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

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind
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's review
Sep 21, 2011

really liked it
Read from September 23 to October 01, 2011

Some people have told me that they thought this book was a “hit piece” on the President. I can't agree; however, it is clearly not written from the perspective of blind love for him either. It seems to be a fair record of events during the first few years of the Obama administration. The story is of two capitol cities Washington, DC and New York, NY (capitol of capital and finance). It covers contributing elements of the economic collapse; how a new administration attempted recovery, and finance reform and regulation, and healthcare reform; and how the President and his staff managed (or didn't) their efforts. Wall Street was painted as operating on the edge of legality, manipulating, and taking all they could get at any cost. Regulators wore halos. Congress was slippery (in places slimy). The President was in innocent ignorant bliss resembling a fog of his own making, while his staff were dysfunctional. ...And even the most enlightened can be sexists.

The huge take away here is the shallow folly of choosing elite academics to lead without any kind of track record of actual performance. They may have the ability to learn to lead, but we learn best from our mistakes. Intellect is important, but let's face it, we all know a lot about very little. High flying academics, have in their career been told that they are very intelligent about things in their specialty area. They tend to believe it, and then extrapolate their competence to places they don't belong. A few humbling experiences help. Without experience in the real world, surfing shark infested waters, following rules, and managing and leading people to accomplish substantive goals, big brains and the egos that come with them become a liability. ...Lots of learning.

Detect that I'm on a soap box?
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