on 1 March 2004
Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration, believes in studying probability and risk. To him, uncertainty is part of life. Therefore, his inside look at the Clinton presidency and its global financial policies is carefully considered. He admits his mistakes and recounts his efforts and his successes. He offers tremendous insight on how the U.S.’s top leaders rescued other countries from financial quagmires, and he sounds an important alarm about the disconnect between the country’s growing dependence on global trade and its public lack of support for world economic relationships. Rubin carefully walks the line between being self-serving and providing sharp insights. He doesn’t offend the Clintons, though he presents events and himself — for this has an autobiographical side, as well — with apparent candor and honesty. He hasn’t taken a lot of risks here, but that could reflect his experience. After all, Wall Street might be nearly as cutthroat as Washington. getAbstract.com highly recommends his book for its exploration of the Clinton presidency, its insights into fiscal policy making and its understanding that a nation’s economic fate doesn’t stop at its borders.
on 26 January 2004
Robert Rubin is one of the giants of the financial world, having risen to the top of Goldman Sachs, served as US Treasury Secretary and then moved to the office of the Chairman of Citgroup. For anyone interested in the parallel worlds of politics and high finance, this is a fascinating read.
Rubin's low key commentary illuminates the scale of change in the financial world over the past four decades. His central theme is the interconnections, many of which are obscure or cannot be anticipated, which influence and shape financial events. This thesis shapes Rubin's probabilistic approach to decision making. The central passages of the book, which focus on the management of financial crises in Mexico, Asia and Russia provide great case studies for this approach. They also amply illustrate the difficulty of making decisions in public office, given the plethora of competing interests, which contrasts with the relative "simplicity" of corporate life.
The book is leavened with references to Rubin's personal life. In fact, one of the abiding impressions is that Rubin is really just a regular guy who likes to fish, read and play tennis and happens to be one of the gods of high finance.
As a banker who likes to fish, read and play tennis, I can't recommend this more highly.