Please try your request again later. Perhaps it was because I'd read Kurt Eichenwald's "Conspiracy of Fools" and may have felt that nothing could surpass that. An expert piece of journalism. “Shit happens,” he liked to say. It’s a compelling (and sometimes soapy) indictment of the worst side of business, and it queasily foreshadows the financial crisis of 2008. Then he stepped quietly through his large suburban Houston home, taking care not to awaken his two children. Meticulously researched and character driven, Smartest Guys in the Room takes the reader deep into Enron’s past—and behind the closed doors of private meetings. The public scrutiny Enron triggered exposed more epic business scandals—tales of cooked books and excess at companies like Tyco, WorldCom, and Adelphia. getAbstract maintains complete editorial responsibility for all parts of this Abstract. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. I had difficulty motivating myself to want to read this and most of the time I'd read a couple of pages and put it down for another day. There were dozens of books about Watergate, but only All the President's Men gave readers the full story, with all the drama and nuance and exclusive reporting. Enron, which once aspired to be known as “the world’s greatest company,” became a different kind of symbol—shorthand for all that was wrong with corporate America. Please try again. Contents. Addictive, for the compelling unfolding horror, Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2020. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, Previous page of related Sponsored Products. Countless books and articles were written about it, but only The Smartest Guys in the Room holds up a … Baxter was rich, too—thanks to a generous helping of stock options, a millionaire many times over. But he’d sold the boat several months earlier. However, the authors enrich and colour the story by giving in-depth descriptions of the members of Enron management, and by dropping in helpful context from elsewhere in the timeline. No matter what your politics, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" will make you mad. The door alarm didn’t make a sound as he entered the garage; he’d disabled the security system before turning in. Like its subject, The Smartest Guys in the Room is ambitious, grand in scope, and ruthless in its dealings. For 90 minutes, those who knew Baxter—family members, fellow “boat people” from his beloved yacht club, and Enron friends—heard warm stories about his gentler side. K en Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Andrew Fastow, and the rest of Enron’s upper management weasels are easy targets for condemnation, but rather than simply provide a damning critique of the company, Alex Gibney’s Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, allows the crooks—via congressional hearing footage, videos of in-house company speeches, phone conversations, and television … He stuffed pillows under the covers so his sleeping wife wouldn’t notice he was gone. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. And it exposed holes in our patchwork system of business oversight—shocking lapses by government regulators, auditors, banks, lawyers, Wall Street analysts, and credit agencies—shaking faith in U.S. financial markets. It tells the story of how Enron rose to become the seventh largest corporation in America with what was essentially a Ponzi scheme, and in its last days looted the retirement funds of its employees to buy a little more time. The emphasis is on human drama, from suicide to 20,000 people sacked: the personalities of Ken Lay (with Falwellesque rectitude), Jeff Skilling (he of big ideas), Lou Pai (gone with $250 M), and Andy Fastow (the dark prince) dominate. However, the authors enrich and colour the story by giving in-depth descriptions of the members of Enron management, and by dropping in helpful context from elsewhere in the timeline. Enron’s wash swamped the entire U.S. energy industry, wiping out hundreds of billions in stock value. It is very well written in a clear style which makes it easier to keep all the various plots (and there are many) straight in your head. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. The plaintiffs’ lawyers had named him as a defendant in a huge securities-fraud suit. Learn from a practitioner. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 5, 2015. Everyone seemed to be after him. The Texas memorial service took place after Baxter was buried in a private ceremony in his hometown on Long Island. We were doing God’s work.”   In the public eye, Enron’s mission was nothing more than the cover story for a massive fraud. So feared was this company, so powerful were its connections, so much was at stake that there was open speculation Baxter had actually been murdered—the target of a carefully staged hit, aimed at silencing him from spilling Enron’s darkest secrets. The Smartest Guys in the Room (2003) tells the remarkable tale of energy trader Enron – once a poster child for market innovation on Wall Street – and its dramatic fall from stratospheric heights. The president of the United States called Enron chairman Lay “Kenny Boy.” Enron had transformed the way gas and electricity flowed across the United States. No one, at this early stage, viewed Baxter as a major player in the company’s crash. This was interesting in concept but so dull to read. Baxter parked the car in the middle of the street, with the doors locked, the engine running, and the headlights burning. Today, Enron is the biggest business story of our time, and Fortune senior writers Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind are the new Woodward and Bernstein. Please try again. Top Contributor: Historical Fiction Books, Reviewed in the United States on October 11, 2015. Portfolio Trade; Reprint edition (September 28, 2004). Remarkably, it was just two years ago that Enron was thought to epitomize a great New Economy company, with its skyrocketing profits and share price. The Smartest Guys In the Room is a well-written, well-researched attempt to unravel the financial shenanigans that led to Enron’s bankruptcy. I love the play and film that are based on this book but the actual book itself is not my favourite. It tells the story of how Enron rose to become the seventh largest corporation in America with what was essentially a Ponzi scheme, and in its last days looted the retirement funds of its employees to buy a little more time. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. ... After seeing a play about Enron, I wanted to learn more. McLean, a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, lives in New York City. The investigation was “a travesty,” Skilling declared. I found the title of this book to be quite ironic, yet appropriate. Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2018. “You’re not going to find one memo where Skilling said, ‘Fuck with the numbers,’ ” he told a friend. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron - Ebook written by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. Find books like The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron from the world’s largest community of readers. And it is a truly overwhelming piece of research. And it had bankrolled audacious projects around the globe: state-of-the-art power plants in third world countries, a pipeline slicing through an endangered Brazilian forest, a steel mill on the coast of Thailand. “It makes me ashamed to be an American.”   Even after the bankruptcy filing, he continued to exult over the innovative ways in which Enron went about its business. Something went wrong. Magical.” The money wasn’t what really mattered to him, insisted Skilling, who had banked $70 million from Enron stock. Everyone left the service with a compact disc of his favorite songs, prepared with the help of J. C. Baxter, Cliff’s 16-year-old son. So well written that the complications of it all, seem pretty straightforward and make for a relatively easy read. It is very well written in a clear style which makes it easier to keep all the various plots (and there are many) straight in your head. On a cool Texas night in late January, Cliff Baxter slipped out of bed. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a 2005 Oscar-nominated documentary by Alex Gibney which charts the rise, peak, and fall of the energy corporation Enron; it is based on the 2003 book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany MacLean and Peter Elkind.. He was laid to rest in a plot he had secretly purchased there just a few weeks earlier, in the throes of his deepening funk. Baxter’s death had stoked the media bonfire and tossed a fresh element of tragedy into a bubbling stewpot of intrigue. Enron dives from the seventh largest US company to bankruptcy in less than a year in this tale told chronologically. Here we have spelled out, extreme capitalism, in its most self-serving, evil and destructive form. At 43, John Clifford Baxter, the son of a Long Island policeman, had made it big in Texas. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, Paperback – Illustrated, November 26, 2013, Paperback, Illustrated, November 26, 2013, Portfolio; 10th ed. At different times, before different audiences, he could be self-righteous, self-pitying, sarcastic, profane, even naive. He didn’t hesitate to lecture, even scold, U.S. senators. Enron’s deposed chief financial officer, a onetime whiz kid named Andrew Fastow, was missing, too; he and Baxter had fought bitterly. This was interesting in concept but so dull to read. Please try your request again later. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. Above all, it's a fascinating human drama that will prove to be the authoritative account of the Enron scandal. Please try again. Enron Scandal: The Smartest Guys in the Room 2 Comments / Case Study / 18th February 2020 This story is about how a prominent company with a remarkable share value got bankrupt within 24 hours. Its bankruptcy marked not merely the death of a company but the end of an era. Fascinating insight into corporate greed. Fascinating. It destroyed the nation’s most venerable accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. Just as he had when Enron was riding high, Skilling labeled ExxonMobil a “dinosaur”—as though it didn’t matter that the oil giant was thriving while Enron was nearly extinct. Something went wrong. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. Alone among Enron’s top executives summoned before a circuslike series of congressional hearings, Skilling had ignored his lawyers’ advice to take the Fifth and defiantly spoken his piece. Enron’s failure resonated powerfully because the entire company stood revealed as a sort of wonderland, where little was as it seemed. I've had this book on my shelf for about 10 years, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to reading it. This energy trading company suddenly collapsed in 2001, leaving pretty much everyone in shock and disbelief. This is where he came to brood over what had happened at Enron—often for hours at a time. The movie is about a crime story and the bankruptcy of ENRON, one of the most successful and even considered as the 7th largest corporation in America, due to the fraudulent acts by the top management. Always given to mood swings, he had become deeply depressed in recent days, consumed by the spectacular scandal that had engulfed his old company. This account of the fall of Enron should be required reading for business students and in ethics courses. I've had this book on my shelf for about 10 years, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to reading it. The legislators were convinced that Skilling had abruptly resigned as CEO of the company—just four months before Enron went belly up—because he knew the game was over. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in. Where had the billions gone? It was cloudy and a bit chilly that evening by Texas standards—about 48 degrees—but the sedan was tuned to an interior temperature of precisely 79. Like, some moral values, for a start. Enron's chairman and chief executive officer were Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, two supremely arrogant and belligerent men who believed they were the "smartest guys in the room… Please try again. At the time he quit, he insisted, he believed Enron was “in great shape”; he had left for “personal reasons.” The nationally televised testimony was vintage Skilling: articulate, unapologetic, and prickly. She blamed reporters’ intrusions for pushing her husband over the edge. But at least I knew we had this company.”   Skilling was seeing a psychiatrist and taking antidepressants. There was an error retrieving your Wish Lists. The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean is a detailed account of the rise and fall of Enron and it gives the most insight into the … He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Fortune, and Texas Monthly. Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind are Fortune senior writers. Addictive, for the compelling unfolding horror, Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2020. Part of it was his audacious refusal, in the face of a dozen separate investigations, to run for cover. McLean and Elkind are credited as writers of the film alongside the director, Alex Gibney. Fascinating insight into corporate greed. Given the passage of time I can't say which is better, but this is an amazing book, possibly made even more amazing by the passage of time itself and the fact that I didn't replace this copy with the 10th anniversary edition. Baxter had been his closest confidant at Enron, the nearest thing Skilling, who kept his own counsel, had to a sounding board. Fortune magazine named it “America’s most innovative company” six years running. “Enron was a great company,” Skilling repeatedly declared. Enron was a little before my time, so obviously I had heard of the scandal but didn't really know of any details. Directed by Alex Gibney. Yet Skilling remained remarkably unwilling to accept any personal responsibility for the company’s demise. “Cliff figured out how it was going to play out.”. I read the book: The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. Baxter was convinced they were having him tailed—and rummaging through his family’s trash. In the space of two weeks, I'd only read 150 pages. Meticulously researched and character driven, Smartest Guys in the Room takes the reader deep into Enron's past—and behind the closed doors of private meetings. I think I will stick to the documentary in future. Peter Elkind, Bethany McLean. Top Contributor: Historical Fiction Books, Reviewed in the United States on October 11, 2015. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2019. Ken Lay Sees an Opportunity The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron. Widely feared during his reign at Enron, known for his unflinchingly Darwinist view of the world, Skilling spent the service in tears. “It isn’t there.” He was reluctant even to pronounce judgment on Fastow, his handpicked finance chief, who—the U.S. Justice Department alleged—had not just done a lousy job as CFO but stolen millions and collected kickbacks right under Skilling’s nose. It’s as if “they’re calling us child molesters,” he complained. A congressional committee had already called; the FBI and SEC would surely be next. But as he cruised the empty streets of Sugar Land, Texas, Baxter was drowning in dark thoughts. In 2005, it was adapted into a documentary film, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. No matter what your politics, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" will make you mad. There was a problem loading your book clubs. In phone calls and visits with friends, he railed for hours about the scandal’s taint. ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM. OPTIONS TRADING STRATEGIES: The STEP by STEP Guide to Use the Best Options Trading ... Hidden History: An Exposé of Modern Crimes, Conspiracies, and Cover-Ups in American... STOCK OPTIONS TRADING: The beginners guide to Learn How to Trade Options and use th... Andersonville and Camp Douglas: The History of the Civil War’s Deadliest Prison Camps. Then, dressed in blue jogging slacks, a blue T-shirt, and moccasin slippers, he climbed into his new black Mercedes-Benz S500 and drove out into the night. Please try again. The book is a detailed semi-chronological account of Enron from ‘cradle to grave’. This book examines the history of each side's deadliest prison, how the camps came about, what life was like for the prisoners, and the aftermath. Enron was a little before my time, so obviously I had heard of the scandal but didn't really know of any details. But also, the most basic elements of good corporate governance. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2016. But former chief executive officer Jeffrey Skilling—once touted as a brilliant visionary and the man who shaped Enron in his own image—was very much in evidence. “It became a part of your life, just as important as your family. Yet he took it all personally. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. An Enron corporate jet—a remaining vestige of the company’s imperial ways—flew Cliff’s family and a few others east for the funeral. Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2018. Cliff’s widow was bent on avoiding the press. It reveals as never before major characters such as Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow, as well as lesser known players like Cliff Baxter and Rebecca Mark. When police found his body, there were two guitar picks in his wallet. In my business career, I saw many of these behaviours - but on a much smaller, more contained scale. Drawing on a wide range of unique sources, the book follows Enron’s rise from obscurity to the … He’d called the shrink’s office that day to make an appointment. Given the passage of time I can't say which is better, but this is an amazing book, possibly made even more amazing by the passage of time itself and the fact that I didn't replace this copy with the 10th anniversary edition. A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt … This book is generally acknowledged to be the definitive account on Enron and the creative accounting era. Just when you think the authors have revealed the most outrageous anecdote or ridiculous scheme or pathological behaviour, they pull yet another out of the seemingly bottomless pit that was Enron. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2014. From that point on, Enron's house of cards began to crumble. Unable to add item to List. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. I found the title of this book to be quite ironic, yet appropriate. “My life is fucked,” he said. No magic, it's a science and I'm here to be your unique teacher. The Smartest Guys in the Room chronicles the history of Enron, from beginning to end. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. More than anyone else, Skilling had come to personify the Enron scandal. At the insistence of the company’s creditors, he had finally yielded his job as CEO and chairman just two days before Baxter’s death; Lay sent his wife, Linda, to attend the service instead. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron is a book by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, first published in 2003 by Portfolio Trade. Countless books and articles were written about it, but only The Smartest Guys in the Room holds up a decade later as the definitive narrative. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. This wasn’t the time for such grim shoptalk; what’s more, their lawyers had pointedly instructed them to avoid such conversations. Rarely has there ever been such a chasm between corporate illusion and reality. These blinks detail a gripping story of financial deceit, while shedding light on the personalities that built Enron’s corporate culture and set it up for disaster. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2019. The movie entitled “ENRON: Smartest Guys in The Room is based on a book with the same title written by Bethany Mclean and Peter Elkind. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 5, 2015. Enron’s influence ranged widely—from Wall Street to the White House. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. But when the receptionist explained that the schedule was booked until February, Baxter hung up—he wasn’t going to wait that long. In my business career, I saw many of these behaviours - but on a much smaller, more contained scale. In the space of two weeks, I'd only read 150 pages. Would he have to testify against his friends? Baxter was a gifted musician. McLean and Elkind are credited as writers of the film alongside the director, Alex Gibney. This book brings to life the incredible scheming and plotting that took place to keep Enron making money, and finally charting the eventual downfall of both the company and the people involved. Meticulously researched and character driven, Smartest Guys in the Room takes the reader deep into Enron's past—and behind the closed doors of private meetings. This book is well researched and makes most of the complex deals and accounting policies understandable. There was a problem loading your book clubs. Smartest Guys in the Room is a story of greed, arrogance, and deceit—a microcosm of all that is wrong with American business today. As Skilling saw it, Enron had fallen victim to a cabal of short sellers and scoop-hungry reporters that triggered a classic run on the bank. July 5, 2006 • Fortune's Bethany McLean wrote about Enron in the book The Smartest Guys in the Room. “We were doing something special. But that was before Fortune published an article by McLean that asked a seemingly innocent question: How exactly does Enron make money? Thankfully, most businesses have more effective constraints in place. For years, he’d decompressed floating on Galveston Bay aboard his 72-foot yacht, Tranquility Base. The opening track was perhaps Cliff’s favorite: a bouncy pop tune called “Perfect Day.”   On this perfect day Nothing’s standing in my way On this perfect day Nothing can go wrong It’s a perfect day Tomorrow’s gonna come too soon I could stay Forever as I am On this perfect day   It was a tragedy layered on tragedy, but there wasn’t much talk about the company’s Icarus-like fall among the former Enron executives thrust together again that afternoon. One can only imagine the pains the authors went to to synthesize and rationalize dozens of interviews and thousands of documents spanning over 15 years of one the most opaque and counter-intuitive businesses ever to have existed! This has been the greatest, the smartest, the destructive, and the complex scandal of any corporation that ever existed in America. The rumblings had forced the Sugar Land police department to treat an open-and-shut case—Baxter had even left a suicide note in his wife’s car—like a capital-murder investigation, requiring DNA testing, handwriting experts, ballistics studies, and blood-spatter tests. Only ‘smart guys’ could pull off such a scandal such as the Enron fiasco, but you then have to ask yourself “How can SMART guys also be so blindly stupid?” If one were to truly believe CEO Jeff Skilling when he said that he never felt he was doing anything immoral, yet always thought he was acting in the best interests of Enron, how could that same person believe him when he abruptly resigns from the company months before its epic bankruptcy while cashing in $60 million of his stock options? One can only imagine the pains the authors went to to synthesize and rationalize dozens of interviews and thousands of documents spanning over 15 years of one the most opaque and counter-intuitive businesses ever to have existed! Peter Elkind is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of The Death Shift. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2016. Sailing was one of Baxter’s passions. Fascinating. Unfortunately for Skilling, no one else believed that. There were images of Cliff with his family, Cliff sailing, Cliff fronting his rock band. Baxter’s black leather wallet lay on the passenger seat. edition (November 26, 2013), Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2018. Only ‘smart guys’ could pull off such a scandal such as the Enron fiasco, but you then have to ask yourself “How can SMART guys also be so blindly stupid?” If one were to truly believe CEO Jeff Skilling when he said that he never felt he was doing anything immoral, yet always thought he was acting in the best interests of Enron, how could that same person believe him when he abruptly resigns from the company months before its epic bankruptcy while cashing in $60 million of his stock options? Then there was the media, pestering him at home a dozen or more times a day: Did he know what had gone wrong? Privately, he would grudgingly acknowledge occasional business mistakes—including one, the failure of Enron’s broadband venture, that cost the company more than $1 billion. Now it was Houston’s turn. Discover how to start a wildly profitable blog in the next 60 days - even if you have no experience. Drawing on a wide range of unique sources, the book follows Enron's rise from obscurity to the … McLean and Elkind are credited as writers of the film alongside the director, Alex Gibney. It was a financial conglomerate, a deregulation-securitization-self-dealing disaster. I love the play and film that are based on this book but the actual book itself is not my favourite. Like, some moral values, for a start. Yet Skilling continued to plead his case with a compelling arrogance. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron: Amazon.co.uk: Elkind, Peter, McLean, Bethany: Books Select Your Cookie Preferences We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience, to provide our services, understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements, and display ads. “The Smartest Guys in the Room PDF Summary” The Smartest Guys in the Room provides a recap of the story that will later be known as the rise and fall of Enron. I had difficulty motivating myself to want to read this and most of the time I'd read a couple of pages and put it down for another day. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron. If you ever wondered how excessive greed and unethical behavior on this scale could happen without someone opening their mouth, I invite you to read this book to see just how easy it was for those operating in grey areas to manipulate data and facts to reap huge profits while convincing themselves and others that they “technically “ weren’t doing anything wrong. Enron: the smartest guys in the room pinpoints a moment when corporate morality was shredded like so many tonnes of incriminating documents in a big business run by small, small men. The result is readable, understandable and enjoyable. The precise location of the service—the ballroom of the St. Regis, the city’s swankiest hotel—remained a secret until noon that day, at the insistence of Carol Baxter. She tells Steve Inskeep that Ken Lay's … More important than your family. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. The tale of Enron is a story of human weakness, of hubris and greed and rampant self-delusion; of ambition run amok; of a grand experiment in the deregulated world; of a business model that didn’t work; and of smart people who believed their next gamble would cover their last disaster—and who couldn’t admit they were wrong. Before his funk eased, in the months after Baxter took his own life, Skilling openly mulled over whether his friend had done the right thing. An open package of Newport Lights sat in the center console, a bottle of Evian water in the cup holder. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. “We were changing the world. The tenth-anniversary edition of the definitive account of the Enron scandal, updated with a new chapter The Enron scandal brought down one of the most admired companies of the 1990s. In less combative moods, Skilling reflected on his plight. Ken Lay, Enron’s founding father, was conspicuously absent. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves, When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management, All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, Bitcoin: The Basics of Blockchain and Investing in Cryptocurrency. I loved this book. Periodically, he’d launch into an extended rant: about the media, about politicians, about the aggressive tactics of government prosecutors (“Welcome to North Korea”). 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