By Cinthia Cooper, Former Vice President, WorldCom

journeyIn Cooper's thorough and efficient narrative about the fantastic collapse of telecommunications giant WorldCom there are two distinct themes: her insider's view of the corporation's widespread wrongdoing and the life experiences that led Cooper to becoming a courageous whistleblower. Cooper, former vice president of WorldCom's internal audit department, is most successful with the former. She brings us into the boardrooms, the backrooms and, somehow, into the heads of key players as some struggled with and others embraced the deceptions that would bring WorldCom down. Less engaging are Cooper's autobiographical anecdotes, which offer everything from her high school math scores to clichéd advice from Mom and Dad ("when you are unkind, you can't go back and change the hurt"). Other unnecessary personal details-like the fact that 12-year-old Cooper called her violin teachers first when she was moving away-and mundane meanderings about haircuts and gender differences take the reader off course. Too, many of these folksy anecdotes paint the author as a goody two-shoes. Cooper is better and trumps other WorldCom accounts with a perspective available only from a business-smart insider with a conscience.

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