CEOs Went Wild, And So Did This Author
By Anne Fisher

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Imagine, if you will, a supermarket tabloid like, say, the Weekly World News--but devoted exclusively to business celebs, with headlines like SCIENTISTS SAY LARRY ELLISON IS A SPACE ALIEN! and MEG WHITMAN IS CAUGHT IN SECRET LOVE NEST! The rag would naturally sport the cheesy tabs' unique editorial tone, by turns breathless, sniggering, outraged, awed. Got that? Okay, so picture it 375 pages long, minus the space aliens and Meg Whitman, and you have the flavor of Christopher Byron's new book, Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild (John Wiley & Sons). Every now and then a book comes along that is so silly and mean-spirited that it leaves you slack-jawed. This, friends, is one.

It's not that Byron hasn't done his homework. In taking on four big kahunas--Jack Welch, Ron Perelman, Dennis Kozlowski, and Al Dunlap--the author writes that he pored over 15,000 documents, not neglecting divorce files and police reports. Oh, boy. But it turns out all that due diligence was a fig leaf for Byron's true obsession: sleazy sex lives of the rich, here gleefully served up with a big dollop of self-righteousness. Rich and powerful men behave badly, he intones, because at "approximately the 144th month of life ... testosterone levels in males simply shoot off the chart." Okay, but if that happens in all males, doesn't that make these four just human? Byron's whole premise suggests that these guys' shenanigans were caused by sky-high testosterone, but who can say? Certainly not Byron: None of his victims would let him get close enough for an interview, let alone a blood test.

Footnotes abound, and Byron tucks many of his wilder suppositions--such as one alleging that Jack Welch's new wife, Suzy Wetlaufer, attempted to "improve and upgrade" the background of Jack's ex-wife Jane--into them. Wetlaufer declined to comment, and that seems to have been a smart call. After all, would you talk to the Weekly World News? --Anne Fisher