FT Business Book of the Year

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All the books listed for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

The Man Who Knew by Sebastian Mallaby

The Man Who Knew

One of the many paradoxes of the man, as Sebastian Mallaby rightly highlights in his exceptional new biography, is that Greenspan was better qualified than any other central banker of his generation to steer a course through these turbulent economic times. Yet he was an implausible future leader of the Fed at the start of his career. — Read the complete FT review


Alan Greenspan was appointed by Ronald Reagan to Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a post he held for 18 years. He presided over an unprecedented period of stability and low inflation, was revered by economists, adored by investors and consulted by leaders from Beijing to Frankfurt.

Both data-hound and eligible society bachelor, Greenspan was a man of contradictions. His great success was to prove the very idea he, an advocate of the gold standard, doubted: that the discretionary judgments of a money-printing central bank could stabilise an economy. He resigned in 2006, having overseen tumultuous changes in the world’s most powerful economy. Yet when the great crash happened only two years later many blamed him, even though he had warned early on of irrational exuberance in the market place.

Sebastian Mallaby brilliantly shows the subtlety and complexity of Alan Greenspan’s legacy. Full of beautifully rendered high-octane political infighting, hard-hitting dialogue and stories, The Man Who Knew is superbly researched, enormously gripping and the story of the making of modern finance.