Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President

By Ron Suskind, Harper Collins, $ 24.99

The hidden history of Wall Street and the White House comes down to a single, powerful, quintessentially American concept: confidence. Both centres of power, tapping brazen innovations over the past three decades, learned how to manufacture it.

Until August 2007, when that confidence finally began to crumble.

In this brilliantly reported book, Ron Suskind tells the story of what happened next, as Wall Street struggled to save itself while a man with little experience and soaring rhetoric emerged from obscurity to usher in ‘a new era of responsibility’. It is a story that follows the journey of Barack Obama, who rose as the country fell, and offers the first full portrait of his tumultuous presidency.

Wall Street found that straying from long-standing principles of transparency, accountability, and fair dealing opened a path to stunning profits. Obama’s determination to reverse that trend was essential to his ascendance, especially when Wall Street collapsed during the fall of an election year and the two candidates could audition for the presidency by responding to a national crisis.

Based on hundreds of interviews and filled with piercing insights and startling disclosures, CONFIDENCE MEN brings into focus the collusion and conflict between New York and Washington, one of private gain, the other of public purpose, in defining confidence and, thereby, charting America’s future.

Ron Suskind is the author of the New York Times bestsellers THE WAY OF THE WORLD, ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE, THE PRICE OF LOYALTY and A HOPE IN THE UNSEEN. From 1993 to 2000 he was the senior national affairs writer for the Wall Street Journal, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

 

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