Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's not the material...

It's the delivery. Just like stand-up, a good book cannot be guaranteed by a fabulous story.

With that opening salvo, consider this "microreview" of:

The Age Of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan

You know how dead-pan and flat Greenspan's testimony before Congress was? Many of us thought this was a deliberate and wise affectation to add sombre gravity to his words.

It wasn't. It's how the dude talks and writes.

AG has lived an incredible life of accomplishment in the society of dang near every Name in the papers. He dated Barbara Walters, fer Pete's sake! He has hung with presidents and world leaders, dealt in trillions of dollars, had the ear of the powerful and the press... and then writes one of the dullest books I have ever read.

Despite the leaden prose, you may be inclined as was I to follow it to the end just to see what other fantastic conversation or backstage story he will share on the next page. Perhaps the monotone was an effort to appear modest, but his has been a life that almost defies modesty.

At first I thought he was busily name dropping throughout the matter-of-fact description of his childhood and early musical career. But he is simply telling what happened. Like mentioning the dinner parties where he discussed economics with Ayn Rand.

After about the fortieth world leader or so, he could casually mention drinking tequila with
Lenny Bruce and you'd nod your head. (He didn't - as far as I know).

It could be impending events will change his current place in history, but there is little to dislike in the man. And along the way your get a much better feel for life at the pinnacle of power. But, boy, as an author he makes a pretty good economist.

I'm glad I read it. But it wasn't easy.

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