这本书就像盖特纳本人一样（至少与我相处时）让人不设防，务实聪慧且待人非常谦逊。实际上，《压力测试》可能被称为《致命的弱点》（Feet of Clay）更合适。正如书名所讲, 即便是神也有致命的弱点。”你知道，他们一点都不完美。
盖特纳在担任4年财政部长前曾担任过5年的纽约联邦储备银行（New York Fed）行长。权力很大，对吧？ 但他依然记得那些2008年他努力避免金融灾难的那些不那么风光的时刻：
我们把他的说法与尼尔•埃尔文在他2013年出版的书《The Alchemists》中所描述的情形进行一下对比。当时在《华盛顿邮报》（Washington Post）、现在《纽约时报》（New York Times）任职的埃尔文写到，美联储（Fed）有意误导民众：
If you think that people in the upper echelons of finance and government are all-knowing and all-powerful, you ought to read Tim Geithner's new book, Stress Test. You'll see that he and the other high-level types he deal with are smart and hardworking, but are distinctly mortal. They do the best they can, but screw up plenty of times.
The book, like Geithner himself (at least in his dealings with me) is disarming, down to earth, witty, and self-effacing. In fact, Stress Test might more accurately be called Feet of Clay. As in, "Even the gods have feet of clay." You know, they aren't remotely perfect.
Geithner was head of the New York Fed for five years before spending four years as Treasury secretary. A lot of power, right? But he remembers some less-than-godlike moments as he tried to avert financial calamity in 2008:
I got a nasty case of poison ivy, so I worked for weeks with my legs slathered in Calamine lotion and wrapped in gauze. I once walked from my office to a conference room with a long train of Calamine-covered gauze trailing from my pant leg." Trailing gauze rather than glory, a hilarious image.
There are repeated descriptions of how Geithner angered and disappointed his wife, Carole, when he would come home late, be preoccupied with work, miss important family events, and repeatedly uproot the family to follow his ambitions. That's real-world stuff, not the fantasy world in which people like Geithner are generally portrayed as either gods (if we approve of what they're doing) or devils (if we don't).
I love the fact that the book's index has more entries for Carole Geithner (31) than for Ben Bernanke (29). To me, that's a sign that Geithner worries an awful lot about the right things: his wife and kids. (Okay, there are 37 entries for Larry Summers, formerly Geithner's boss and mentor, later his rival and competitor. But hey, no one's perfect.)
The most entries of all -- 42 -- are for "Lehman Brothers, collapse of." And rightly so. Because Lehman's bankruptcy, in September of 2008, set off a series of events that almost capsized the world financial system and required massive intervention by the world's government's and central banks.
Why was Lehman allowed to fail?
Here's Geithner's version:
We had been powerless, not fearless. We had tried but failed to prevent a catastrophic default. That's still poorly understood, in part because Hank [Paulson, then Secretary of the Treasury] and Ben [Bernanke], who had the thankless job of explaining our actions, decided not to admit defeat in public. They thought at the time that confessing we didn't have the firepower to save Lehman would intensify the panic, which may have been right.
Compare that with the account by Neil Irwin in his 2013 book, The Alchemists. Irwin, then at theWashington Post, currently at the New York Times, wrote that the Fed misled people intentionally: