Volker looks back

Book review: Keeping At It Former Fed chair Paul Volcker's memoir is much more than an account of his life. It is his credo.

926-books-Keeping-At-It

The Quest for Sound Money and Good GovernmentBy Paul Volcker (with Christine Harper)Public Affairs (£21.99)Buy on Amazon

Paul Volcker, the chairman of the Federal Reserve between 1979 and 1987, is widely credited with bringing the inflation of the late 1970s and early 1980s under control. He also played an important role in financial reform. His "Volcker Rule" banned banks from trading with their own money. In this book, Volcker looks back over his career. It is, however, much more than just an account of his life. It is his credo, says Martin Wolf in the Financial Times.

As Fed chair, Volcker "skilfully thwarted" journalists and Fed-watchers "by either refusing to speak, mumbling, or concocting incomprehensible responses", says Fortune's Alan Murray. After his retirement, Volcker "morphed into one of the world's most blunt-spoken truth-tellers, describing the world exactly as he saw it". His book continues that "good fight" and "deserves to be read".

The book invites readers to reconsider his legacy, says The Economist. It reveals that, far from being the monetarist policy wonk of legend, Volcker actually "lacked strong intellectual commitments" and had "a surprisingly moralistic view of the economy", seeing central banking as "a test of character". This suggests that "it is the strength of Volcker's character that deserves emulation rather than his response to a specific, bygone set of economic circumstances".

Recommended

My must-read of 2020: a page-turning biography of Keynes
Investment strategy

My must-read of 2020: a page-turning biography of Keynes

John Stepek recommends some of his favourite financial books for you to read as lockdowns continue, including a surprisingly gripping biography of the…
31 Dec 2020
Five books to put on your Christmas list
Investment strategy

Five books to put on your Christmas list

Even if they’ve done nothing else, lockdowns – in whatever guise – have given us plenty of time to read. Merryn Somerset Webb picks five books to enjo…
7 Dec 2020
Four excellent books to get your teeth into while you remain holed up
Books

Four excellent books to get your teeth into while you remain holed up

Whether you’re going on a staycation (or even an actual holiday) or remaining holed up at home. Merryn Somerset Webb has four perfect books to educate…
6 Jul 2020
Theatre review: The Visit
Films

Theatre review: The Visit

Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Swiss classic The Visit, transported to 1950s America, poses the question: how much would you kill for?
28 Feb 2020

Most Popular

The FTSE 100 is set for a makeover with an influx of new tech stocks
UK stockmarkets

The FTSE 100 is set for a makeover with an influx of new tech stocks

The FTSE 100 – the dullest index in the world – is about to reinvent itself as a host of new firms list on the market. The change is long overdue, say…
24 Jan 2021
Think Tesla is a bubble? This might be the best way to bet on it bursting
Oil

Think Tesla is a bubble? This might be the best way to bet on it bursting

The huge rise in Tesla’s share price means that, by market value, it’s now the sixth-largest company in the US and and the world’s biggest car-maker. …
25 Jan 2021
Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021
House prices

Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021

Lockdown sent house prices berserk as cooped up home-workers fled for bigger properties in the country. And while they won’t rise quite as much this y…
18 Jan 2021