The Making of Timothy Geithner

More

Also see:
Inside Man by Joshua Green
The Atlantic , April 2010

If Geithner were a character in a British period novel, he'd be the diligent son of the head servant, someone whose outstanding qualities are noted by the master and who, when the time comes, is unexpectedly rewarded with passage to university and the world beyond. He makes a deep impression. Almost anyone who has spent time with him can describe his effect on people. A senior Treasury official in the George H. W. Bush administration recounted for me, in vivid detail, 20 years after the fact, a single briefing that Geithner, then still in his 20s, had given him on Japan: "Within the building, Tim was already thought to be a superstar. And in my experience, he was brilliant. Incredibly well prepared, thoughtful. He still talked too fast, even then. But he was so on top of stuff, so impressive professionally, that there was a 'wow' factor in dealing with him. You'd hear how good he was, and then you'd deal with him, and then you'd think, 'Oh my God, the guy really is just better.'" Geithner's career follows a pattern of his being not necessarily the first, or the most obvious, choice for some important job, getting it anyway, and performing so well that he quickly advances, acquiring a patron in the process. He is the quintessential promising young man. And he has many powerful patrons.
Jump to comments

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is The Atlantic's digital features editor. More

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, an Atlantic senior editor, began her association with the magazine in 2002, shortly after graduating from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She joined the staff full time in January 2006. Before coming to The Atlantic, Jennie was senior editor at Moment, a national magazine founded by Elie Wiesel.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In