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The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  5,346 Ratings  ·  557 Reviews
In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, in his fourteenth year as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan took part in a very quiet collective effort to ensure that America didn't experience an economic meltdown, taking the rest of the world with it. There was good reason to fear the worst: the stock market crash of October 1987, his first major cri ...more
Hardcover, 531 pages
Published September 17th 2007 by Penguin Press, The (first published 2007)
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Feb 09, 2009 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 30, 2007 todd rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 21, 2007 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 10, 2009 Don rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 05, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While Ive 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 Rands circle, and she was actually a humanizing influence on him! Maybe I shouldnt be surprised, but it isnt exactly what I expected from the worlds leading living authority on economic matters.

As for the second half of t
Mar 11, 2008 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: conservative economists, voodoo economics adherents
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Todd N
Oct 24, 2008 Todd N rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance
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
Steven Peterson
Oct 07, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 09, 2008 Ilya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2009 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 01, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Memphis Holland
Jan 13, 2008 Memphis Holland is currently reading it
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
Mar 21, 2010 Al rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Bader Alhashel
Jul 31, 2015 Bader Alhashel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an autobiography written by Greenspan after he left his post as Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. The book details from his early life and childhood to when he left the post. This is the first part of the book. The second part is Greenspan's thoughts on various economic issues and where he sees the major economies of the world headed. It was interesting to hear more about his days at the Fed than his thoughts on various economies. However, I would've wanted to hear more about t ...more
Mengran Xu
This book has been too big and too hard a piece for me to digest. I have never taken any courses on economics, let alone macroeconomics or finance. I know utterly nothing about equities, securities, derivatives, or hedge funds. I was more interested in Alan Greenspan’s life and American politics and diplomacy, assuming he must have close tires with all the passing presidents. To some extent, this book did not fail me completely—but it was incredibly dry to read. The size of this book was not an ...more
Feb 10, 2016 Sunil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book spans two phases- published right before the financial crisis of 2008 (he defends CDOs) and an epilogue written about a year after it broke out. A mark of intellectual honesty is how you respond to your own stands after they’ve been questioned. To his credit he continues a strong, logical defense of his positions on CDOs and speculators like hedge funds. In his view this all is a part of an ecosystem that has become so complex that it cannot be effectively regulated. These are in many ...more
Aug 30, 2008 Clackamas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2014 Steve Gathje rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 27, 2007 Stephen Cafaro rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Ondrej Kokes
tl;dr: If you like (monetary) policy, high-profile anecdotes and other people's interpretations of unresolved/controversial topics, read this book. It's a very enjoyable read on all these accounts.

It must be quite difficult to contain one's life, not just this long (Greenspan is 89 now), but this eventful. The book starts around the second World War, guides you through the aftermath, private life and private work, the resurrection of growth and the eventual lift off of Greenspan unmatchable poli
Aug 17, 2015 Abdulrahman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book, very interesting and gives insight into American and world politics and economics. The author was the head of the US federal bank for 18 years (the longest ever) and served as economic adviser for two presidents (Reagan and Nixon).
The book is very persuasive in marketing neoliberal economics and can explains how far right republicans and extreme capitalists think and view the economic problems that we face.
Before reading the book you should note that a couple of years after writing
Apr 13, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
I so agree with the review below, wasn't too keen on the autobiography of his for the first part, but I guess afterall it is HIS book, that he would think a good intro about his background, who he was, or what made who he is today is essential.

I find the parts about how he worked with different presidents, or how they worked, their attitudes towards him very interesting! few more insight of these presidents...

I do find he was very defensive. There was a reason for each interest rate movement for
Dec 18, 2007 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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'.
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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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“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.” 9 likes
“government regulation cannot substitute for individual integrity.” 2 likes
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