1. ika
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    ika New Member

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    The Business/Corporate/Wall Street World?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by ika, Jan 22, 2013.

    I am writing a book about a white collar crime in a (fake) major corporation - and God knows I want to make it believable.

    The problem? What I'm aiming for is clever and original, not a carbon copy of the Enron debacle or recent mortgage crisis. And ... erm ... I'm not too confident in my abilities to whip something up from scratch, create a scandal from scratch, and think of all the mechanics, laws, and loopholes.

    Does anybody have any advice on how this could even be approached in terms of research? Any books to study up on regarding the business world or wall street? I've been watching lots of documentaries for ideas and to brush up on general knowledge. Or do you think it would be OK to base it off of a historical white collar crime?

    The biggest problem with basing it off of something historical is I don't want it to become obvious, a la Antitrust circa 2001 (No hate, I loved that movie ... for the wrong reasons.)

    At its heart, the book is about humanity, but of course it won't help if the criminal subplot is sloppy and unrealistic. I don't expect to become as well versed as a CPA or CEO, but I want to be very strict with my world building, as it takes place approximately 10 years in the future. It's my biggest nightmare, shudder, to have something that would never fly because of gaping plot holes.

    TIA!
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    read/study the novels of paul erdman...
     
  3. ika
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    ika New Member

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    Thanks, I just wikied him and I'll have to check him out.

    Although he was a banker for quite a few years haha ...
     
  4. Salamander
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    Salamander Member

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    It really depends on where you want to take the story. Keep watching documentaries, especially about the lead up to the 2008 saga.

    The thing about this is you're going to want to know as much as possible about the subject so that you can execute twists well. 2008 was caused by multiple factors colluding, a housing bubble bursting, mortgages and loans to buy into this bubble given to people who couldn't afford them, and then that debt packaged into more investments and sold to other companies as legitimate, healthy financial products. Basically making bets on bets on bets.

    Your executives are going to be confident, brash, arrogant even, absolutely sure that they are ahead of the game and masters of the landscape.
     
  5. ika
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    ika New Member

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    Thanks for the awesome advice! I'm sketching out the basic frameworks of such executives and they do fit that description to a tee ;)

    I've definitely watched quite a few documentaries and am now reading several books on what happened in 2008. Do you have any specific recommendations of your favorites in particular?
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd read the books about the Enron scandal and watch the documentary about it, called The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's still shown occasionally on the cable channels. Even though they were about the same scandal, there were two books I really enjoyed -- both The Smartest Guys in the Room, upon which the documentary is based, and another one called Conspiracy of Fools by Kurt Eichenwald. Another one, called 24 Days gives another interesting perspective, from two reporters who uncovered the scandal.

    I'd also check out Michael Lewis' books, particularly The Big Short, and one of his first ones, from the 80s, called Liar's Poker, for some historical perspective.

    The movie Margin Call, with Kevin Spacey, was pretty good, too.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For general business research, try looking up back issues of Fortune magazine, Forbes, and Business Week. They're good for giving you an idea of how billion-dollar corporations operate.
     
  8. ika
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    ika New Member

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    Actually prior to the formation of this book, The Smartest Guys in the Room was one of my FAVORITE documentaries. It's so well made and it makes a topic that would normally seem dry to the public eye so insanely interesting. I've seen the book in my library too, so I'll definitely check it out sometimes (along with the other ones)

    Thanks for all the fantastic recommendations! I've heard Liar's Poker is a classic as well. Looks like my reading list is going to be stocked up for the next few weeks :)
     
  9. ika
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    ika New Member

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    Hadn't thought of this actually! Do you know how I could get access to old issues?
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Not sure, actually. My dad was in business and always had a batch of back issues lying around his office. Maybe you could try a library. Or you could check out their websites and see if they have issues archived there, and how much of that content might be available free.
     

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