Jacob Weisberg isn’t a big fan of Ron Suskind’s new book, nor, for that matter, of Ron Suskind. I’ve also been reading ‘The Confidence Men,’ and like Weisberg, I’m not impressed, but for a very different reason. Let’s call it, as Suskind does, the Larry Summers problem.
“It all boils down to the classic Larry Summers problem,” writes Suskind at one point. “He can frame arguments with such force and conviction that people think he knows more than he does. Instead of looking at a record pockmarked with bad decisions, people see his extemporaneous brilliance and let themselves be dazzled. Summers’s long career has come to look, more and more, like one long demonstration of the difference between wisdom and smarts.”