Summary of The Fed

The Inside Story of How the World's Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives the Markets

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The Fed book summary
The Fed: walking softly and carrying a small stick.


9 Overall

5 Applicability

9 Innovation

10 Style


This intricate history of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank contains many surprising revelations about the hidden world of our central bankers, and one that might not come as much of a shock: The people calling the shots are probably no brighter than you. This simple observation is the take-away moral of Martin Mayer’s hefty book, which pulls the curtain aside to provide a fascinating, if sometimes rambling, glimpse into the world of the U.S. Fed. heartily recommends this substantive work to anyone interested in learning how the U.S. economy really functions. (Postscript: Kudos to Mr. Mayer for pointing out a couple of years ago that the positive trends we enjoyed under the Greenspan heyday could indeed reverse.)

In this summary, you will learn

  • A history of the modern U.S. Federal Reserve, with a special emphasis on the Greenspan years;
  • How new information technologies have altered the Fed’s role in guiding the economy, and
  • The conditions that helped the Fed maintain the economic prosperity of the 1990s.


Kaput! (Almost)
To understand the nature of the modern United States Federal Reserve, you must go back to October 1998, the month when everything very nearly came apart, even though almost no one realized it.

Central bankers from the world’s economic powers had come to pay...
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About the Author

A well-respected financial journalist with more than 30 books to his credit, Martin Mayer is a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. He is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, and a columnist for

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    The Fed
    The good, the bad, and the ugly about Greenspan and his clan.

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