The Age Of Turbulence: Adventures In A New World
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The Age Of Turbulence: Adventures In A New World

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  4,091 ratings  ·  511 reviews
The most remarkable thing that happened to the world economy after 9/11 was ...nothing. What would have once meant a crippling shock to the system was absorbed astonishingly quickly, partly due to the efforts of the then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan. The post 9/11 global economy is a new and turbulent system - vastly more flexible, resilient, open,...more
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Published April 10th 2008 (first published 2007)
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An absolute must read for anyone with an interest in finance. For a generation, Chairman Greenspan was the most powerful man in the world, controlling the economies of the world, though he tried his best to let them sort themselves out. This is a burden that clearly weighed on him, and he became adept and beating the politicians at their own game: speaking for hours without saying a thing.

In this book, you finally get inside his head, albeit through the lens of his hindsight (20/20 anyone?). Th...more
Blaise Pascal apologized to a correspondent for a long letter because he didn’t have time to make it short. Alan Greenspan may have been similarly constrained.

The Age of Turbulence consists of three main parts in its 505 pages. The first half is an autobiography where we learn of his New York roots, his love of music and the development of the economic analyst and political entrepreneur. Next are chapters reviewing the economic development of China, India, Russia and Latin America. The final cha...more
Mamdouh Abdullah
لم أهتم يوماً بقراءة كتاب يتحدث عن الشئون المالية أو حتى الاقتصادية. كنت أتابع النشرات الاقتصادية قبل سنوات وعلق بذاكرتي اسم رئيس البنك المركزي الأمريكي – الاحتياطي الفيدرالي – آلان غرينسبان. بكلمة بسيطة منه يستطيع أن يقلب الوضع المالي في أكبر الاقتصاديات العالمية, والتأثير على أسواق العملات وتغيير التنبؤات الاقتصادية.. ” إذا تكلم غرينسبان فإن العالم, كل العالم ينصت له”. هذه الجملة قالها الرئيس السابق بيل كلينتون, وأجدها أصدق تعبير عن هذا الرجل.

يقع الكتاب في 600 صفحة مقسمة في 25 فصل. سأقسم الكتا...more
Dec 21, 2007 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to understand their world more.
This book is interesting on many levels. First, for all his elusiveness while in office at the Fed (which he says was intentional and refers to as "fedspeak"), Greenspan writes clearly, directly, and entertainingly. There's a clear humanity to the writing - and the story - that came as quite a shock. Yes, Greenspan was a mathematics and economics geek from an early age. But he was also a professional musician when he was younger, and knowing things like that makes it a lot easier to follow him t...more
One can't help coming to this book with the starting premise that, smart of this man was, he got it wrong. Wrong about beating inflation, wrong about being too laissez faire on financial regulation, wrong about keeping rates and policy too loose for too long. Indeed one embarks on this book asking how Greenspan explains himself.

For all that though it's an educational read. The first half is more interesting, as Greenspan discusses his career history as a pioneering industrial economist, and then...more
While I´ve always respected Greenspan, I had no idea he was such a renaissance man. The first half of the book, his biography, is fascinating. His first career was as a jazz musician - a musician who did the other bandmembers taxes, because he enjoyed it! He became a part of Ayn Rand´s circle, and she was actually a humanizing influence on him! Maybe I shouldn´t be surprised, but it isn´t exactly what I expected from the world´s leading living authority on economic matters.

As for the second half...more
It took me an extraordinary amount of time to finish this book. When I first started, I dug in with excited vigor, eager to learn what drives our economy. I am a lover of the complex and global economics is about is complex as it gets. Mr. Greenspan begins the book detailing where he was during the events that transpired on September 11th, 2001. He describes how his flight from Zurich was re-routed back to Switzerland where he awaited news of his wife, news correspondent Andrea Mitchell who migh...more
Mar 11, 2008 Brian rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: conservative economists, voodoo economics adherents
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Todd Nemet
I read the hard cover book and then downloaded the "epilogue" on my Kindle.

I was going to read it over last Xmas break, but my wife grabbed it and started reading it before I could. This sat on my nightstand for almost a year when my curiosity about the recent financial problems made me pick it up.

The first half of the book is a straight forward memoir/autobiography and is easy reading. There are lots of interesting anecdotes (AG was in a big band! And he did his bandmates taxes!) and name dropp...more
Steven Peterson
This is a solid autobiography with some interesting twists. Thus far, many reviewers focus their attention on his assessment of presidents. While this is interesting, there is a lot more to this book than that. Indeed, a brief line on page 14 is a subtext throughout those portions of the book dealing with his public life (page 14): "If the story of the past quarter century has a one-line plot summary, it is the rediscovery of the power of market capitalism." He also notes, as another subtheme, t...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The hero of this book, somewhat surprisingly, is BILL CLINTON. I already thought he wasn't as bad as many said, and Alan and I agree. According to Greenspan, Clinton wasn't merely dragged along by the Congress into fiscal discipline, he acknowledged it was a good idea early on and stuck by it. Kudos to Clinton - and here's hoping the next President Clinton sees it the same way. The book is a fun read because Greenspan knew so many famous people and worked with so many Presidents; from his days a...more
I actually thought this book was quite good. Greenspan, according to popular perception, has been proved wrong by events of the past couple of years. I still don't feel that I understand this whole financial crisis (nor economics in general) well enough to have a strong opinion on that, but I did find much of Greenspan's logic to be compelling.

Most compelling was the foundation that he seemed to be working from, which is that there are basically standard economic principles (which seem to be mo...more
This book was great - he is such a brilliant man. However, I am not that brilliant, but I couldn't help hating the last 70 or so pages as he kept talking about the need for Americans to own their own homes.

I might be biased, since I have a decent income, have for years, and am still renting. I think it's a lot of responsiblity to own a house and that it's a long term investment as well as a commitment to be in one place for several years.

Obviously, as we've found out over the last couple of yea...more
Memphis Holland
Jan 13, 2008 Memphis Holland is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Three quarters through, Greenspan began as any good professor, explaining economics to laypeople. This book was understandable and gave a good historic perspective of how the US and the World have arrived at this point on the economic spectrum. Not loving his laissez-faire theories, he makes a valid case with empirical evident for such practices. I'm a bit more knowledgeable about how his keeping rates low helped give us a budget surplus and I'm less convinced that those artifically low rates sp...more
The good things about this book are that Greenspan is a free marketeer, and he has an immense store of economic knowledge to draw on. The bad things are that the book is too long, and tries to cover too much (maybe he was being paid by the page). One thing I hadn't known was that Greenspan was a disciple (and friend) of Ayn Rand (who knew?). It's not surprising that he provides no advice to investors; just hopes that we don't spend ourselves into oblivion. One surprise, given his political lean...more
Aug 14, 2008 Doreen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in recent history; economics students
Good grief, this book took me forever to finish. The first two thirds flew by in an entertaining account of his life and times growing up, meeting celebrities and eventually serving under presidents and being famously scrutinized for his influence on the American, and thus world, economy. The last third, though, was a hard slog for me. I'm sure it presented very interesting ideas on America's future prosperity, but it was all very dry and theoretical, and reminded me of why post-graduate studies...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
May 05, 2008 Meg - A Bookish Affair rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone that has an interest in current events or economics
I really liked this book. I respect Alan Greenspan a lot and think he's amazing.

He divided this book up very nicely. The first part of the book covers his entire personal and professional history.

The next part of the book covers different geographical sections. As a former student of Latin American studies (was my minor in college), I was really interested to read the section about LA and how much trouble they have had going to a free market system.

The next part was about different economic i...more
Ice Bear
After reading this it is no wonder we got into such a mess.
If success in life is about luck, disposition and discipline, how come so many people forget about the first element.
I recognise the capacity of intellect and being in a social circle of similar people of influence can have it's benefits, and that hindsight makes all things easier to explain.
But greed & inequality do not seem to change over history, and mother nature is a dynamic system of which we still know very little.
Surprisingly interesting read by a guy who made it a point to communicate on the edge of coherence for most of the last 30 years. I was shocked to learn how pro-free markets Greenspan is, and liked him a lot more after reading his book.

4 stars because, like most economists, he sounds like he's the only one that understands all the facets of any given problem, but he clearly did not forsee the financial blowup of 2008. Too bad his publisher pushed to get him to print last year, if he would have...more
Aug 30, 2008 Clackamas rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Clackamas by: Amanda
This book actually made me want to meet the man. I thought that anyone who would pick a career like his had to have the personality of a water cracker, but he seems to have a sense of humor. Yes, he does name drop a lot, but who cares?

I think my favorite thing about this book is that he had to have written the stuff about what's wrong with our political system and his forcasts for our country and the world before he retired... he makes some pretty ballsy statements.
Steve Gathje
Absolutely required reading for anyone wishing to understand economics as well as issues like income inequality, education, international trade, and so on. The first half of the book is more personal and you get some very interesting glimpses of some of the major political figures of the past 40 years (he disliked Nixon but respected his intelligence, he has glowing things to say about Ford, Carter comes off has a misguided fool who was in way over his head, Reagan was fantastic at finding commo...more
Stephen Cafaro
Greenspan writes like he talks. The content is largely concerned with his logic and defense of his economic decisions during his reign at the FED. If it were up to him, we would have another 18 years of similar decisions. In his words, he is right and time may or may not justify his FED policies!! In a nutshell, he presents piles of ambiguity and loads of innuendo inserted among his nebulous terminolgy. He is a true master of economic and financial spin!
A great overview of US and global economics. The first part of the book is an explanation of past events and their economic impact. The second half of the book explains the good and bad aspects of global capitalism vs. socialism and the notion of 'creative destruction'.
Interesting at first, because the book takes you in the world of one of the most influential people of late.
Disappointing at the end. I have the feeling he doesn't tell all he should have. He sure ain't telling how todays financial troubles started out.
Abdulaziz Alseja
A lot of data. Greenspan trying to shift the blame of his 25 years as Fed chairman on to things "out of his control". Redundant, You really have to get into the mood for this one and again some.
Would have given a higher rating if Alan Greenspan was more forthcoming in at least appreciating the possibility of the FED's lowering of rates, during his time as Chairman, could have led to corresponding US stagflation - that he remained on his high horse, consistently producing and presenting the narrative that the masses are uneducated and lack quality education, among other reasons is his failure.

Every page I turned (heck, I could have made more of in-flight entertainment now that I think...more
Justin Tapp
Audio. This massive tome is actually two books in one. The first is his autobiography, a great look at his career and his views of several White Houses. I found most interesting how his own thoughts contradicted Bob Woodward's late 90's account, Maestro, which I read in college. I remember Woodward writing that Greenspan was complimentary of George H.W. Bush's knowledge of economics via his Yale degree. Greenspan isn't very complimentary of Bush '41 in his own memoir, and calls Nixon and Clinton...more
Lorri Coburn
Alan Greenspan details, but in way too much detail, the changes in our economic system from the 60's to 2006. It would be interesting to see what he has to say about the current economic crisis. I've been listening to this on audio, and have found my mind wandering, yet it is also interesting to get a historical perspective of the various presidential economic policies, the exponential rise of the stock market, the bailout of the savings and loans, etc. I have gained a greater appreciation for t...more
An educational yet entertaining memoir by the second longest serving Chairman of the US Federal Reserve. Overall, an interesting recap on economic models/theories: variants of capitalism, monetary vs fiscal policy from a global perspective, presented in story-telling format [compare with Bob Woodward's memoirs entitled 'Maestro'].

Greenspan's credentials are undoubtedly impressive. With a career spanning over 60 years, beginning well before his immersion into government service under the Nixon a...more
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Alan Greenspan is an American economist and from 1987 to 2006 chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve of the United States. He currently works as a private advisor, making speeches and providing consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC.

First appointed Fed chairman by President Ronald Reagan in August 1987, he was reappointed at successive four-year inter...more
More about Alan Greenspan...
The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting New Challenges for Monetary Policy Achieving Price Stability: A Symposium Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Changing Capital Markets: Implications for Monetary Policy: A Symposium Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City : Jackson Hole, Wyoming August ... Reserve Bank of Kansas City Symposium) A Special Collection: Twenty-Five Years of Art at the Federal Reserve Board

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“There are errors in this book. I do not know where they are. If I did they wouldn't be there. But with close to two hundred thousand words my probabilistic mind tells me some are wrong.” 6 likes
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