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The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting

3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  248 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Like all of us, though few so visibly, Alan Greenspan was forced by the financial crisis of 2008 to question some fundamental assumptions about risk management and economic forecasting. No one with any meaningful role in economic decision making in the world saw beforehand the storm for what it was. How had our models so utterly failed us?To answer this question, Alan Gree ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Penguin Press
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Mohamed Diab Embbya
Greenspan is a master number cruncher and his commentary on China's post-crisis investment-spending fuelled growth is a prime example of his skill.

However, I take stock with his argument that economies benefit from lower taxes on high-income earners. Greenspan argues that because of their low spending as a percentage of income, their savings are large enough to increase their risk appetite and induce them to finance high risk ventures such as backing startups and disruptive technologies, which a
Aaron Schlafly
Dec 17, 2013 Aaron Schlafly rated it did not like it
First, let me say that I greatly enjoyed "The Age of Turbulence." It was better than I had expected, mixing Alan Greenspan's personal story with an interesting finance story. I gave it five stars, and consider it one of the best books I have read in the genre.

Second, let me say that I am an actuary who is keen on books about finance, economics, etc., so I have a high tolerance for dry or technical books. I like regression analysis.

However, I found this book very tough going. The topics seemed to
Uwe Hook
Jan 10, 2014 Uwe Hook rated it it was ok
Unless you are a macroeconomist or monetary policymaker, save your money. Classic example of a very smart man with little common sense for how to communicate. Poor logical flow; poor metaphors (the title is never clearly explained; couldn't he find a better description than "animal spirits"?); stories inserted that had no relation to the point of the chapter; etc. I majored in economics and spent 30 years in the business world at senior levels, yet many sentences were literally unintelligible. W ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Marc rated it it was ok
Greenspan is a lazy thinker and a poor writer. This book is full of excuses about why he (and the financial analysts community at large) missed the crash. He takes no responsibility for his actions as one of the most powerful actors in the world in finance. History won't judge him well.
Nancy Mills
Nov 07, 2014 Nancy Mills rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this one as much as The Age of Turbulence. While the subject matter is heavy, I find Greenspan's style pleasant and entertaining. This book is just packed with good stuff, and not a lot of filler fluff. I learned so much. All of our elected officials should be required to read this book, as it demonstrates clearly the long term effects of our economic and social policies. Of course we all know politicians are more interested in promoting policies that will make them popular in the shor ...more
Dec 17, 2013 Tyler rated it did not like it
In his first book, Alan Greenspan amazed as the suddenly personable and accessible narrator of our nation's economic history and outlook. But reading The Age of Turbulence will not prepare you for this book. It's tedious and inaccessible, and it's never quite clear what the topic is. I still have immense respect for the man, but I felt lost or in plain disagreement through much of this one.
Susana Ordaz
Mar 14, 2017 Susana Ordaz rated it really liked it
Lo que ofrece este libro es el conocimiento, basado en apreciar al mundo de diferente perspectiva que el resto del mundo dentro de un segmento con enfoque económico. Greenspan es conducido menos por la teoría, más por datos y experiencia práctica, por lo que en este libro presenta una visión amplia de la crisis financiera, la recesión y la poca recuperación de los últimos años.
A lo largo del libro, Greenspan hace referencia a la política monetaria, fiscal, financiera, productividad, desigualdad
Sean Mckeown
Sep 18, 2015 Sean Mckeown rated it it was ok
The Map and the Territory can be boiled down to one essential question: is Alan Greenspan "Bayesian," and if so, how does the new data of the 2008 crisis affect his prior assumptions? As an Objectivist, I share much of the same framework and agree with a good portion of the information presented within the text - but unlike Greenspan, I have learned much from the 2008 collapse that shows the shape of his missing piece to be simple: human fraud enabled by the deregulatory framework that has bloss ...more
May 10, 2014 Bill rated it it was ok
WHEW! This was a challenging and arduous read reminiscent of a college text book. Mr. Greenspan did a wonderfully thorough job of making simple concepts extremely complex. But then again, Mr. Greenspan is considered by many to be the father of Fedspeak, “intentionally wordy, vague and ambiguous statements used to prevent financial markets from overreacting to the Federal Reserve chairman's remarks.”

Despite spending the vast majority of my working life in the business world involved in company op
Jun 24, 2016 Christopher rated it liked it
I was interested in the book based on Greenspan's interview with John Stewart of the daily show. In it, Greenspan admitted he was wrong about certain things in the economy, specifically, the neoclassical assumption that all market players behave rationally, or more accurately that the irrationalities are random and "cancel each other out." In the book, he acknowledges animal spirits, but does little do address it. He critiques the Dodd-Frank bill as most likely to create further distortions than ...more
Jim Gallen
Aug 27, 2016 Jim Gallen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to listen to an audio copy of “The Map And The Territory”, Alan Greenspan’s assessment of the impact of human nature on risk and forecasting for a break from my usual biography and history. It is an in depth exploration of the 2008 and subsequent financial problems and why the economic models failed to predict developments.

In this work Greenspan challenges the traditional model of the rational man who calculates his economic interests and acts accordingly. He posits a new model in whic
Andrew Davis
Dec 25, 2013 Andrew Davis rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics
According to Greenspan we live in an age of entitlement. He asks: What type of society do we wish to live in? One in which self-reliance is the ethos, where government has little role aside from setting the legal conditions for political freedom? Or, a society and government whose primary function is to “entitle” citizens with all forms of income transfers crafted to elevate the least privileged to equality of opportunity? In short, do we wish a society of dependence on government or society bas ...more
Jim Angstadt
Mar 03, 2014 Jim Angstadt rated it it was ok
This is a wide ranging book, filled with anecdotes, memoirs, and insights from psychology, finance, statistics, and more. Unfortunately, those disciplines do not converge, within this book, in anything but a superficial way. Perhaps this is Mr. Greenspan's attempt to open up the study of fiscal and monetary policy to other pertinent bodies of knowledge.

As Mr. Greenspan looks back at factors with lead to the Great Recession, he identifies:
- Animal spirits. The psychological aspects of money.
- Liq
Dec 17, 2015 Nick rated it liked it
A dry book, and making few concessions to those with limited technical knowledge, this is not one to bring Greenspan's insights to the masses, but for those who are really interested and prepared to persevere it is a very clear and powerful statement of how he believes the US and global economies have got into the mess they are in now. It is particularly strong on the various causes of the financial crisis (some are political rather than financial) and why businesses that are 'too big to fail' d ...more
Max Lybbert
Mar 10, 2015 Max Lybbert rated it really liked it
I think it's useful to learn how others view the world. I have also wanted to learn economics, and I expected this book to provide a few lessons. It does. Most importantly, to me, Greenspan publicly acknowledged that the financial crisis that began in 2007 caused him to reconsider his economic beliefs, and I wanted to know what conclusions he'd drawn.

The book begins with what appears to be a detailed defense for the Federal Reserve's actions before the beginning of the financial crisis. I found
Void lon iXaarii
Jan 17, 2017 Void lon iXaarii rated it really liked it
What I expected from the book was an old man's half apologetic half nostalgic view of the past, what I encountered instead was a keen cutting mind's inquisitive attempts at analyzing complex behaviors of crowds, paying tribute to old theories and trying new ones against new data... it was all just surprisingly interesting, and intellectually stimulating. Regardless of my personal questioning opinion of the man's action's when he wielded the greatest power of them all (the one ring to rule them a ...more
Lowell Nelson
May 04, 2014 Lowell Nelson rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I didn't really finish this, I just started skimming at the end. Greenspan obviously a smart man and there is a smattering of interesting sections in this book, but you have to wade through a disorganized, run-on text to find the good stuff. It's sort of like "conversations over a beer with Alan Greenspan" where he pontificates on various issues, past and future, but doesn't really come to any conclusions. In some cases his expertise is questionable, like in discussions about innovation and nati ...more
Chris Elkjar
Feb 18, 2014 Chris Elkjar rated it really liked it
This is a pretty interesting book by a very interesting man. The idea of such a free-market individualist capitalist ending up being such a powerful figure in central banking history is a very odd combination. In this book Greenspan attempts to explain the 2008 crisis using forecasting and statistical analysis, two things that obviously did not work to predict the crisis.

He makes a lot of very big admissions of guilt, or at least oversights. Overall he sticks to his guns that forecasting can hav
Feb 08, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
A bit scattershot. I expected this to be primarily about forecasting, as implied by the cover and inside flap, but probably about half the text was given over to economic history and Greenspan's oversimplified anti-entitlements policy position. Some of the history was quite interesting, but the discussion of government spending on social benefits was hardly evenhanded and thus not particularly informative. Fairly easy to read overall though, and did contain some interesting insights into financi ...more
Anthony Hughes
Oct 28, 2013 Anthony Hughes rated it liked it
my three stars might be a bit generous because I respect the guy - I just don't think this breaks any new ground or has a lot of answers and all the charts will drive u crazy - I really think economics is much less complicated than it sounds - the book is all over the place contradictory in parts (welcome to economics) and not that well structured - regardless of whether u agree with him or not u cant help but think he is past it too academic and not really in the loop - u still cant beat the bi ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Summer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
I like economics, and I like books by practitioners, and I was SORELY disappointed by this book. The book is so disorganized, not edited at all (Exhibit 7.3 appears in Chapter 2), and I kept on getting mad at individual headings and sentences that seemed out-of-place or unsupported. I bet Alan Greenspan just typed this out in one go and knew it would sell, but also knew that his legacy wouldn't be judged on the basis of this book. He may be right, but reading this book made me think less of him. ...more
Effendy Yahaya
its hardcover book, so does the content and i have to read the age of turbulence. i do feel discontent throughout reading. the few chapter that deep and requires more expanse detail of reading. i love the correlation of saving, interest rates, budget, and investment that would for economist to forecast the contribution to GDP that should equals between deficits and surplus for a country and correlates economica and financial market segment in near future.
Melvyn Tie
Oct 15, 2015 Melvyn Tie rated it really liked it
OK, first let me make a confession, I didn't know anything about USA economics, the explanations behind 2008 economics crisis and USA economics phenomenon.
Thanks Mr.Greenspan for giving me such a chance to understand the topics above.
I have nothing to say about this book but only enormously recommendation to those who would like to study the topics above.
Trust me, read through the book and you will find my words not wrong.
Fred Kohn
Mar 18, 2014 Fred Kohn rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
I was quite surprised at the low ratings on Goodreads- especially by those that claimed knowledge of economics. This isn't so much a book of answers as a book of questions. I guess I can understand the common complaint that the book seemed scattered and unfocused. I felt that few points were fleshed out in great detail. But if they had, this book would have run into well over a thousand pages, if not several volumes!
Oct 02, 2013 Andrew marked it as abandoned
Why I Abandoned this Book - in one sentence: Because I haven't worked in risk analysis for thirty years, though it looked interesting.

I probably would have given it: 3 stars

Follow me on Twitter: @Dr_A_Taubman
John Alan Rash
Difficult Read but Informative

I liked the content and views of Alan Greenspan but he uses very advanced vocabulary and the content is on the analytical side which is hard to grasp in book form sometimes.
William Vourlas
Greenspan was quite comprehensive in his treatment of events, trends, and economic forecasts. A solid presentation, but I would have liked him to dig deeper into profiteering and how to thwart unfair competitive advantage, as well as outright committers of economic fraud.
Dec 19, 2013 BCoats(gov) rated it really liked it
I thought it was interesting that Greenspan so openly stated that the forecasting done before 2008 was faulty. It appears that he is thoughtful enough to be a seeker of solutions, which whether people agree with him or not, is a good thing we all should be willing to bend for.
Oct 20, 2013 Marc rated it it was ok
a few interesting ideas, but dull over all and repetitive. still like him and most of his ideas, but not sure of the purpose of this book.
Nov 04, 2016 Christina rated it it was ok
This was not exactly my cup of tea. The set up is nice but it really bored me too much.
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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 about Alan Greenspan...

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