New Book Release Written by Andersen Alumnus Robert Wilson, Hellhole, 98520: From Aberdeen to Arthur Andersen to Living in the After
Author Bio: Robert Wilson, former Arthur Andersen audit and business consulting partner in Seattle and Washington, D.C., chief financial officer, and corporate board member.
This rich story is an up-from-nothing coming-of-age memoir, a partner's account of the colossal business failure of Arthur Andersen and, in the aftermath of the acutely personal effects of that calamity, a search for and rediscovery of a higher purpose and spiritual meaning.
The author grew up in Aberdeen, Washington, a tough, immigrant, harbor town of lumber mills and violent labor wars, pollution, and dozens of whore houses, dubbed by the popular press as “Hell-Hole of the Pacific” at the turn of the last century, and ground zero in “America’s war on sin” in mid-century. Like Kurt Cobain, another native son a generation later, the author wanted nothing more than to escape the shackles of Aberdeen. But his path was the corporate world, not grunge music, where he climbed the greasy corporate pole to the partnership at Arthur Andersen.
Andrsen collapsed in 2002 under the weight of Enron and other financial scandals. While the book chronicles the author’s unlikely ascent to the partnership at Andersen, it also provides his perspective into what went phenomenally right during the firm’s heyday, and disastrously wrong in the end. When Arthur Andersen died, the author’s world imploded as well. He was left with no choice but to re-examine everything he thought he knew about himself. What he discovered at the dead end of the path of self-flagellation was a new beginning radically different than the one he left behind.
Praise for Hellhole, 98520:
"The book’s first virtue is its portrait of the tough mill town of Aberdeen. Like another native son, Kurt Cobain, Wilson broke free, and by dint of extraordinary effort rose to the partnership at Arthur Andersen. His searing anatomy of the firm's vertiginous collapse in 2002, which produced in him a spiritual reawakening, is the brunt of this powerful memoir. Wilson's heartfelt story is a Faustian American tale, dramatic, Dreiserian, and delicious.” J. Michael Lennon, author of Norman Mailer: A Double Life, and Mailer's Last Days: Remembrances
“A cautionary tale that is a must read for aspiring business professionals and executives.” Jeffrey R. Alves, Dean Emeritus, Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, Wilkes University
“Although the details of Wilson’s story are uniquely his, the brushstrokes are universal to the human experience: economic hardship and striving for betterment; loss, resiliency and recovery; spiritual search and rediscovery; and, above all, the rescuing power of love.” Lydia Jumonville, President and CEO, SCL Health, Intermountain Healthcare