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Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom (4 Audio Cassettes)

Woodward, Bob

642 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0743506731 / ISBN 13: 9780743506731
Published by Simon & Schuster Audioworks, 2000
Used Condition: As New
From gigabooks (Spokane, WA, U.S.A.)

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Audio Cassettes - As New - 4 Cassettes in original shrinkwrap - Abridged - 4.5 hours. Bookseller Inventory # 244235

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American ...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audioworks

Publication Date: 2000

Book Condition:As New

About this title

Synopsis:

Perhaps the last Washington secret is how the Federal Reserve and its enigmatic chairman, Alan Greenspan, operate. What do they do? Why precisely do they do it? Who is Greenspan? How does he think? What is the basis for his decisions? Why is he so powerful? What kind of relationships has he had with Reagan, Bush, and Clinton -- presidents during the 13 years he has been Fed chairman?

The Greenspan years, 1987 to 2000, are presented here as a gripping, intimate narrative, a remarkable portrait of how one man has become the symbol of American economic preeminence.

Maestro reveals a fascinating intellectual journey. Greenspan, and old-school anti-inflation hawk of the traditional economy, was among the first to realize the potential in the modern, high-productivity new economy -- the foundation of the current American boom.

Reappointed by Clinton in 2000 for another four-year term, Greenspan is slated to serve as Fed chairman until 2004. He is not only a major figure in the world's economic past, but is central to its future.

Review:

Bob Woodward called his biography of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan Maestro for two reasons. First, Greenspan is a musician. He started out as a Julliard-trained jazz sax man. "He wasn't a good improviser," Woodward reports. And while the other guys got stoned all night, Greenspan "read economics and business books and eventually became the band's bookkeeper." He also cultivated powerful pals, like Ayn Rand, whose coterie dubbed the dour young man "The Undertaker."

More profoundly, Greenspan is a maestro, a conductor, exquisitely attuned to every instrument in the political and economic orchestra. He rules by consensus, but with a firm hand and notoriously inscrutable words. Marvelously, Woodward relates that Greenspan had to propose twice to his wife, the violinist-turned-TV news star Andrea Mitchell, before she understood: "His verbal obscurity and caution were so ingrained that Mitchell didn't even know that he had asked her to marry him." Woodward gives us the inside story of what Greenspan really thinks and how he outmaneuvered the most ruthless politicians on earth in some of the hairiest times imaginable, from the 1987 stock market crash to the 1994-95 Mexican crisis to the stomach-churning turn of the century. It turns out that for all his awesome knowledge of monetary minutiae, the Fed chief literally relies on "a pain in the pit of my stomach" to make decisions. "At times, he found his body sensed danger before his head," writes Woodward. The Fed chief also adapts Einstein's technique to economics, hunting for discrepancies as keys to deeper theories. Einstein made breakthroughs out of bent light; Greenspan deduced productivity gains that government statisticians had overlooked for years. (The gains appeared when Greenspan made the statisticians calculate productivity by business sector, the way it's done in the real world.)

Woodward's prose is cool and rational, not exuberant. But if you're into economics and politics, you'll find a rich gossip trove here. Who knew Reagan had a draft of a presidential order to shut down Wall Street trading at hand in 1987? Scary! Reading Maestro is better than sitting with Greenspan in his famous tub as he charts your future--it's like being right there inside his head. --Tim Appelo

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