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The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  6,396 ratings  ·  592 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
Hardcover, 575 pages
Published September 17th 2007 by Penguin
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  6,396 ratings  ·  592 reviews

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Oct 22, 2007 rated it did not like it
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. T
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 economi
Oct 01, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 seco
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a go-to resource for anyone with an interest in the economy, global studies and international and transdisciplinary perspectives in finance. What we have got is an extensively researched and profound discussion of key aspects of macroeconomics by Alan Greenspan, who is surprisingly easy to read, in spite of some of the dry technical aspects.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, the Author looks at his own life and biography. We find out he was a musician from a lar
Nov 22, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: conservative economists, voodoo economics adherents
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen Cafaro
Dec 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
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!
Dec 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: economy, non-fiction
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.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Todd N
Jan 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 bandmate
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Ice Bear
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Abdulaziz Alseja
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio book read by the amazingly talented Robertson Dean. Fascinating, enlighteninng and satisfying biography by someone I had always wondered about. From his early education and influences to his understanding of the global economy, this is so much more than the memoirs of an economist, it is a behind the scenes look at history. I get a lot of books free from the library but I bought this audio book to listen to several times, it's that good.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Picked this up for $1 at the library book sale and read it on vacation because the cover screamed "beach read." But it was good. I liked his writing style. A little mathy (my word) and facty (also my word) but entertaining. He has been a part of so much of the last 70 years of this country's history so he's fascinating. Because it came out in 2007, I admit that I skimmed the second half where he talked about his predictions for the future.
Ronald Aylward
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Time to pay off our debt.
Steven Peterson
Oct 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mengran Xu
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Ondrej Kokes
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 unma
Jun 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Scott
The Age of Turbulence is half biography of Alan Greenspan, and half economic musings about the future. Greenspan is most well known as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board during the immensely prosperous years of 1987-2006. To most Americans Greenspan has always seemed to be a powerful and mysterious figure - a financial shaman or wizard, who emerged from the shadows periodically to make inexplicable pronouncements on the economy. Although few of us understood what he did, we knew he did it ...more
May 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
The problem with India's economy is that the government gives out agricultural subsidies that artificially control prices and stifle competition? With nary a word to say about agricultural subsidies in America? REALLY?

Even so, I admire Greenspan in general for sticking to his ideological guns. He's a true Rand devotee, and he follows those conclusions even when it doesn't fall along party lines.

Part of the Ayn Rand doctrine is that cultural values that don't involve making money
Oct 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics-history
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
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 c
Memphis Holland
Jan 13, 2008 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
Mitchell Rubiano
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I skipped a little through his account of the Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies; however, I did read chapters 1 through 11, and I must say Alan Greenspan's book "The Age of Turbulence" is an amazing read!

I highly recommend this book for those who want to gain a basic understanding of US economic history with regards to the Presidencies from Nixon to George W. Bush because the first half of the book, chapters 1 through 11, are accounts of Greenspan's memoir.

What's un
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
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
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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 fou
“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.” 17 likes
“government regulation cannot substitute for individual integrity.” 7 likes
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