Alan Greenspan (Economist)
As chairman of the seven member board of governors of the Federal Reserve System, Alan Greenspan has held what has been called the second most important post in the United States government, after the presidency. The "Fed" as it's commonly known, is the controller of the nation's money supply, and is also responsible for harnessing economic growth while guarding against inflation. The only child of Herbert and Rose Greenspan, Alan was born on March 6, 1926 in New York City. His parents divorced when Alan was a young child, and he was raised by his mother in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. With a fondness and precocious gift for numbers, he was able to do large calculations in his head by the time he was five. He could also reproduce the batting averages at major league baseball players. Interestingly, he studied music at the Julliard School in New York, and then spent a year on the road with the Henry Jerome band. Like President Bill Clinton, also raised by a single mother, Greenspan showed great talent as a tenor saxophone and clarinet player.
In addition to his technical genius, he is said to have a dry wit, though he seldom makes public use of it. During his first year as Fed chairman, Greenspan learned that the world financial community hung on to every word he spoke, hoping to detect a possible monetary policy change, and thus took great care in making public pronouncements by "mumbling with great incoherence." He is noted for the phrase, "If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I have said" Married for one year in 1952, Greenspan has kept company with a number of high profile women including Barbara Walters, and NBC reporter, Andrea Mitchell. He was also a very dear friend of novelist Ayn Rand, who died in 1982.