Reading: The Perfect Prey

The Perfect Prey by Jeroen Smit

A collegue recommended that I should read this book while on holiday. It was a terrific read. Jeroen Smit has done a wonderful job in describing the rise and fall of one of the largest Dutch banks and has managed to write a fascinating story. The book reads like a novel, I was unable to put it down until I finished it, even though I already knew the outcome.

The book shows that if a company does not succeed in finding the right strategy and executing that, it will leave both customers and employees wondering where it wants to go. As a result, no one has faith in your business anymore. Add to that an executive group that does not work together, loaded with arrogance and testosteron, no one who firmly takes the lead and you have a recipe for disaster. We have all seen the detrimental results, the bank that was supposed to take-over other banks was sold in 3 pieces in the end.

Smit tells the story in chronological order, with chapters for the years between 1998 and 2008. He has interviewed many people and it shows in the way he tells the story, from many different angles, from a number of perspective. Amazing to read that the actions of just a handful of people led to the downfall of one of the largest banks.