Summary and book reviews of Maestro by Bob Woodward

Maestro

Alan Greenspan's Fed and the American Economic Boom

by Bob Woodward

Maestro
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2000, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2001, 288 pages

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Book Summary

Woodward's account of the Greenspan years is a remarkable portrait of a man who has become the symbol of American economic preeminence.

In eight Tuesdays each year, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan convenes a small committee to set the short-term interest rate that can move through the American and world economies like an electric jolt. As much as any, the committee's actions determine the economic well-being of every American. The availability of money for business or consumer loans, mortgages, job creation and overall national economic growth flows from those decisions. Perhaps the last Washington secret is how the Federal Reserve and its enigmatic chairman, Alan Greenspan, operate. In Maestro, Bob Woodward takes you inside the Fed and Greenspan's thinking. We listen to the Fed's internal debates as the American economy is pushed into a historic 10-year expansion while the world economy lurches from financial crisis to financial crisis. Greenspan plays a sometimes subtle, sometimes blunt behind-the-scenes role. He appears in Maestro up close as never before -- alternately nervous and calm, plunging into mathematics one moment and politics the next, skeptical, dispassionate, always struggling -- often alone.

Maestro traces a fascinating intellectual journey as Greenspan, an old-school anti-inflation hawk of the traditional economy, is among the first to realize the potential in the modern, high-productivity new economy -- the foundation of the current American boom. Woodward's account of the Greenspan years is a remarkable portrait of a man who has become the symbol of American economic preeminence.

The Maneuver1
(Oct. 27, '00)



Get some Democrats on the Fed, President Clinton instructed his economic advisers in early 1994. The entire Federal Reserve Board of Governors was made up of Reagan and Bush appointees, but now Clinton had a chance to name two governors to the seven-member board, his first Fed appointments. With interest rates rising, he wanted Treasury and the White House staff to move fast. The instructions weren't quite "Sink Greenspan," but the president wanted some counterweight to the Fed's Republican chairman, Alan Greenspan.

The search began for two academic economists who were Democrats and who would be at least sympathetic to Clinton's overall economic policies.

Robert Rubin, the director of the National Economic Council, sought out Alan Blinder, the deputy on the president's Council of Economic Advisers, one of his allies in the White House.

How about being the Fed vice chairman? Rubin asked.

Blinder, 48, was a tall, thin, ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BusinessWeek - Richard Miller

... what comes across most clearly is Greenspan's skill at the political power games that determine who survives in the cutthroat world of Washington. The author describes how the Fed chief forged close ties with Bill Clinton and other members of this Administration, including Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. Although Woodward gives Greenspan too much credit for the current boom, his unparalleled access to many of the principal players makes this a worthy addition to the author's oeuvre.

New York Times Book Review - Robert Kuttner

Woodward shed[s] new light on major conflicts of the Greenspan era and demystif[ies] this most political of ostensibly technical institutions . . . Mostly, Woodward's rendition of events is scrupulous and illuminating .

Reader Reviews

Jeff Hoffman

Interesting to read this book now in light of the current stock and corporate confidence woes. I found it thought-provoking and mostly balanced.

Francess Williams


It's a good book, but I would have liked it to give more information about key terms and players...

Steve

This book was the most dullest lump of xxxx that I've ever read. Too many numbers.

MB

This book is hard to understand. Poor Poor book

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