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Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence
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Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Over the course of nearly half a century, five American presidents --- three Democrats and two Republicans --- have relied on the financial acumen, and the integrity, of Paul A. Volcker. During his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, when he battled the Great Inflation of the 1970s, Volcker did nothing less than restore the reputation of an American financial ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Bloomsbury Press
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Hadrian
The continuing economic crisis is not solely a matter of money - it also relates to a lack of trust. The reputations of many institutions and figures lie ruined, rubble on the fields of history.

For example - as hard to believe as it is now, the Federal Reserve was created separate from the government (despite the name), so as to prevent the influence of political parties from influencing monetary policy, and to remain an impartial and advisory body to prevent economic instability. This has not b
...more
Daniel Taylor
Until I got the press release from the publisher about this book, I had no idea who Paul Volcker was or the influential role he'd played in shaping the US -- and, therefore, the world's -- economy.

Volcker's public life centred around three crises: cutting the link of the US dollar's value to gold, curbing extreme inflation in the 1980s, and preventing the collapse of the US economy during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

This laudatory biography limits its probings into Volcker's life to thes
...more
Breakingviews
By Martin Hutchinson

William Silber’s biography of Paul Volcker is rightly sympathetic to the man whose determination and integrity conquered U.S. inflation. When needed, he overcame opposition from politicians and academic economists. Yet once his work was done, policy slid back and his abilities were wasted.

Silber traces Volcker’s career from his earliest days at the money market desk of the New York Federal Reserve. He was a Democrat when he served in the Treasury Department in the 1960s, but
...more
Athan Tolis
Rather than a biography, this book is a blow-by-blow account of Volcker's life as a public servant. It is truly gripping. If you enjoyed books like "Too Big to Fail" and "Lords of Finance" or even "Barbarians at the Gate," beware of picking it up, you will not rest until you have finished it.

I sure couldn't.

While I was at it, I managed to pick up some international economic history. I already knew, for example, that by the end of the sixties the US was running out of gold to stand behind the con
...more
Joseph
The author does a nice job explaining technical details of economics which is critical toward understanding the scenarios that central bankers face. It seems like the author is more interested in the statistical scenarios that Paul Volcker faced throughout his career rather than diverting attention on telling anecdotes of the personalities he worked with. In this case, although it makes for a more sobering read, I think the author was correct in fashioning his narrative in this matter. One sees ...more
Jim
Not the fastest read in the world and a bit jumbled in places. Nice to see another Jersey Boy do the right thing for the U.S. I was amazed to see the financial hardship he and his wife endured while he was saving us from the demons of inflation. Hard to believe that only 30 years ago the world was so upset about crossing the $2 Trillion debt mark. We have added twice that just in the first 4 years of the Obama administration and are now at $16.2 Trillion. It was helpful to read this to understan ...more
Riley
This book is a reminder of how monetary policy, like the theory of relativity, is one of those things that I can understand while I read about it, only to lose all comprehension of it afterward.

Parts of this biography approached hagiography, like this passage I underlined:

"Volker flourishes under pressure. His methodical reasoning slows everything down inside his head, the way a professional quarterback dissects the defense at the line of scrimmage. Crisis control is his favorite pastime."
Robin


This is a fine biography that confirms one's high opinion of the man who tamed inflation in the 1980s. There are also many parallels to the Fed's situation today - not least the need to resist political pressure.

The book is agreeably short and does a good job of explaining the economics. It does lose a bit pace as it goes on, however, and the author falls into some distracting patterns, such as ending every passage with a declarative sentence about what's coming next.
Jim
Interesting to learn about a man that has been through the ups and downs of many presidencies. Held positions from the Treasury to the Fed under Democrats and Republicans. A book that paints a sympathetic portrait of Paul Volcker. However, unless you have interest in the gold standard and/or interest rates, there's not a great reason to pick this book up.
Derek Barnes
If, like me, you grew up never experiencing the spectre of inflation, seeing it through the eyes of former Federal Reserve Chairman and inflation-slayer, Paul Volcker, is a good place to start.
Natalie
Jan 07, 2013 Natalie marked it as to-read
From Austan Goolsbee's article http://www.foreignaffairs.com/article...
Sue
LDR said too dense for him to enjoy.
Ed Wright
Good biography.
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