Cover image for Keeping at it : the quest for sound money and good government / Paul A. Volcker with Christine Harper.
Keeping at it : the quest for sound money and good government / Paul A. Volcker with Christine Harper.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : PublicAffairs, [2018]

Physical Description:
xvi, 286 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : portraits (some color) ; 25 cm
Introduction: The wise old parrot -- Growing up -- Getting an education -- Early experience -- Off to Washington -- "The best job in the world" -- Monetary reform frustrated -- Back to the beginning -- Attacking inflation -- Financial crises, domestic and international -- Unfinished business : repairing the financial system -- After the Fed -- Mr. Chairman in several guises -- The search for integrity -- Setting standards -- The new financial world : breakdown and reform -- The three verities -- Epilogue: Credit where credit is due.
"As chairman of the Federal Reserve (1979-1987), Paul Volcker slayed the inflation dragon that was consuming the American economy and restored the world's faith in central bankers. That extraordinary feat was just one pivotal episode in a decades-long career serving six presidents. His insight into world-changing events such as the end of the Bretton Woods system, the closing of the 'gold window,' and the financial crisis of 2008 provide enduring lessons about the critical importance of open, disciplined, and efficient government. Told with wit, humor, and down-to-earth erudition, the narrative of Volcker's career illuminates the changes that have taken place in American life, government, and the economy since World War II. He vibrantly illustrates the crises he managed alongside the world's leading politicians, central bankers, and financiers. Yet he first found his model for competent and ethical governance in his father, the town manager of Teaneck, NJ, who instilled Volcker's dedication to absolute integrity and his "three verities" of stable prices, sound finance, and good government."--Dust jacket.
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Material Type
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332.11092 VOL Book Adult Biography

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Paul Volcker has devoted his life's work to public service and the critical importance of open, disciplined and efficient government. As chairman of the Federal Reserve (1979-1987) he literally rescued the American economy from destroying itself, summoning the courage to take radical and controversial steps to slay the inflation dragon. And whenever the going got really tough--the financial crash of 2008, the need to reform banking, the oil for food UN scandal, the turmoil in Switzerland over theft of Holocaust victims, cheating in Major League Baseball--US presidents and other leaders said to "get Volcker in here to help me work this thing through."

Told with wit, humor, and down-to-earth erudition, Volcker's memoir brings to life the changes that have taken place in American life, government, and the economy since World War II. Readers will of course find his penetrating insight into the strengths, weaknesses, and foibles of presidents, chancellors, and finance ministers of great interest. But the person who stands above all and resonates most is his father, the town manager of Teaneck, N.J.--Volcker's role model throughout his life of the critical importance of good government and the absolute need for dedicated, experienced public servants to competently lead us through the changes that await us in our lifetime.

Author Notes

Paul A. Volcker worked in the United States Federal Government for almost 30 years, culminating in two terms as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979-1987. Earlier he served as Undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Since leaving the Federal Reserve Mr. Volcker has continued his public service: as chairman of the Volcker Alliance; as head of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board; chair of the investigation of the UN's Oil-for-Food program; and head of the committee formed by Swiss and Jewish organizations to investigate deposit accounts and other assets in Swiss banks of victims of Nazi persecution and to arrange for their disposition.

Educated at Princeton, Harvard, and the London School of Economics, Mr. Volcker is a recipient of honorary doctorates from each of his "alma maters," as well as a number of other American and foreign universities.

Christine Harper has been a financial reporter and editor for more than two decades. She is the editor of Bloomberg Markets and previously was executive editor responsible for overseeing Bloomberg News's global coverage of financial companies.

Reviews 1

New York Review of Books Review

KEEPING AT IT By Paul A. Volcker with Christine Harper. (PublicAffairs, $28.) Volcker was chairman of the Federal Reserve through most of the 1980s, a period of American prosperity. In this memoir, he recounts his life story as well as the economic booms and busts he has seen along the way. IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE By Fox Butterfield. (Knopf, $26.95.) Finding a unique way to examine the issue of mass incarceration in the United States, Butterfield, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter, delves into the experience of one family, the Bogles, and how prison has become a legacy for them passed from parents to children over multiple generations. CHRONIQUES By Kamel Daoud. (Other Press, $28.95.) Daoud is the francophone journalist and author of "The Meursault Investigation," which retold the story of Albert Camus's "The Stranger." In this collection of his columns from the Algerian newspaper Le Quotidien d'Oran, he writes about the trials and tribulations of Arab society teetering between change and entrenchment. ALMOST EVERYTHING By Anne Lamott. (Riverhead, $20.) Lamott seeks reasons for hopefulness at a moment when, like many of us, she finds herself most often "doomed, stunned, exhausted and overcaffeinated." WHY JOURNALISM STILL MATTERS By Michael Schudson. (Polity, paper, $22.95.) One of the most important media scholars of our time, Schudson approaches the business of making news from a sociological and historical perspective, offering a new way to think of questions that bedevil us every day "As a White House correspondent specializing in foreign policy, I've written dozens of stories about how the United States confronts - or more often, fails to confront - the horrors of civil war in Syria, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere. Mohsin Hamid's slender novel EXIT WEST takes the geopolitics out of war completely - it doesn't even name the country being ravaged - and views it purely through the lens of a young couple, Nadia and Saeed, who fall in love among the ruins. The language is spare and unsentimental; Hamid follows the young couple to bleak refugee camps in Mykonos, London and Marin County, Calif. (he names those places, sketching out a dystopian portrait of a world coping with a mass-migration future). Nadia and Saeed are brave, heartbreaking and utterly credible. But they make their journey around the world by passing through mysterious black doorways - an abrupt turn to magical realism that has leftsome readers puzzled. I think it captures how quickly, in an era of mass mobility and digital communications, the victims of distant wars can end up on the West's doorstep." - MARK LANDLER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ON WHAT HE'S READING.

Table of Contents

Timelinep. ix
Introduction The Wise Old Parrotp. 1
Chapter 1 Growing Upp. 5
Chapter 2 Getting an Educationp. 15
Chapter 3 Early Experiencep. 30
Chapter 4 Oft to Washingtonp. 45
Chapter 5 "The Best Job in the World"p. 59
Chapter 6 Monetary Reform Frustratedp. 75
Chapter 7 Back to the Beginningp. 93
Chapter 8 Attacking Inflationp. 102
Chapter 9 Financial Crises, Domestic and Internationalp. 120
Chapter 10 Unfinished Business: Repairing the Financial Systemp. 138
Chapter 11 After the Fedp. 152
Chapter 12 Mr. Chairman in Several Guisesp. 166
Chapter 13 The Search for Integrityp. 176
Chapter 14 Setting Standardsp. 193
Chapter 15 The New Financial World: Breakdown and Reformp. 203
Chapter 16 The Three Veritiesp. 220
Epilogue Credit Where Credit Is Duep. 241
Acknowledgmentsp. 247
Notesp. 249
Indexp. 274