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Book review: 'Taking Down the Lion' by Catherine S Neal

"Taking Down the Lion" is the new book by Catherine S Neal that gives an detailed look into the rise and fall of Dennis Kozlowski.
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Catherine S Neal is an Associate Professor of Business Ethics and Business Law at Northern Kentucky University. She took on the enormous task of researching and writing a book about the rise and fall of Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski and the end result is “Taking Down the Lion” which was released last week.

Dennis Kozlowski is the former CEO of Tyco International who was convicted in 2005 of grand larceny and taking millions of dollars from Tyco. Subtitled “The Triumphant Rise and Fall of Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski” this book is a rare look into the corporate world and the justice system. It is divided into four parts:

  • Part One: Mogul Style – this is a behind the scenes look at Kozlowski's duties as CEO, his extravagant lifestyle and the many executive perquisites he and others received.
  • Part Two: Timing is Everything – this is where everything begins to unravel.
  • Part Three: Ring Around the White-Collar of Criminal Justice – contains the details of the two trials, break down of the evidence, internal investigations and sentencing after the verdict.
  • Part Four: Inglorious Ending – observations and lessons to be learned from the case.

Even for readers who know nothing about the business world or who have never heard of the case will find “Taking Down the Lion: The Triumphant Rise and Fall of Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski” an interesting read. The first half is mainly business jargon and may put some of them off but if they stick with it they will be rewarded with the fascinating details of the case in the second part.

Neal is clearly sympathetic towards Kozlowski but it is an extremely researched and in-depth look into a system that isn’t always perfect. After years of working for Tyco Kozlowski lost his job and became the face of corporate greed. He and his co-defendant Mark Swartz who was the CFO were convicted during the Enron and Martha Stewart scandals when white collar crimes were seen as the lowest of the low. What makes it more interesting is that it is a true story worthy of any John Grisham courtroom novel with the cautionary note that it could happen to anyone.

“Realize that media spin is everywhere. Believe little of what you read. Do real research, rely on reliable sources, and discover the truth.”

*A copy of this book was given for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s.