John Allison doesn't know how to stop.
He retired as chairman and chief executive of BB&T (BBT) more than three years ago, but he keeps building his resume. In September he plans to release his first book, which will chronicle his views of the causes of the financial crisis, the misperceptions about them and the pitfalls of overly strict regulation.
The 320-page book, "The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure," will also provide the veteran banker's views on how the nation can dig itself out of its persistent economic malaise.
"Hopefully, I have eliminated some of the confusion [about the crisis]," Allison says. "I also hope to impact the debate during the presidential election. Everything we've done since the crisis has hurt us in the long term. … I'm not interested in politics but I am interested in the policies."
Amazon.com is already preselling the book, which is being published by McGraw-Hill, and Allison says early sales "have been brisk." He has a second book in the works about leadership.
Allison, an ardent supporter of individual rights and free markets, is also set to take the helm of the Cato Institute, a major Libertarian think tank. His appointment is part of a deal to resolve a longstanding dispute among the group's founders. Allison, who will start his new job in September, envisions staying at Cato for "a couple" of years.
"I wasn't looking for this job," says Allison, who will live in North Carolina but commute regularly to Washington. "I have failed miserably" at retirement, he adds. "I planned to stay busy, but not this busy."
Allison will relinquish his professorial post at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business to make time for his Cato responsibilities, though he hopes to remain on the board of visitors. He also serves on similar boards at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"I love the bank and the people [at BB&T], but I was CEO a long time," Allison says. "I am also really enjoying my new career. I didn't expect it to be this demanding. I have a passion for defending individual rights. I can do that more now. I am liberated now."