A well-crafted, thorough biography sure to interest students of the modern economy and financial system.

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THE MAN WHO KNEW

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALAN GREENSPAN

The life of perhaps the wonkiest financial theorist to sit at the helm of the Federal Reserve.

Alan Greenspan (b. 1926) is infamous for having led the government’s chief financial institution in the years when all the perfect-storm conditions were setting up for the economy to tank and for, at least until that collapse, pressing an Ayn Rand–derived libertarian case whenever he could. Financial journalist Mallaby (More Money than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite, 2010, etc.) offers correctives and nuances to this view in this not uncritical portrait. As a math whiz kid with an interest in politics, Greenspan held a cautious contempt for the gray mass culture of the 1950s, “despite his eagerness to share in the prosperity it brought.” While he played golf and drove nice cars, sure, he also came to a rightist critique that turned, as Mallaby writes, on his membership in “a fringe group that was one part libertarian salon, two parts strange cult,” namely the circle around the Russian egotist Rand and its embrace of a particularly austere brand of logical positivism. Greenspan’s ideological purity did not preclude him from mixing in society—he dated Barbara Walters, after all—but it certainly seemed to reinforce an otherworldliness that prized theory over reality. In matters economic, Mallaby writes, Greenspan urged a kind of limited-government, free-market vision that rested uneasily with the close management required of the Fed. In that role, Greenspan took risky positions, including a complacent view of the housing bubble; after all, “subprime lending and mortgage securitization had been around for years without triggering a catastrophe,” though catastrophe is what ensued on his watch. Even so, as Mallaby closes by noting, Greenspan was not wholly averse to regulation, made financial calls that were seen as sound at the time, and may not have been able to ward off a crisis that was many years in the making.

A well-crafted, thorough biography sure to interest students of the modern economy and financial system.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59420-484-5

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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