments a year or two out to see there things really land with or without Enron.

What I have in mind is a two-year research and writing project--or longer. It would develop your history through Transco and then begin when John Duncan recruited you to Enron. The history, unlike the books we are likely to see in the next year, would fully develop a number of energy, political economy, and corporate culture themes. I will, of course, bring in all the recent and forthcoming events as the climax, but the buildup is what will distinguish the book. I anticipate it would be akin to "The Prize," but instead of the "epic quest for oil, money, and power" the Enron story would be the "epic" or "fatal" quest to create the world's leading company.

This is a book for history. The operative word is understanding. The book is not intended to preserve Enron's legacy or your legacy per se but to teach the world about what happened and why. There will be many positives in the story but there will be negatives--maybe a lot of negatives. I will be happy to discuss some of my hypotheses of the negatives and sensitivities with you up front. I truly believe that a totally candid analysis of the situation is the best legacy that Enron or you can bequeath to the business and public policy world. Personally for all of us who have been hurt, it is the best foundation to move forward and once again hang our heads high. The past cannot be undone. (And interestingly, there is a remarkable historical precedent for what happened to Enron and you in the energy-centered story of Samuel Insull--so you have pretty good company.)

I heard through the grapevine that you are thinking of writing your own book. That is a good idea for several reasons. But I want to discuss what my book would be about in the hopes that I can interview you over the course of the research and writing. If so, your autobiography could come after my book where you face up to all the tough questions and have the "last say." You would also have a secure foundation from my book with all your accomplishments.

I have about a month to finish a detailed outline of the book and produce some writing samples. An agent will shop the proposal around, and we will see if the advance is enough to proceed. (I got fairly wiped out by the crash.) I am also investigating having a co-author involved on the "Fall" side, while I work on the "Rise" side. I also might get some foundations or investors involved to make the economics work, and the early indication is that there will be support. A lot of people would be very supportive of a full history rather than what we are likely to see in the next year.

I have a PowerPoint presentation on the potential book and will be happy to visit with you. It might be better to visit at the Huntington, but the office is fine also. My home and work phone is 713-266-3934.

Best wishes,

- Rob