Brad Feld

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Shadow Account – Stephen Frey

Jun 03, 2004
Category Books

Two books in one day – that’s either a long day or a delightful absence of television from my life.

Stephen Frey’s Shadow Account is fun (4 of 5 stars). Frey is a managing director at Winston Partners – a Virgina-based private equity firm and hedge fund, so think of him as the up-and-coming John Grisham of Wall Street.

The protagonist – an up-and-coming investment banker – gets tangled up in a complex story line that is based around an accounting fraud ala Worldcom / Enron. Unlike a lot of other books of this genre, Frey actually takes time out from the endless drama and plot turns to cogently describe key issues that apply to the real world (such as Chapter 8 where he addresses the question “… explain how a public company can manipulate its earnings.” Fifteen pages later he’s done a nice job of it in a way that keeps you in the story. This happens a few times in the book – which makes it a little easier to justify as on the border of the junk book category (notwithstanding the murders – real and fake, prostitutes, infidelity, insider trading, government conspiracy, and a senior white house staff that reminds me of the one in charge right now (minus Tenet).

I haven’t read any of Frey’s other books, but they’ll go on my mental floss pile.