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

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  24 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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Aaron Schlafly
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
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
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
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
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.
Jim Angstadt
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
Max Lybbert
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
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
Chris Elkjar
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
Andrew Davis
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
Lowell Nelson
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
Fred Kohn
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!
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.
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
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.
Cameron Dansie
I thought this was going to be a very dry read, but it turned out to have some great economic insight and gave me a better feel of what really happened in 2008's financial meltdown.
Great book, though Greenspan cannot avoid his obvious conservative bias. Still a must read to understand what a mess he helped to create.
Anthony Hughes
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
Jul 30, 2014 Readerbug marked it as to-read
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 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
Brian Katz
Very interesting, good perspective on post recession (after 2008) and why the economy is still struggling (because of Obama policies), some parts were way too complex though. Good read.
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.
Steve Schlutow
This is more of a reference book. It had a lot of important facts, but very boring--go figure..
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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
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