“Smartest Gal in the Room”

Published on
November 8th, 2019
29 minutes

“Smartest Gal in the Room”

The Interview ·
Featuring Bethany McLean

Published on: November 8th, 2019 • Duration: 29 minutes

What are the telltale signs a business is about to collapse? Where‘s the fine line between visionary and fraud? What makes one leader a failure and the next a breakout success? Bethany McLean, co-author of the Enron exposé, "The Smartest Guys in the Room," joins Real Vision to apply her 25 years of experience investigating the business world. Filmed on September 30, 2019 in New York.



  • CG
    Christine G.
    14 November 2019 @ 13:28
    " Smartest gal in the room" ? Where are you the '50's? Who is the smartest guy in the room and when was he introduced as such?
    • KB
      Kieran B.
      15 November 2019 @ 00:09
      It's a take on her book entitled, "The Smartest Guys in The Room", about Enron management...
    • HA
      Heikki A.
      15 November 2019 @ 08:24
      you saw this as sexism but it isn't. It is a play on title of a book that made her famous. She wrote a book called: "The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron" per wikipedia: "It hit the New York Times bestseller list[3] and was named one of strategy+business magazine's best business books of 2003.[4]" It is a really good read by the way.
  • CC
    Charles C.
    13 November 2019 @ 23:03
    more like this please. nice change of pace
  • CL
    Cyril L.
    12 November 2019 @ 19:01
    Great. I have a poor opinion of journalists in general, usually when they write about a topic you know about you find out that they don't really know or understand much about it, but she seems to have the right approach. It's refreshing to see that there are still journalists willing to do deep dives rather than just superficial stories with a sexy narrative. That interview certainly makes me want to start reading her stuff.
  • JB
    Jim B.
    9 November 2019 @ 17:39
    Note to the editor. Here is what Bethany attributed to Buffett: "...you'd rather have a great management team and a bad business than a great business and a bad management team." Buffett said approximately the opposite: "... I've also said many times in reports and elsewhere that when a management with reputation for brilliance gets hooked up with a business with a reputation for bad economics, it's the reputation of the business that remains intact....If you've got a good enough business...you know, your idiot nephew could run it. And if you've got a really good business, it doesn't make any difference."
    • CL
      Cyril L.
      12 November 2019 @ 18:56
      Interesting. When I heard it I thought "well actually I'm not sure I agree with that". I think management's importance (for large companies; for small businesses, it's probably different) is often way overestimated. Unless they're really bad (professionally or ethically) or really good, I'm not convinced top management matters that much.
  • TS
    Tom S.
    11 November 2019 @ 02:17
    Yes, Mr. Catalano, I did find the interview "time well spent". Thank you.
    • VC
      Vincent C. | Contributor
      12 November 2019 @ 14:52
      Glad you did. :-)
  • NP
    Nick P.
    12 November 2019 @ 09:14
    Bethany is an incredible writer, can't wait to read the future novel about how Musk fooled so many (but not me). I'll read it and smile.
  • SN
    Shmuel N.
    9 November 2019 @ 22:11
    perhaps she is smart, but the interview was not very informative or useful
    • AC
      Andrew C.
      12 November 2019 @ 02:44
      Yes, terrible interview. I'm going back to CNBC where I can be properly entertained by being fed crap. NOT !!!
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    11 November 2019 @ 21:04
    Great conversation!
  • MM
    Michael M.
    11 November 2019 @ 19:39
    She is amazing. Big fan.
  • JW
    James W.
    11 November 2019 @ 04:38
    That was refreshing. I love the fact that she grew up with Isaac Asimov instead of television.
  • PJ
    Peter J.
    10 November 2019 @ 09:51
    Great interview , different and informative. Good interviewer, asked some insightful questions.
  • NR
    Nelson R.
    10 November 2019 @ 01:07
    Well done, a breath of fresh air. Congrats to Bethany & Vincent.
  • RA
    Ron A.
    9 November 2019 @ 21:04
    Real Vision is so, so beautiful: No commercial crap thrown in your face, just quietly brilliant interviewers like Vincent Catalano discussing important topics with superb professionals like Bethany McLean; it simply doesn't get any better than that. I loved what Bethany told us about growing up without a television set in her home. To my mind, television is the single most powerful tool governments, banks and corporations have for keeping the lid on the world's simmering, and soon-to-be boiling, pot. We need a worldwide movement aimed at persuading people to remove television sets from as many houses as possible and to have them start tuning in to Real Vision. I'm going to print up a bumper sticker and put it on my 2005 Prius that says: "Vaccinate Against Television Subscribe To Real Vision."
  • MI
    Miguel I.
    9 November 2019 @ 17:35
    Invaluable info and gives you an idea about what could happen of you have friends that know a lot about whats really happening inside a particular subject
  • JJ
    JJ J.
    9 November 2019 @ 10:38
    Top interview and great to hear from someone new and somewhat left field.
  • NA
    Naeem A.
    9 November 2019 @ 07:07
    Fantastic interview. I've followed Bethany's work since Smartest guys in the room that she put out in early 2000's about Enron. She immerses herself in the subject matter and players yet keeps her objective & balanced narrative intact. This is how investigative journalism should be. Not sure about the unfair negative comments about the interviewer. He asked the right questions and got her to build her story. Nice work.
  • SG
    Steve G.
    8 November 2019 @ 15:26
    It’s painful to watch this guy conduct this interview
    • EN
      Eric N.
      9 November 2019 @ 05:27
      I see it opposite. Watch Bass interviewing the general on China if you want to know bad technique.
  • WB
    William B.
    9 November 2019 @ 03:48
    Fantastic interview and an amazing person in Bethany.
  • MH
    Mark H.
    9 November 2019 @ 02:08
    Congratulations on Real Visions current format, The ability to absorb the thoughts of the Wests brightest minds for 30min plus sessions is a God send . Special mention to Justine Underhills aging episode very informative. Keep Em coming MH
  • LR
    Luigi R.
    9 November 2019 @ 00:12
    I'm a big fan of Bethany's work. She is one of the best financial writers out there...period. Great job by Vince with excellent questions. Thank you.
  • FB
    Floyd B.
    8 November 2019 @ 23:13
    The negative comments about Vince are ridiculous. Excellent interview. Got a subscription to Vanityfair,two years ,print and electronic,$15.
  • SS
    Sam S.
    8 November 2019 @ 21:11
    The Best Research starts with a question and not a conclusion. Let the data prove the reality, not try to prove a predetermined conclusion----The world should take big notice of her thinking and we'd all be better off. I may not tell you what you want to hear, but I'll tell you the truth. Character traits to live by. Well done Bethany McLean!
  • SM
    S M.
    8 November 2019 @ 21:09
    Yes Vincent, don‘t interrupt your guest. We listen to the guest, not yourself. Give them the platform to elucidate their thoughts and answers
  • je
    james e.
    8 November 2019 @ 21:09
    Great interview (don't understand the negative comments about Vince). Bethany is smart and engaging and I thought Vince did a very good job prompting an interesting discussion.
  • GB
    Gary B.
    8 November 2019 @ 19:38
    The interviewer really detracted from the potential of this content given the quality of the guest. Sad!
  • FF
    Farouk F.
    8 November 2019 @ 18:12
    Vincent while you've certainly gotten better, please speak and interrupt less.
  • CB
    Chris B.
    8 November 2019 @ 15:54
    Excellent interview for budding journalists
  • GH
    Gregory H.
    8 November 2019 @ 15:31
    Vincent, your interview cadence is fantastic, keep it up. P.S. - Always enjoy seeing the New Balance shoes that my dad wears.
  • AD
    Anna D.
    8 November 2019 @ 10:22
    Excellent interview 👍
  • HK
    H K.
    8 November 2019 @ 09:55
    The Friday interviews are usually the best! (the others are very good too, but still) Good to have a guest who is in finance but not of it (to paraphrase Churchill)
  • Nv
    Nick v.
    8 November 2019 @ 08:52
    Fascinating. Thanks Bethany and team. Musk is indeed both a visionary and a fraudster. I suspect he will get caught. He keeps growing his threat surface so the risk of being found out is growing exponentially, due to the surface growth and the factor of time.