Hank Paulson has a book deal. And if there is demand in the marketplace for yet another score-settling insider account by a flawed but well-meaning Bush appointee, we guess it is Hank. Since the centimillionaire is generously refusing an advance and donating the proceeds to a hotline that helps homeowners prevent foreclosure — an endeavor he did not have much time for as Treasury Secretary — we’ll put a copy on hold. But a Hank Paulson book is veritably guaranteed to disappoint, right? Or should we hedge that statement?
After all, Paulson is a competitive guy, and the “Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Tell-All” genre has formidable competition in The Price Of Loyalty, Ron Suskind’s account of Paul O’Neill’s tenure in that post — plus Paulson has the advantages of having presided over the spectacular financial crisis that begat the current depression and Goldman Sachs. Paulson doesn’t seem to have pent-up literary ambitions — instituting the short selling ban was his equivalent to “burning books,” he told the Post — but he will undoubtedly submit himself to the editorial judgments of his daughter, a journalist who writes about public education. And in interviews, as his willingness to admit to burning books suggests, Paulson has seemed less of an ideologue than an ambitious business man who had never given ideology much thought — so we won’t be getting Ten Minutes From Normal here. (Although it would be awesome if he ripped off that title.)
On the other hand…This is Hank Paulson we are talking about. (Also, our sources in publishing tell us Paulson’s editor at Grand Central Publishing, Rick Wolff, is generally a straitlaced, “safe” type, which is to say, unfortunately not the type to push Hank to structure the book entirely as a series of BlackBerry exchanges with John Paulson or draw parallels between his wrongheaded embrace of deregulation and his Christian Scientist beliefs or anything “edgy” like that.)