Category: Reviews & Commentary

‘The Alchemists’ makes best of 2013 lists at the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and more

December 14, 2013 No Comments by Neil

As a wide range of news outlets publish their best books of the year lists, The Alchemists is showing up on quite a few of  them. At The Wall Street Journal, Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, writes that “‘The Alchemists’ offers perhaps the best account yet of the accidentally transformational […]

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‘The Alchemists’ in strategy + business, Economic Times, and Quartz

September 21, 2013 No Comments by Neil

Rob Norton at strategy + business reviews The Alchemists. He writes: Irwin was assigned to cover the U.S. Federal Reserve in August 2007, just as the wheels began to come off the mortgage-backed securities market and the mayhem began to build. He was thus perfectly situated to report on the crisis and its aftermath, and he has […]

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Here’s what central bankers and critics around the world are saying about ‘The Alchemists’

August 10, 2013 No Comments by Neil

In an interview with the CBC, Stephen Poloz, the new governor of the Bank of Canada was asked what he has read lately. The answer: The Alchemists. Said Poloz, “It’s absolutely fascinating, that’s been written with a true insiders’ view. And knowing the people now makes it even more insightful for me.” It wasn’t the […]

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Adam Posen in Foreign Affairs: The Alchemists is an excellent account, scrupulously reported, with lasting value

July 14, 2013 No Comments by Neil

Adam Posen, a former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee and now head of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, reviews The Alchemists in the June/July issue of Foreign Affairs. He doesn’t much care for the book’s title, but like much of what he read. He writes, in part: An excellent account…scrupulously reported and […]

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The Economist: The Alchemists’ “sweep is impressive”

May 19, 2013 No Comments by Neil

The Economist reviews The Alchemists,  and has this to say: Mr Irwin’s sweep is impressive. He uses anecdotes from the main historic crises to explain financial jargon which is not only thick, but changes over time. Thus, the wobbly British “discount houses” of 1866 are replaced by bubbly American “trusts” in 1907. Jumping forward, Mr Irwin sets […]

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Paul Krugman on ‘The Alchemists’

May 19, 2013 No Comments by Neil

In his review of The Alchemists, Mark Blyth’s Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea and David A. Stockman’s The Great Deformation in the New York Review of Books, Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist offers a long and rich essay of how the advanced world moved toward austerity in a time of economic […]

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Kirkus Reviews: ‘The Alchemists’ is an “indispensable resource”

May 19, 2013 No Comments by Neil

Kirkus Reviews takes on The Alchemists, noting “unexpected wit and an eye for drama” and calling it “the most complete and authoritative account to date of the response of the central bankers to the global financial crisis.” The review also concludes that “Enlightening chapters about the winding history of central banking and the People’s Bank of China […]

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The New York Times calls ‘The Alchemists’ “accessible, engrossing”

May 5, 2013 No Comments by Neil

Fred Andrews writing in The New York Times has some kind words to say about “The Alchemists.” Many revelations of “what really happened” behind the scenes in politics tend to rely on one or two good sources who blab. Not true of this one. Mr. Irwin seems to have talked with everyone, read the right […]

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Review Roundup: Here’s what the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, and more have to say about ‘The Alchemists’

April 29, 2013 No Comments by Neil

A slew of reviews have come out on The Alchemists in the last several days, and here are some highlights. Raymond Zhong at The Wall Street Journal calls the book a “detailed and fast-moving account of these perilous years” as he takes issue with what he sees as the book’s portrayal of the leading central bankers […]

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Ezra Klein explains why you should buy ‘The Alchemists’

April 28, 2013 No Comments by Neil

My Post colleague Ezra Klein has a post on why he thinks you ought to read ‘The Alchemists’. (And he’s telling the truth, incidentally, that I didn’t know he was writing it! And that I find it vaguely embarrassing!). In sum: This book adds a lot of reporting, a lot of travel, a lot of […]

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