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 47)
Hibbing, Minnesota, U.S.
Known for"Is Enron Overpriced?"
Spouse(s)Chris Wilford (m. 2000, d.2006)
Sean M. Berkowitz(m. 2008)

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

Early life[edit]

On December 12, 1970, McLean was born as Bethany Lee McLean in Hibbing, Minnesota.


In 1992 McLean received a B.A. in English and mathematics from Williams College.


McLean started her career as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs. [1]

McLean joined Vanity Fair as a contributing editor in 2008. She joined Slate as a contributor to the Moneybox column in 2010.

Personal life[edit]

McLean married Chris Wilford in 2000. They divorced in 2006. In May 2008, McLean married Sean Berkowitz, a partner with the law firm, Latham & Watkins. Berkowitz is the former Director of the Enron Task Force; they met through their mutual connection to that case. They currently reside in Chicago with their two young children.[2]


Her column, "The Bulldog", appeared regularly in Fortune.

McLean is the co-author, with Fortune colleague Peter Elkind, of The Smartest Guys in the Room, exposing the corrupt business practices of Enron officials. The book was the result of her reporting on Enron for the magazine and she first wrote about Enron with her article in the March 5, 2001 issue of Fortune entitled, "Is Enron Overpriced?".[3] The book was later made into the Academy Award nominated documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

She co-authored a book with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera on the 2008 financial crisis titled All the Devils Are Here. It details what happened and concludes it was not an accident, that banks understood the big picture before the crisis happened but continued with bad practices.

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.[4][5]



  • 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. ^ "Enron tale author Bethany McLean has a new book she wrote from her Chicago home". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  3. ^ "Is Enron Overpriced?". CNN. January 19, 2006. Archived from the original on October 18, 2010.
  4. ^ Columbia Global Reports, "Financial System's Top Risk, Hiding in Plain Sight" (Press Release, September 14, 2015), Accessed September 16, 2015
  5. ^ "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.

External links[edit]

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