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James Frey, Oprah, And A Million Little Pieces

1121 words - 4 pages

The problem to be investigated was claims that were the foundational selling points for James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces. Oprah Winfrey endorsed Frey’s book, which went on to sell over a million copies in 2005 and became a number-one seller. The Smoking Gun Website facilitated an investigation, which discovered Frey’s claims to be botched. Jennings (2009) posed four key questions, which were associated with James Frey’s case study I will elaborate on those questions in this paper.
The first question posed was, “what did you learn about the quality of truth from the Frey experience” (Jennings, 2009, p. 70)? The quality of truth from the Frey experience is something that can be summed up as subjective information. While my aboriginal convictions were to say Frey lied or committed fraud, I paused really to think about what transpired. To understand this issue you have to question if Frey was motivated to lie or if Random House (the publishing company) motivated him to flavor his original convictions with exaggerated stories to sell books. On one hand, Frey was liable because he allowed the quality of his work (the truth) to be altered. Comparatively, Random House should have investigated his story before releasing the book. Sometimes the truth is something that is buried or camouflaged within half-truths and partial information. For example, many years ago I took a training class on giving presentations to large audiences. The first step of briefing large an audience was to determine the demographic that you are lecturing for. In short, you would not brief senior management the same way you would brief technical employees. I was asked to brief a vice president of engineering. Coming from a background in electrical engineering, I thought it would be relatively easy to accomplish. I gave my briefing and afterwards a committee scrutinized my presentation. I received all tens in four out of five categories however; I received a five in my fifth category. The fifth category focused on summarization of salubrious information. The review committee’s comments stated that, I had too much detail in my presentation. Furthermore, they stated that when briefing a vice president; you do not need to put details in about the issue or problem. That amalgamated a question, why would not a vice president want to comprehend the details of a dilemma or issue. While, the crux of the training class was to edify briefing skills, the gist of the lesson cultivated an environment of telling partial truths. This story allegorizes Frey’s experience in that the quality of truth was altered to fulfill personal accumulation. However, how could Frey be found guilty of truth altering while dozens of CEOs publish altered truths about earnings and company profit all the time? Should not lies and fraudulent behaviors be treated equivalently?
The second question posed was, “are there lessons on short-term versus long-term perspectives in...

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