Bethany McLean

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Bethany McLean
2015-09-18 Event Shaky Ground The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants (21519274495).jpg
McLean in 2015
Born (1970-12-12) December 12, 1970 (age 50)
Alma materWilliams College
Known for"Is Enron Overpriced?"
Notable work
All the Devils Are Here
Spouse(s)Chris Wilford (m. 2000, div. 2006)
Sean M. Berkowitz (m. 2008, div. 2021)

Bethany Lee McLean (born December 12, 1970) is an American journalist and contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine. She is known for her writing on the Enron scandal and the 2008 financial crisis. Previous assignments include editor-at-large, columnist for Fortune and a contributor to Slate.

Early life and education[edit]

McLean was born in Hibbing, Minnesota on December 12, 1970. In 1992 she received a B.A. in English and mathematics from Williams College.


McLean started her career as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs[1] and joined Vanity Fair as a contributing editor in 2008.[citation needed] She began as a contributor to "Slate's" Moneybox column, in 2010 and "The Bulldog" column in "Fortune".[citation needed]

She authored an article on Enron for the March 5, 2001, issue of Fortune entitled, "Is Enron Overpriced?"[2] The article noted some irregularities in Enron's financial documents that were available to the public, suggesting the company's then-record high stock price was unjustified but she did not at that point suspect fraud at Enron. After Enron's rapid collapse later in 2001, McLean co-authored the book The Smartest Guys in the Room (2003) which detailed the corrupt business practices of Enron officials. The book was later made into the Academy Award-nominated documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.[3]

In 2005 Mclean got into a spat with CEO Patrick M. Byrne after she wrote a negative article about OverStock and him.[4][5] In response Byrne accused Mclean of "giving Goldman traders blowjobs".[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

She co-authored a book on the 2008 financial crisis titled All the Devils Are Here.

In September 2015, she published Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants which examines the governance and financial situation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seven years after the 2008 financial crisis.[14][15] The Washington Post selected it as one of the best nonfiction books of 2015.[16]

In September 2018, she published Saudi America: The Truth about Fracking and how It's Changing the World which examined the "fracking revolution" and US energy independence.[17][18] In 2019, Mclean launched a podcast title Making a Killing on Luminary.[19]

Personal life[edit]

McLean married Chris Wilford in 2000 and divorced in 2006. In May 2008, she married attorney Sean Berkowitz, the former Director of the United States Department of Justice Enron Task Force who is currently a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP.[20][21][22][23]

McLean resides in Chicago with her husband and children.[24]



  • Bethany McLean; Peter Elkind (2004). The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron. Penguin.
  • Bethany McLean; Joe Nocera (August 30, 2011). All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis. Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-101-55105-9.
  • Bethany McLean (September 14, 2015). Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants. Columbia Global Reports. ISBN 978-0-9909763-0-1.
  • Bethany McLean (September 11, 2018). Saudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It's Changing the World. Columbia Global Reports. ISBN 978-0-9997454-4-1.

Essays and reporting[edit]


  1. ^ "What Working At Goldman Sachs Taught Legendary Business Journalist Bethany McLean". Business Insider. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  2. ^ "Is Enron Overpriced?". CNN. January 19, 2006.
  3. ^ Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - IMDb, retrieved October 9, 2020
  4. ^ "Is Overstock the new Amazon? – October 18, 2004". CNN. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  5. ^ "PHANTOM MENACE – November 14, 2005". CNN. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  6. ^ "Bethany McLean: your benefit of the doubt is hereby revoked". Deep Capture. December 1, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "Rocker Partners and Bethany McLean: the smarmiest guys in the room". Deep Capture. December 2, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "David Einhorn, Cheryl Strauss, and the "Unavailable" Bethany McLean". Deep Capture. September 6, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  9. ^ Antar, Sam (July 2, 2007). "White Collar Fraud: Did Patrick Byrne, CEO of, Deliver a Trojan Horse to the Securities and Exchange Commission?". White Collar Fraud. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Byrne, Patrick (August 18, 2012). "Professor William Black Flunks Bethany McLean for Giving Hall Passes to Goldman Sachs and Wall Street". DeepCapture. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  11. ^ Retrieved August 12, 2020 – via Twitter. Missing or empty |title= (help)[non-primary source needed]
  12. ^ "The Patrick Byrne Chronicles: How He Breaks the Law". Daily Kos. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  13. ^ Metz, Cade (February 1, 2014). "Meet Patrick Byrne: Bitcoin Messiah, CEO of Overstock, Scourge of Wall Street". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  14. ^ Columbia Global Reports, "Financial System's Top Risk, Hiding in Plain Sight" (Press Release, September 14, 2015). Retrieved September 16, 2015
  15. ^ "U.S. mortgage giants under the microscope |". Retrieved October 19, 2015. So they are part of the mysterious machinery that is an important component of most Americans lives, but you actually never think about it until things go wrong.
  16. ^ Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Books of 2015
  17. ^ Priest, R. Tyler (October 31, 2018). "'Saudi America' Review: The Truth About Fracking?". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  18. ^ ""Saudi America" by Bethany McLean". Columbia Global Reports. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  19. ^ "Bethany McLean on Making a Killing". The Big Picture. June 20, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  20. ^ "Bethany McLean and Sean Berkowitz: An Enron-Trial Love Connection -- New York Magazine - Nymag". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  21. ^ Press, Canadian. "Loughlin, Giannulli lawyer is prosecutors' 'worst nightmare'". CFJC Today Kamloops. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  22. ^ peter (July 24, 2006). "An Enron Love Connection". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  23. ^ Bailey, Jeff. "Q & A with Bethany McLean, Author of 'All the Devils Are Here'". Chicago magazine. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  24. ^ "Enron tale author Bethany McLean has a new book she wrote from her Chicago home". Crain's Chicago Business. November 15, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2016.

External links[edit]

External video
video icon C-SPAN Q&A interview with McLean, June 19, 2005
video icon C-SPAN Q&A interview with McLean on All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, November 14, 2010