Summary of Confidence Men

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Confidence Men book summary


9 Overall

8 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


If ever a moment was ripe for change, it was in the fall of 2008. A young president-elect had tapped into the anxieties and fears of a nation suffering through its worst economic crisis in decades. Barack Obama offered Americans hope in a better future but then hit the power-sucking nexus of Wall Street and Washington. Journalist Ron Suskind offers an insider’s look at the machinations, power plays and personalities within the first year of the Obama White House and examines Obama as president against a backdrop of global drama and uncertainty. Suskind’s more than 200 interviews with top participants in both finance and government – including the president – provide a telling story of how campaign promises can slam up against the intransigent realities of governing. While remaining, as always, totally neutral in terms of political points of view, getAbstract recommends Suskind’s book for its particularly lucid exposition of the unfolding financial crisis and how all-too-human politicians and bankers, who – despite the cautionary admonition of former presidential chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – “let a crisis go to waste.”

In this summary, you will learn

  • How presidential candidate Barack Obama cultivated Wall Street insiders,
  • How the status quo trumped idealism at the beginning of the Obama administration,
  • How events unfolded in the White House until the president took charge of his fractious advisers, and
  • How little has changed in the nexus of Wall Street and Washington.

About the Author

Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of The Way of the World, The One-Percent Doctrine and The Price of Loyalty.



Clouds Gathering

In the midst of his first campaign for the US presidency in 2007, Sen. Barack Obama met with his top advisers. The economy was the subject – specifically, how an Obama administration would tackle the growing income disparity setting back the middle class. Wage earners had seen their real incomes stagnate over the previous three decades, while the top 1% had more than doubled their share of the national wealth. Obama listened as the experts batted back and forth the ideas that could reignite the economy and create jobs, such as investments in alternative energy, health care and infrastructure. In his calm, analytical way, Obama integrated the various arguments, taking the best from each and leavening them with his vision and insight.

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