Drake's Reviews > Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind
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's review
Jul 19, 2012

it was amazing

Ahhh, it’s an election year and time for politics. My first dive was into Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men and it was amazing. Summarizing the early years of the Obama presidency, the book contrasts the hopes and desires of the young president with the soul-crushing realities of mismanagement and incompetence. Although, I didn’t always agree with Suskind’s premise of the self-destruction of males in powerful positions, there was plenty of research to back it up. From the way President Obama heeded to the male dominated Wall Street bankers, to his exclusion of women in some of the administration’s most serious decisions, the gender issues were presented fairly and without bias.

More than anything, the book portrayed the president’s leadership style as bucking major decisions to others, mostly the alpha males in his staff. Likewise, his inability to confront those underneath him, such as Timothy Geithner and Rahm Emanuel, resulted in poor compromises and the inability for any real change. It’s no accident that the book opened with a portrayal of Elizabeth Warren, who seemed to embody the reformer that the public desired, and closed with her being denied a role at the Consumer Protection Bureau that she was instrumental in creating.

Suskind presents a superb historical analysis of the challenges of this presidency and is uncompromising in pointing out its flaws. And unlike most of the garbage that passes for political analysis, which is really just partisan hackery, Suskind sticks to the facts, which are neither kind to the Democrats nor the Republicans. A must read for anyone interested in modern politics.
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