Manolis Drettakis was born in Heraklion, Crete in 1934. He studied at the School of Economics and Business Sciences (ASOEE) (1953-1957) and at the London School of Economics (1963-1970), where he also prepared his doctoral thesis. Throughout his studies he worked in Banks in Greece (1954-1961) and in England (1961-1964) as well as in the Greek Service of the BBC (1964-1970). He was elected and taught as Lecturer in Econometrics at the University of Leeds in England (1970-1974), and as Professor of Econometrics at the Athens School of Economics and Commercial Sciences (1974-1984).
From 1977 to 1990, he was elected Member of Parliament in six consecutive elections, either as a PASOK candidate or as an independent candidate, cooperating with the Left. He was Minister of Finance of the country during the two years 1981-1982 and 5th Vice-President of the Parliament for the 7th Period (1990-1993).
Since 1993, when he retired from active political activity, he has been exclusively engaged in article writing and book writing.