Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
The Magnificent System! Only in America...
on May 10, 2014
Reporter, storyteller, historian, teacher, communicator; Ron Suskind is all of those things and more. I previously admitted ignorance when it came to matters of Wall Street or the economy but Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President has turned that around for me. This book is definitely 'required reading' for Real World 101, which should be a mandatory course for every American. This story begins at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, where dreams and realities are forced to interact and deal with one another.
In the summer of 2007 Robert Wolf, the forward-looking Chairman and COO of UBS America, began to recognize the 'financing dilemma' that was to about to overtake the US economy. When 'market asset' values began to drop, he shared his unique perspective with a new friend that he admired, Barack Obama, the young Senator from Illinois who was now beginning to campaign for the presidency.
Through his extensive research, Suskind has allowed us to watch the interactions of these forces of change from the inside, like a fly on the wall, through the voices of the very people involved. 'Confidence Men' includes all the politicians, the market giants, the campaigns, the Bear-Sterns collapse, the Lehman bankruptcy, the TARP, the historic election, the Administration change, the unemployment, the stimulus, the job loss, the healthcare debate, the debt ceiling; and you are right there watching these crises unfold and feeling the tangible forces competing with one another right up until the 2010 Midterm election and the change of forces. It's truly fascinating!
In his last three chapters, Suskind's prose just sparkles as he describes how the world adapted to the machinations of those in power, who were at the controls on both ends of the New York-Washington spectrum. The sad part is that now we can clearly see that not much has truly changed in this 'game of life' but the clock is still running. Our personal futures may still be in the hands of Fate but we have stabilized, our systems have matured on several fronts and our current predicaments have been connected with the broader arc of our American history. Hopefully we can learn to benefit from the deep lessons that Suskind has skillfully captured for us. We now have our elected President in office for a second term, attempting to help each of us to be confident in ourselves and in our future. This process is one that could only be accomplished in America and we must carry it forward.
I admit that my review is biased; this is not my first effort involving Suskind's words and wisdom. If the truth must be known, I very much enjoy the way that he thinks. I hope that you might check out One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies and The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism as well and perhaps you too will have multiple chances to enjoy him as I have.
Bob Magnant is the author of The Last Transition..., a fact-based novel about politics, the Internet and US policy in the Middle East...