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One of the most interesting books I have read in some time. Well written and easy to follow. It must be difficult to write about such a brilliant man in such a way as to make it accessible to all without dumbing it down to an insulting level, so Mallaby must be given credit for his skills as a biographer to pull this off. Very good read!
Good story of the last 50 years of the reach for personal power. Short term nature of political process is well documented. Govt. use of financial engineering is even worse than the private sectors. Al Pearlstein
An insight into a complex man that is Alan Greenspan and the power he wielded as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. In his defense, It's fair to say that Mr Greenspan acted based on the information available; admittedly, he was willfully blind to information or making decisions that were at odds with his beliefs. Thereby choosing his battles wisely to increase his odds of victory and influence in Washington.
A masterpiece. Although the book is about the life and times of Greenspan, it is also an authoritative retelling of the American fiscal and monetary history of the past eight decades. It perfectly blends the rich and entertaining details of an individual's life with that of the working of public policy. Another commendable thing with the book is its ability to narrate economic concepts delectably. It is a treatise on the interaction among interest rates, asset prices, price stability, macroeconomic stability and regulations. One of the greatest economic books I have ever read. I made a one line summary of a majority of the pages and it helps me serve up an engaging story to any one willing to listen. Much richer for having read this opus. Highly recommend it.
I enjoyed this book a lot! While it took a couple of weeks to get through, it was well worth it.
Things I liked: - To get to understand Alan as a person. How he went from a quiet mummy's boy to an Ayn Rand follower and young millionaire to background political figure and all the way to "maestro". Finally, after leaving office and the GFC started, he became a pariah. - The book will also take you on a journey through US economic history from an insider view of governments and Presidents from Nixon to George W Bush. - That it is too simplistic to simply blame all of the excesses of the lead up to the GFC on Greenspan and particularly on loose monetary policy (it did contribute a lot but is not the sole reason) - The book helps you to understand economics in general i.e. inflation, interest rates, macroeconomics, the economy and politics etc.
What attracted me to read the book? Well, you only need to read through a financial blog or comments section of any article referencing Mr Greenspan to find out that people absolutely despise the man. That intrigued me. A recent FT review of a book just released by Alan contained at least 25 slanders of the man and I thought I had to get around to reading this on my bookshelf after 2 years. While I get that people are angry for his part in contributing to the GFC, it is a very lazy way to do so and I think everyone with an interest in finance and economics could benefit from reading this book.
I say this because Alan and many others (prominent economists, governments, other central bankers including Bernanke) generally underestimated the extent of the excesses in the system but at the same time had faith in the "market" to correct any bubbles. Perhaps more importantly, the Fed at the time had a mandate for price control and employment, not asset prices. People expected too much of their leaders and as the author states in his conclusion, it was impossible for him to live up to these expectations.
I don't write many book reviews but I felt great after reading this book. If you have an interest in Greenspan, want to understand monetary policy better or even want a good breakdown of economic history for the past 50 odd years, then I recommend this book.
Not only does the reader get to know more about one of the most important and misunderstood men of economics of our generation, but I feel that I better understand the economy and financial history as a result.
Wish I had read this book during MBA with case discussion class by class. Progressing with the long pages (over 700) the naration comes closer to the more recent events, i.e. the infamous 2007/08 financial crisis, which subsequently marks the end of the book. After reading this book I understand more about the role and no-action attitude demonstrated by decision and policy makers led to this crisis.