Professional works like the Lehman Report are a very much under-read and under-appreciated branch of literature. The same is true of County Court judgements, and the like. The judgements of higher courts, though sometimes beautifully written (Lord Denning being the most famous artist in this genre) are highly technical and all about the law. But in any kind of a commercial case, courts of first instance consider the facts and have to decide who is telling the truth. And because the very fact that a case has come to court presupposes that something has gone horribly wrong in a business transaction, their judgements are, not uncommonly, full of suspense and deadpan characterisation. I enjoyed Cembrit v Apex, which is ostensibly about a rather technical copyright matter arising out of a disaster with some roof tiles, but contains such passages as this:
On 18 November 2004, Construction News published an article which was critical of Cembrit UK and based upon the materials Mr Leader had supplied. Mr Leader was delighted and telephoned Mr Penrose to say he was "gleeful", that this was "just the start" and "I am going to get well rough from here on in". Not surprisingly, Mr Penrose explained that he found this tactic very unsettling.The fact is that mundane disasters about roof tiles are enormously dramatic to the people involved, and the things people do in response to this are all you need to generate drama.
The examiner in bankruptcy is not in the same position, but he rehearses the facts in much the same way. The Lehman report is on quite another scale, but it's still, at bottom, a tale of characters coming unstuck over time. Those unused to such things should just read the table of contents, which is 37 pages long and follows the elegant convention of whole sentences for headings, each summarising the paragraph it belongs to. But the quotes from all the emails are in the lengthy footnotes. You can get very lost in those.
At the other end of the scale, Felix Salmon has a story from Dean Jens illustrating the way a company of any size cannot behave in a coherent way, because what actually happens is limited by the powers of individuals trying to get things done.