Perhaps they really are just a pair of lucky people, but Milton and Rose Friedman are so perfectly matched that destiny must have played some part in their coming together. Milton is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Rose, an influential theorist who advised American presidents and world leaders on the formation of their economic policies. Together the two wrote books (one flopped, the other is 1982's Free to Choose
, a runaway bestseller) and were instrumental in influencing systems and ideas like negative income tax, the balanced budget amendment, tax-withholding, and even drug legalization. At times their ideas seemed outrageous but their strong belief that personal freedom is essential to a sound economy has helped shape many of the West's socioeconomic policies in the latter half of the 20th century.
And it is together, too, that the Friedmans penned their memoirs. The tone of Two Lucky People is quite humble despite their considerable achievements. They remember the lingering, technical conversations--which would put most people to sleep--that they shared in front of their fireplace; the personal and professional relationships they had with Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Margaret Thatcher; Milton's winning of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science; and countless other triumphs in their field. The book lacks the personal information--tastes in literature, art, music--and the quotidian details that help form a solid sense of personality. But their passion for their vocation seems all-consuming and maybe, in the end, that's what defines them best.
...[an] engaging book ... written in a kind of snappy dialogue... -- National Review, Stephen Moore
...a rich autobiographical and historical panorama ... What makes these memoirs so enjoyable is their candor. -- The Wall Street Journal, William P. Kucewicz
On the evidence of this joint autobiography, it is little wonder that Milton and Rose Friedman are advocates of a free society. Their own lives are a testimonial to what freedom is about and what it offers.
Two Lucky People moves with vitality across many of the major issues of our century. But in the end, it remains a tantalizingly elusive book. Indeed, the Friedmans go to some lengths to present themselves as in almost every respect far less interesting than they really are: just two disinterested scientists, doting parents, and grandparents.
One would not learn from this book that they rank among the most radical critics of the American status quo, favoring the decriminalization of drugs, privatization of Social Security, and a wholesale recasting of the public-school system. But then, the outward-directed temperament that enabled the Friedmans to live such full and rich lives may be fundamentally at odds with the kind of introspection we expect in autobiographies. -- Commentary, David Frum