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Confidence men : Wall Street, Washington, and the education of a president

by Ron Suskind

  Book : Document : Biography : Fiction   Computer File  |  1st ed

Suskind provides drama to economic tangles   (2013-07-02)

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by kmcdouall

Ron Suskind has a knack for turning obscure history into compelling narratives, and he doesn't disappoint here.  He fills in the cast of characters like a novelist wielding his creative toolbox--Obama's economic advisers, the Fed, the politicians making up the legislative milieu. We learn quite a lot about Obama's personality, his methods of managing meetings, and his managerial style.  It is the latter the comes up severely lacking in Suskind's account.  Always engaging, intelligent, concerned, and optimistic, Obama apparently is just a horrible manager.

 

The greatest weakness of this account is Suskind's tendency to pick his favorites: his heroes and his villains.  Larry Summers is clearly the bad guy here, Tim Geithner bringing up a close second.  Meanwhile, Suskind relies too much on the point of view of his more favored informants--those who seemingly were resisting the tide, though with what degree of effort we can't really be sure.  We only have their word.  Of course, any journalist has to believe some of his or her sources.  I just wish Suskind had taken the accounts of the "good guys" with a few more grains of salt.




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