The Courage to Act

  • by Ben S. Bernanke
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 22 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 2006, Ben S. Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve, capping a meteoric trajectory from a rural South Carolina childhood to professorships at Stanford and Princeton, to public service in Washington's halls of power. There would be no time to celebrate, however - the burst of the housing bubble in 2007 set off a domino effect that would bring the global financial system to the brink of meltdown. In The Courage to Act, Bernanke pulls back the curtain on his efforts to prevent a mass economic failure, working with two US presidents and using every Fed capability, no matter how arcane, to keep the US economy afloat. His experiences during the initial crisis and the Great Recession that followed give listeners an unequaled perspective on the American economy since 2006, and his narrative will reveal for the first time how the creativity and decisiveness of a few key leaders prevented an economic collapse of unimaginable scale.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Way, way deep into the weeds...

Would you consider the audio edition of The Courage to Act to be better than the print version?

I have no way of comparing. This question needs to be dispensed with as I do not believe the overwhelming majority of audiobook partakers make it a habit to also read the print version of each audiobook. It makes no sense to me that they would do both.


What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Interesting.


What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

To me, the narrator seemed like the nearly ideal person to give voice to this entire book, with his uniformly even, dispassionate tone, considering what most people might regard as very dry material. I will even admit to nodding off a time or two. But I saw no way the narrator could have jazzed up his delivery of what mostly sounded like right out of a textbook, at least until near the end.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, I don't feel an extreme reaction is possible. Not that the financial crisis itself was not an extreme thing, impacting gazillions of citizens in a horrible way. But in this book, we are in an academic world, a world of graphs and rules, of historical precedents and, it seemed, every type of consideration other than the real-world, intimate effects felt by the victims. This would be my main criticism of the work.

Not that the harm to the victims was skipped or its importance denied. It was all there, but it was given as numbers on charts. There was not a single personal story given of a victim's life being ruined by the irresponsible acts of others.

Another factor that was not elucidated in my opinion had to do with the criminality of the perpetrators of the crisis. Totally lacking was any blaming or emphasis on the right/wrong aspect. All the factors that actually coalesced to cause the collapse were listed as in a textbook, but in a setting of a financial environment, not human nor even very much political. The political aspect was lightly touched upon.

Even the situatiion with the robo-signers, which at the time quite shocked and alarmed me, was flatly explained in terms of numbers of documents, etc., and the amount of fines eventually paid. No outrage was evident on the part of the author.

The author did mention his "disappointment" over how it seemed the politicians were so willing and even eager to harm the economy without really even knowing what the end result would be, but I would have described the whole political situation in different, specific terms. This crisis was nothing if not death by a thousand cuts for millions of citizens.

All told, however, it appears the intent of this work was to be just a sort of day-by-day diary of one man's trek through the deep weeds of a near-death experience of the world's foremost economy, with all that emanates therefrom. I would have thought that experience would have been a lot more of an emotional one for the man sitting in at the top of the heap, taking the destruction all in.<b


Any additional comments?

Get this book if you are a person with education on finance. Its main interest would have to be to this group. There is precious little of an up-close-and-personal aspect included, although being the subject was the ruination of so many lives, I would have thought more should have been said about that. This book was written from the viewpoint of a master mechanic analyzing a terrible train wreck - all the big and little material things which played into the wreck, while almost meticulously barely mentioning the hundreds of people who were killed.

Will probably be used as a textbook.

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- farmhouselady

Well done, calm methodical

As expected a methodical step by step writing.
I suspect Mr. Bernanki was not only the man for the job, he was in fact the BEST man.
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- CDG CPA

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-05-2015
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio