PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis is not the book to read if you want to better understand the arguments for and against free-floating currencies, or the causes of inflation and depression. It is, however, a fascinating and for the most part well-executed case study of how some important economic decisions were made ... [Garten] remains a well-connected, well-respected emeritus member of the financial-political elite. That point of view robs Three Days at Camp David of much of the bite it might have if written by a journalist or conventional academic. But it adds a perhaps useful appreciation for how hard it is to get things right in government.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewAppelbaum does have an ax to grind, but unsheathes it only occasionally, usually to offer cutting one-sentence dismissals of particularly dubious claims by economists. His book is a marvel of popular historical writing, propelled by anecdotes and just the right amount of explanation but also impressively well grounded in the latest academic research by historians, sociologists and others. Much of the territory it covers was familiar to me, but I was constantly learning new twists and nuances.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewAdults in the Room is several things: a gripping tale of an outspoken intellectual’s sudden immersion in high-stakes politics, an at times overwrought riposte to the many people in and outside Greece who derided his efforts and a solid work of explanatory economics. Most of all, though, it is an attempt to divine why smart, seemingly decent politicians and bureaucrats would continue pushing a pointlessly cruel approach long after its pointlessness had become clear ... Varoufakis does a magnificent job of evoking the absurdities and frustrations of his tenure. This is what it’s like to go from meeting to interminable meeting for six months, trying and failing to negotiate your country’s way out of a terrible impasse. At least, this is what Varoufakis says it was like. I did wonder on occasion how much I could trust his play-by-play. I’m reviewing this book, not fact-checking it, but I couldn’t resist asking Summers for his assessment of the opening scene in the hotel bar. 'Somewhat embellished,' was the verdict. Leaving aside whether Varoufakis’s recollections might be more accurate than those of a man who has met with so many embattled finance ministers over the past quarter century that he has probably lost count, I’m good with that. A truth somewhat embellished is still pretty much the truth.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis view of Greenspan as a political animal is central to Mallaby’s account. It is also, along with the often amusing depictions of Greenspan’s personal life, what makes it so much fun to read ... Greenspan comes across in these pages as a decent, thoughtful, likable guy. Just not as an innocent, and also not as a hero ... there are many juicy stories about Greenspan’s subsequent rise from chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Ford administration to informal minister without portfolio in the early Reagan years to boss of the Fed.