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I read all of Bob Woodward's books as I find him to be an author who can take a fairly academic topic (e.g. the work that Greenspan did) and make it into a read that is interesting and informative.
Woodward's strength is his ability to get the inside gossip from his myriad of unnamed sources. They sometimes dish the dirt on each other which makes it an amusing read at times and one wonders the effect it has on them when they read about themselves in his books. I am sure there are some strained relationships as a result.
In this book, Woodward looks at Alan Greenspan and his work up until 2001. There is a fair amount of economic discussion in the book but nothing in the depth to make non-economists eyes glaze over. Greenspan appears to be an enigmatic figure who was quite knowledgeable in how to play politics and the press.
Overall, I think this was a very good book and as always with Bob Woodward, worth your time to read.
Do you want to be generally more knowledgeable about one of our nation's most powerful men? Want to understand better how the Fed's decisions affect the economy? Want to appreciate the always-delicate interplay between politics and monetary policy? How about to enjoy reading about economics without being put to sleep? If that's what you're looking for, this book is for you. It doesn't provide ammunition for either side of the political debate, for the most part. The most intriguing thing about this book is perhaps its timing. It's mostly a collection of extended anecdotes about situations Greenspan handled successfully. Will the current situation be an addition or an exception to the tales in Maestro? As of March 01, it's too early to tell ....
I decided to pick this book up after reading "Secrets of the Temple," hoping that it would serve as a sort of extended epilogue to that wonderful book by William Grieder on Paul Volker, Greenspan's predecessor at the Fed. However, I wasn't expecting much from Woodward - and unfortunately I wasn't disappointed.
The book briefly chronicles Greenspan's life and offers some sharp apercus on his celebrated tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman over the past decade-and-a-half. The book provides about as much detail and insight as a well-written newspaper or journal series and can easily be read in a day or two.
If you know little about the Federal Reserve and central banking in general, perhaps this book will be informative or a least serve as a primer for more serious reading. Otherwise, I don't see any reason to bother with this one...
The cozy relationship of the politically well connected and the corporate elite always makes for interesting reading. There are some interesting tidbits in this book; the familiar names of the politically entrenched and the precarious state of our nation's economic machinations, Greenspan's appreciation for President Clinton's unparalleled intelligence and so on. But I found most fascinating was the depiction of the D.C. cocktail circuit. I may be crazy, but the undercurrent seemed particularly southern. Maybe that's why we've had so many southern presidents. Who said the south would never rise again? Married to that uncanny scent of southern aristocracy is the uber-effectiveness of northern Ivy League ambition (Ivy League PhD's who also have Ivy League law degrees).Added to that stew is the invisible cadre of over-educated, devilishly ambitious entrenched offspring of well established families with a tradition of success and WHEW; count yourself out of the process! Politics - or should I say power - really does make for strange bed fellows. No wonder we can never understand the politics of our nation. I got the impression that this nation belongs to a distinct class of well educated, well read, well informed, securely entrenched and invisible class of moneyed families living and thriving comfortably insulated from the rest of the nation. And frankly, it's a place we should all strive to be and I'm putting on my thinking cap as we speak. Although I should've guessed it, I didn't know Alan Greenspan, and his longtime, classy arm-charm, Andrea Mitchell, were such savvy political operatives on the cocktail circuit. Many reviewers panned the book as boring, but I thought it was rich with subtle hints that if properly investigated led to a richer understanding of the nation's finances and future. Expect to do a little residual research after reading this one. It will be worth it.
I had a lot of respect for Woodward and have read most of his books. In an interview Woodward admitted he used a coauthor on this one. The story about Greenspan is glib and shallow. The book doesn't really describe who Greenspan is or his exact role in the boom (and subsequent bust). I was disappointed in this book and can't say I learned anything from it.
Easy read, and an economics degree is not required. The most fascinating part of Woodward's book is his description of the Fed's action during the "crash" of 1987. Opend my eyes as to how fragile our way of life really is. I highly recommend!!
This is a good review of Greenspans years and a look into the Federal Reserve. Their will to supply credit and maintain order is made clear. However, I take serious issue with Woodward's complete omission of the fact that the housing bubble started on Greenspan's and Clinton's watch. This is probably why the last budget surplus we probably will ever see was during this time. Further, it is odd the book ended at th and end of Clinton's term and not the end of Greenspan's.
...It's actually cheaper to throw this book away than to resell it. This is an "Emperor's New Clothes" book, where no one's pointing out the obvious nakedness of the emperor but are in fact hyping those snazzy threads.