Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom
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Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  461 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Perhaps the last Washington secret is how the Federal Reserve and its enigmatic chairman, Alan Greenspan, operate. In Maestro, Bob Woodward uses his proven interviewing and research techniques to take you inside the Fed and Greenspan's thinking. Woodward presents the Greenspan years as a gripping narrative, a remarkable portrait of a man who has become the symbol of Americ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2000)
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Frank Stein

It's possible to call this book outdated, since it was published in 2000 at the height of Greenspan's popularity and with another six years to run in his chairmanship, but no other book about Greenpspan could possibly feature Woodward's astounding access to all the major players. In this work Woodward gives the reader an insightful and readable look at the inner workings of the federal reserve at what could be called its moment of peak influence (who remembers now the countdown clocks to the nex...more
yoli
Dec 23, 2007 yoli rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: economic buffs and sycophants of power
Shelves: 2007
This was originally read as extra credit for my Intro to Macroeconomics class, but the question list was far too long and I got an A regardless. ;) All modestly, all the time, I know. But Maestro : Greenspan’s Fed and the American Boom was actually really good, and it generated within me a giant crush on former Fed Chairman Greenspan, so much so that for the rest of this I’m going to refer to him as “Ali G,” like Da Sacha Baron Cohen series. Kidding, Mr. Greenspan is far too dour-faced for that...more
Alexander
The biggest disappointment is this book stops at 1999, and thereby misses two major events of Greenspan’s tenure, the tech bubble bursting and the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis. I'm certain this book would have a different title if Greenspan's full record was considered.

Bob Woodward's narrative style is straight forward, which is refreshing in this highly editorialized age, but it does leave the personalities looking flat. It is in many ways a blow by blow accounting of interest rate deci...more
J. J. Arias
This is the first Bob Woodward book I've read, and I'm not crazy about his writing. It seems very simple, but not Hemingway-simple. I try to take the recreations of conversations with a grain of salt since he wasn't there when they took place. I already know a lot about the Fed but it was interesting to see how Greenspan began to suspect a productivity speedup which probably helped him avoid raising interest rates too much in the mid-90s. It was also interesting to see how firmly entrenched the...more
Chris
While certainly revealing, Woodward offers little more than a groveling dictation of his interview notes.
Terry Filicko
With MAESTRO, Woodward provides a good overview of Greenspan's Fed. It's very useful for anyone who wants an understanding of how the Fed works, the dynamics between the political figures and Fed governors during Greenspan's tenure, and the policy perspectives of this particular cast of economic figures.

Reading about Greenspan's Fed as we are emerging from the 2007 Recession and as there is discussion about who will succeed Ben Bernanke was helpful for providing some "how we got here" context....more
Ralph
"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce." ~James Garfield

I remember one day in the late 1990's, my professor in a macro-economics class said that Alan Greenspan was the most powerful person in the world. This intrigued me. At the time I knew very little about the Federal Reserve and nothing about Alan Greenspan. This particular book was published in 2000, which happened to be when I created my original to-read list. I decided I need...more
Hedry
I didn't care for this book. It was most certainly outdated, having been published before Greenspan was even out of office, but it also failed to probe at any significant economic questions. I got the feeling that Woodward was trying to set up an interesting point when talking about tech and productivity gains, but he never quite got there... it was like a joke with all set-up and no punch line. The book was very journalistic, without adding much in the way of insight. The few interesting points...more
Ryan Curell
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was instrumental in the shaping of the late-century American economy boom. The book details his reign at the Fed, his working policy, intraoffice dealings with Fed governors and other economic advisors, and his advisory relationship to President Bill Clinton.

This book is primarily about Greenspan, whom I find to be fascinating, though it is also more than 10 years old and in some respects outdated: It is less a book specifically about Greenspan, and is more on the ope...more
Johnsergeant
Downloaded from Audible.com

Narrator: James Naughton
Length: 4 hours 30 min. (abridged)

Publisher's Summary
Perhaps the last Washington secret is how the Federal Reserve and its enigmatic chairman, Alan Greenspan, operate. What do they do? Why precisely do they do it? Who is Greenspan? How does he think? What is the basis for his decisions? Why is he so powerful? What kind of relationships has he had with Reagan, Bush, and Clinton - presidents during the 13 years he has been Fed chairman? The Greens...more
Eric
While other reviewers point out that this book is outdated, I think it still has tremendous value today. The Federal Reserve is so important to US economic activity, and the worlds', that reading about its inner workings is always relevant. The drama here seems repetitive, will they raise interest rates or won't they, but the details that surround that issue are interesting to follow. The reader gets a desk-side seat to how Greenspan ran the Fed-- the data he used, how he followed it, and how he...more
Brian
As a Republican, I didn't think I was going to like this book as it focuses much of the content on the 8 years of the Clinton Presidency. You get a new appreciation of how Bill Clinton changed his ideology to truly reduce the federal spending to give the economy a boost that became part of his legacy. After one of his first briefings with Greenspan, Clinton was quoted as saying great, now I am going to have a Republican presidency... when realizing he couldn't implement his social programs.

The b...more
Ken
A hagiographic take on Alan Greenspan and his role in shaping the U.S. economy in the 1990s. The parts on the 1987 stock market crash, the relationship between Chairman Greenspan and President Clinton and Secretary Robert Rubin, and the collapse of Long Term Capital Management are all very interesting and demonstrate how real-time crisis management works. However, too much of the book is focused on Greenspan's interpetation of events without a larger discussion of economic forces outside of Wash...more
Margaret
I started getting really into this book and then went back to school so I am only about halfway through. But I am enjoying it so far. It goes into the behind the scenes conversations involved in the Fed's decision to raise or lower interest rates. It's a great book if you ever wondered how that all worked plus there's lots of drama involved when two powerful figures clash. And I enjoyed hearing the opinions on how much the various Presidents that were in office during Greenspan's terms really un...more
Steven
When historians talk about the late 1980s through the early 2000s, any discussion would be incomplete without reference to Alan Greenspan. As some would say, In Greenspan we trust. This biography is titled Maestro due to Mr. Greenspan's training as a musician at Julliard and his conducting of U.S. economic policy. Interesting times such as the 1987 stock market crash, the 1994 devaluation of the peso, and the largest peace-time economic expansion are all visted.


Dewey Norton
Needs to be rewritten now that there is a general understanding of collosal mismanagement of the Fed by Greenspan, how this was the primary cause of our current recession and how we almost had a depression. Woodward was so wrong about Greenspan, I have lost all interest in anything he writes, although his two books on Nixon were great then and still are great accounts, perhaps due to the contribution his collaborator Bernstein.
Tim
I really enjoyed this book, as did many friends, even some who worked at the Fed. I'm still in the camp that thinks Greenspan was a great Fed chairman. Such a shame that people are judging him by the housing bust of 2007 alone.

Woodward is a great reporter and he paces the book well. You really feel like you are behind the scenes as various crises and meetings and phone calls happened.
Sunil
Excellent discussion of what actually happens in and around Fed meetings. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of how the Fed makes decisions under uncertainty, and how Greenspan's pursuit of clarity around productivity gains was a long but ultimately fruitful effort.

Very much a "behind the scenes" look at a powerful institution.
Chandler
A timely read considering the current economic circumstances. Greenspan wrote the veritable book on how to start and foster an economic boom, and this novel provides the inner workings and daily aspect of his actions which were so effective between 1987 and 2006.
Tomfitz
Helped me immensely in understanding the role of the Fed and its effect on the economy - I read it just before the current meltdown in the economy, as the mortgage crisis was gaining momentum - enlightening!
Jen
To be fair, I really did not give this book a chance. I couldn't get on board with Woodward's style of writing, and I really despised the class for which I was reading the book. It was dry, dry, dry.
Eric
Learn a little more about how the Fed effects the money supply and therefore interest rates by reading this book. A little repetitive but solid in explaining how Greenspan got things done his way.
Jonah
for people who like...learning about the federal reserve system! alan's a hero of mine, look forward to reading his autobiography, though Bob Woodward is penetrating and pithy as always.
Lawrence
Blatant errors early in the book stopped me from reading further. Given that I could not trust the accuracy of the author's observations, it seemed pointless to go further.
Keenanrobbins
Greenspan, and his sycophant Woodward, got it so wrong.
Alen
pretty good, but looking back it's more like hero worship when times are good. Don't think Greenspan's legacy will be as rosy as when he was in office.
Mark Franke
Great book on the role of the fed in us and world economics. Regardless of your view of Allen Greenspan, clearly an incredibly bright and powerful man.
Emiliano Orencia
Woodward does it again by taking the reader inside the intricate world and workings of arguably one of the more influential individuals in government.
Brian Katz
Looking at the fed's policy today (2012) and back at Greenspan one has to challenge whether or not Greenspan was a hero or a fool.
Carol
A tough read for a non business major but I stuck with it and learned may be more than I wanted to know about the Federal Reserve.
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15441
Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collecti...more
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