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Bethany McLean

Vanity Fair contributing editor and co-author of All the Devils are Here and the national bestseller The Smartest Guys in the Room

  • About Bethany McLean

    Bethany McLean is a business journalist and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. She was the editor-at-large for thirteen years at Fortune before joining Vanity Fair in July 2008 and Slate as a columnist in October 2010. In early 2001, McLean was one of the first reporters to raise questions about Enron, with her story “Is Enron Overpriced?” She and fellow Fortune senior writer Peter Elkind exposed Enron, noticing the irregularities in Enron’s financial documents that were available to the public and suggesting the company’s then-record high stock price was unjustified. When Enron collapsed in 2001, she and Elkind drew froma wide range of unique sources and provides a definitive account Enron’s rise from obscurity to the top of the business world to its disastrous demise. This national bestseller The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron went on to become an Oscar-nominated documentary.

    McLean also co-wrote All the Devils Are Here, where she and co-author Joe Nocera go back several decades to weave the hidden history of the 2008 financial crisis. They explore the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders. All the Devils Are Here provides a detailed account of how the financial crisis bubbled up from a volatile, and bipartisan, mixture of government meddling and laissez-faire.

    In her upcoming book, The Big Fail (October 2023), McLean partners with Nocera again to take a deep dive into America’s catastrophically enormous failure to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In this page-turning exposé, McLean and Nocera explores how American capitalism left us brutally unprepared for a global pandemic.

    McLean has also written in-depth pieces about the credit rating agencies, Goldman Sachs, President Clinton’s global philanthropy, Australia’s Macquarie Bank, and more. Before joining Fortune, she spent three years as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. She graduated from Williams College in 1992 with a double major in mathematics and English.

  • Speaking Topics

    Fracking and Environmental Justice

    Author of Saudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It’s Changing the World, Bethany McLean shares her expertise on fracking with audiences. McLean shares her insights on the issues surrounding fracking as well as its causes and effects on other areas of our society – how low-interest rates are driving fracking, the shifting world of energy, and changing relationships between Russia and Europe. She discusses the issue of the development of fossil fuels not aligning with the math of the Paris climate accord, posing the question of what might be next for fossil fuels and how we can protect the environment in finding the answer.

    Business Ethics

    From her experience as an analyst at Goldman Sachs through her work at Fortune exposing the Enron scandal, Bethany McLean gives audiences a look into what it means for a business to be ethical. In her talks, she delves into the discrepancies between morality and illegality and offers insight into the corruption that occurs when the people at the top take on all of the reward and none of the risk. In these talks, McLean draws on her published works and her personal findings as a member of the business world.

    The Financial Crisis (All the Devils Are Here)

    Government Regulation of Business

    Wall Street

    Print Journalism

    Enron (The Smartest Guys in the Room)

  • Video

  • Praise for Bethany McLean

    Praise for All the Devils Are Here

    The best business book of 2010.

    The Huffington Post

    Praise for The Smartest Guys in the Room

    Well-reported and well-written.

    Warren Buffett

    The authors write with power and finesse. Their prose is effortless, like a sprinter floating down the track.

    USA Today

    The best book about the Enron debacle to date.

  • Books by Bethany McLean

  • Media About Bethany McLean

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Bethany McLean travels from Chicago, IL

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