Tag Archives: Deep Throat

Woodward’s Secret Man Reveals the True Story of “Deep Throat”

Secret Man CoverI interrupted my reading of John Dean’s new book, The Nixon Defense, to tackle a 2005 best-seller by Bob Woodward of The Washington Post.Bob Woodward picture

Woodward, as you know, met with a character named “Deep Throat” in a parking garage during the Watergate saga.  Before he died, at age 91, Mark Felt identified himself in a Vanity Fair article as “Deep Throat.”  Felt was # 2, but he never made it to the top of the FBI, a position he greatly coveted.  You can read the article, published on July 1, 2005 by clicking here.

This book is entitled The Secret Man:  The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat (New York:  Simon and Schuster), and includes a “reporter’s assessment” by Carl Bernstein.

Although I am reading this nine years late, and had to purchase it through third-party sellers as it is out of print, I find the story intriguing and revealing.  I particularly enjoy the corroboration of Woodward’s recollections with the factual Nixon recordings, his own notes and memos, and FBI file reports.

Perhaps more than anything else, I am moved by the personal reactions that Woodward had before, during, and after these sessions with Felt.  And, the fact that while Felt could no longer remember others in that era, he could still remember Woodward.

To be clear, Dean obviously held Felt in great contempt.  In his new book, he calls him highly manipulative.  I don’t think Woodward would disagree with that assessment.  Felt gave Woodward what he wanted to give him, in his own way, on his own terms, and sometimes, not at all.  Felt was often very early, very late, or even a no-show for the scheduled parking garage meetings with Woodward.

I will go back and finish the Dean book now.  I think I am better prepared as a reader having made this quick diversion.

By the way, these are two pictures of Mark Felt.  The one on the left is from his FBI days.  The one on the right is from the day he announced himself as “Deep Throat” for the Vanity Fair article.

MarkFelt1    MarkFelt2

Michael Lewis Labels the Villain – Mass Delusion

DEEP THROAT

Look, forget the myths the media’s created about the White House– the truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.
(from the movie All the President’s Men)

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I sat enthralled last night in front of my television as 60 Minutes devoted one half of its program to Michael Lewis and his account of the financial meltdown in his new book, The Big Short.  You can read a review of the book here by Felix Salmon.  He calls it “the single best piece of financial journalism ever written.”  It is definitely on my reading list.

At one key moment, he said that the people behind the meltdown were not criminals, but simply wrong, blind. deluded…  (Maybe his new book on Wall Street should have the same title as his best-selling book, now an Oscar winning movie, The Blind Side).

Here’s one summary of his appearance on 60 Minutes from the Huffington Post (with video embedded if you missed the segment).

It may be tempting to think Wall Street is full of criminals who got off easy during the financial crisis.
But bestselling author Michael Lewis cautions against such an easy conclusion.
“I think the story is much more interesting than that,” he said during an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes. “I think it’s a story of mass delusion.”

And here is some of what I thought about it all as I pondered the segment with Michael Lewis.

I have frequently written about the absolute necessity of work ethic on this blog. From books like Outliers and Talent is Overrated, and a host of other sources, we learn that success requires a really focused, long-term work ethic (remember the 10,000 hour rule).  But according to Lewis, the people on Wall Street were not slackers.  They worked long hours, and they were constantly seeking the next big deal.

But, working hard does not guarantee wisdom or rightness.  And this entire superstructure kept getting shakier and shakier – it was a “delusion.”

And here is the other lesson I learned. The capacity to accept delusion as real is a human failing.  How many businesses do precisely this?  I’m not sure that these were “not very bright guys” (the quote from All the President’s Men).  But they so focused on what they wanted to be true, what they wanted to work, that they were blind to/oblivious to the warnings that should have been seen and heard and acknowledged.

How many companies fail to see the warnings in their own industry, and fail to make the changes needed? Too many.

The essence of good leadership is to lead your people along the right path and not lead your people down the wrong path.  There were a lot of people going down the wrong path, and it has cost us all a great deal.