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So Much to Do: A Full Life of Business, Politics, and Confronting Fiscal Crises Hardcover – April 29, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (April 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610390911
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610390910
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


Wall Street Journal
"Mr. Ravitch's recommended solutions to the fiscal problems of America's cities—government transparency and public education—are elusive. But the rest of the country would doubtless benefit from having more scrupulous civic leaders like Mr. Ravitch."

New York Times
So Much to Do gracefully synthesizes a serendipitous memoir illustrating the education of a public man; an enlightening, prescriptive citizen’s manual into making government work; and a passionate ‘ode to democracy’ (as Mr. Ravitch’s friend Paul A. Volcker calls it in his blurb on the back cover) into a remarkably accessible book.”

New York Post
“He could have called it “Love Story,” and the title would have been faithful to its theme. The book by Dick Ravitch, “So Much to Do,” is the story of his love affair with public service… a delightful and insightful journey through a life of business, politics and emergencies…Fortunately, the book arrives as a new generation of leaders exhibits a shaky understanding of what fiscal prudence means, and the dangers of ignoring it. The book ought to be required reading by the new team at City Hall before it is too late.”

Weekly Standard
“Richard Ravitch is an extraordinary man. He’s an intelligent, indefatigable, honest, honorable, accessible, and personable fellow who, for 45 years, has played a key role in rescuing New York’s jerrybuilt fiscal structure from its own failings. Yes, that’s my personal opinion of the man who has just written this autobiography, aptly titled So Much to Do; but it’s an opinion broadly shared by New Yorkers caught up in the political life of the city and state over nearly half of a century.”

New York Times, DealBook, column by Andrew Ross Sorkin
“This last book has flown under the radar but deserves to be highlighted as simply a delightful memoir…It is a small book, but it is filled with great stories and lessons about state government, New York City and the influence of money in politics and life.”

Detriot Free Press
“For hints and striking parallels to the current drama in Detroit…So Much to Do: A Full Life of Business, Politics, and Confronting Fiscal Crises— is chock-full of insider tales of the wrangling among politicians, powerful Wall Street financiers and labor unions in New York.”

City Journal
"We need more public servants like Richard Ravitch… as Ravitch’s career shows, even seemingly dire problems can be solved through grit, intelligence, and good faith.”

The Bond Buyer
“In So Much to Do, his narrative includes the thrill of experiencing first-hand the "I've Got a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King speech in August 1963 and the chill of New York's banking leaders telling him point-blank in May 1975 that they would no longer underwrite the city's bonds and notes…The book also shines a light on major New York players, political and otherwise, Ravitch worked with over 35 years, including Mayor Ed Koch, governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo, and even Yankees owner George Steinbrenner…Ravitch to this day relishes life as an independent thinker.”

Paul Volcker
So Much to Do—an apt description of Dick Ravitch’s life. It’s been a New York life, filled with personal, business, and most of all energetic response to civic challenges. But the book is much more than that. It’s a call for action to a nation consumed by discord, doubting its capacity to act, failing to provide trusted leadership at home or abroad.

The Ravitch saga tells a different story—the ability of our political leaders to reconcile their differences in the face of crises, to act together with imagination, to accept financial discipline, and to build for a flourishing future. So Much to Do is truly an ode to democracy in action, with a spirited affirmation of the personal satisfaction that can be found in public service.”

About the Author

Richard Ravitch has been chairman of the New York State Urban Development Corporation, chairman of HRH Construction Corporation, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, chairman of the Bowery Savings Bank, lieutenant governor of the State of New York, and co-chair, with Paul Volcker, of the task force on the state budget crisis. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Every American should read this book.
Electric Kettle
I hope this book is read by those in a position to change things.
Francis A. Corcoran
Very well written and a necessary book.
peter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ABQ girl on June 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard this gentleman on NPR and he made a lot of sense as to why our politics is so dysfunctional. Besides explaining that, he offers several examples as to how to get things done. Granted, he may be exceptional in his people skills and determination ... but there must be more people out there who could do similar feats of bringing people together to solve our problems.

The real surprise was HOW readable it was. I thought I would have to slog through to get his points. Quite the opposite. There were times I couldn't put it down. A really good read for seeing how solutions can be found when they seem impossible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By admirer of Latin literature on May 8, 2014
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Lots of great history and stories of one of New York's great public servants. Dick Ravitch story is encouraging for anyone interested in entering public service. Only shortfall of the book is writing sometimes leaves something to be desired.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Francis A. Corcoran on May 6, 2014
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Eminently readable; presents some very disturbing facts about the state of New York State. I hope this book is read by those in a position to change things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Brand on June 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very well written, gives great insights into the many fiscal crises facing New York City and State, and the personalities at the top as well as many actors at all levels.
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Mr Ravitch is an amazing public spirited citizen. In his book he took me through his more than fifty years of involvement in
national, state and municipal financial and policy issues. There is a lot to be learned about how our country gets into and
out of problems, often created by well-intended policies that back-fire, at times created by 'politics', and (more often than we
recognize) caused by incumbents with tendencies to 'kick the can down the road', looking good in the process but leaving a
real mess for the 'inheritors'. Mr Ravitch is particularly astute in alerting the reader to the facts that many states
and local governments are facing huge financial obligations, (bonds, pensions, borrowings) beyond their current capacity to
honor. I found this revealing, riveting and very scary.
But in my opinion, the best reason to read this well-written chronicle is that the author goes beyond listing the problems to inform
us of solutions to remedy. How refreshing is that!
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By Kenneth Sherrill on May 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The final four chapters are must reading for anyone who cares about the fiscal future of the American states and of the nation in general. Ravitch brings the now inevitable crisis to our attention and makes sensible proposals for dealing with the problem. In Ravitch's world, no one is blameless. Democratic and Republican politicans, labor and management, bankers and average citizens, all have responsibility for what has happened and for finding the solutions. Ravitch provides real leadership.

The opening fove or six chapters are a delightful memoir of his life. It's a great read, perhaps a little sugar-coated, but wonderful.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very readable but entire focus was on past until the very last chapter. He had some interesting comments about famous NY politicians and power brokers but it seemed like he had only good things to say about everyone except for George Steinbrenner. i did find the sketchy nuts and bolts of his public deals interesting and would have preferred more (maybe in an appendix).

I was disappointed because I was looking for a detailed discussion of possible solutions for the state and local fiscal problems he only describes in the last chapter.
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This is a fast read by a man who skips most of the details of growing up, but does give us brief personal background - including his becoming a successful builder in private industry. However, he has been repeatedly tapped for public serivce - as head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority for the NYCity area, lieutenant governor of the State of New York, etc., etc. I am so thankful we had him as a fiscal watchdog-public servant, and I wish we had more like him. He gives a few basic fiscal rules, based on his experiences in government, to avoid, as he puts it, kicking the can down the road. I would say that this book should be required reading for every executive and legislator in the country, but I realize that their desire to be re-elected would make them ignore his obviously sound rules. But as citizens who live in a democracy, it's important for each of us to understand his few rules so that we can prod our executives and legislators to do the right thing financially so that we live within our means. This is not a conservative tract, but a sound fiscal approach. An important book for all of us.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Richard Ravitch (born July 7, 1933) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 75th Lieutenant Governor of New York from 2009 to 2010. He was appointed to the position in July 2009 by New York Governor David Paterson. A native of New York City, he earned a law degree from Yale Law School and has worked in his family's real estate development business, a number of government and government-appointed positions, including with the New York State Urban Development Corporation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and in private industry, including tenures as chairman of the Bowery Savings Bank and as the chief owner representative in labor negotiations for Major League Baseball.

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