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The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World [Paperback]

Alan Greenspan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 9 2008

The Age Of Turbulence is Alan Greenspan’s incomparable reckoning with the contemporary financial world, channeled through his own experiences working in the command room of the global economy longer and with greater effect than any other single living figure. Following the arc of his remarkable life’s journey through his more than eighteen-year tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board to the present, in the second half of The Age of Turbulence Dr. Greenspan embarks on a magnificent tour d’horizon of the global economy. The distillation of a life’s worth of wisdom and insight into an elegant expression of a coherent worldview, The Age of Turbulence will stand as Alan Greenspan’s personal and intellectual legacy.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Greenspan offers a revealing yet monotonous look at the inner workings of the Federal Reserve and his career. Beginning with his childhood in Manhattan, where he learned percentages by memorizing Yankee batting statistics, Greenspan relates his tremendous passion for economics and politics that propelled him to become chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve for nearly 20 years. While various tales about his often-troubled relationships with former presidents and their administrations will appeal to history buffs, the material is presented in a manner that makes the narration long-winded and dreary. As a biographical work, narrator Dean has little room for lyrical improvisation, and his solitary voice drones. An endless spew of facts and figures takes away from the more interesting aspects of the book, such as Greenspan's criticisms of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. While his pitch and clarity is perfect, Dean's voice becomes nagging and repetitive. It's disappointing that the author-read introduction included in the abridged audio version is not used here to provide a brief change in tone. The uninspired text and dialogue makes listening a tedious exercise by the halfway point. Simultaneous release with the Penguin Press hardcover.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


?The most unexpectedly charming Washington insider memoir since Katharine Graham's a decade ago.? ?Michael Kinsley, "The New York Times Book Review" ? Entertaining and insightful . . . [Greenspan] is an oracle smart enough to know what he doesn?t know. . . . Such humility, coming from someone as powerful as Alan Greenspan, is disarmingly refreshing, as is this interesting and edifying book.? ?"The Boston Globe" ? [Readers] will find that Greenspan's well-informed musings offer much more food for thought than the usual Washington memoir.? ?"BusinessWeek" ? With his book, [Greenspan] finally lets us know what he's thinking. . . . surprisingly frank . . . downright entertaining.? ?David Leonhardt, "The New York Times" ? First rate . . . ["The Age of Turbulence"] is intelligent in a way that few popular books on economics manage or even try to be . . . An enjoyable read.? ?"The Economist" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, I was flying back to Washington on Swissair Flight 128, returning home from a routine international bankers' meeting in Switzerland. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and timely book! Nov. 18 2007
Greenspan calls 'The Age of Turbulence' a 'psychoanalysis of himself.' It begins (first half) with his early life, describing the events that provided his learning experiences (including his desire to become a baseball player, then a jazz musician), and then goes to his life of implementing those lessons. Undoubtedly the most interesting material included Greenspan's evaluations of the Presidents he had worked with. His observations were not the platitudes one might have expected. 'Nixon was very smart, paranoid,' and was an equal-opportunity disparager of all ethnic groups. Ford was the most normal, and sometimes looked past politics to focus on the ethics of an issue. Reagan's ability to spout seemingless endless one-liners and stories was an 'odd form of intelligence,' according to Greenspan.

Greenspan felt his relationship with Bush I was a disaster, with the President eventually blaming Greenspan for his losing the election to Clinton. Clinton, however, was most like a soul-mate to Greenspan - very intelligent, and one constantly working to soak up knowledge and understanding. Greenspan also labeled Clinton's '93 economic plan that focused on reducing the deficit as an 'act of political courage.' Finally, Greenspan's assessment of Bush II was that he was incurious about the effects of his own economic policy, and that Greenspan's biggest frustration with Bush II was his failure to veto any spending bills. Greenspan was told that Bush thought he could better control Speaker Hastert and Whip Delay by signing the spending bills they, however, were never reticent to spend more money to help assure more Republican congressmen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bank on Greenspan for a good read Jan. 8 2008
Before reading it, I didn't much like the looks of this book. First of all, it is 531 pages huge. Second, it is written by a banker. Even worse, it really truly is about banking. High level bank governance over the world's largest economy, mind you, but banking nonetheless.

In spite of these undeniable negatives, I cracked it open and I was thankful I did. It undeniably merits the buzz it has generated.

Alan Greenspan is the former Chairman of the United States'Federal Reserve Board; the independent body that governs the money supply of the United States and indirectly the value of the American dollar, the world's reserve currency. He held that crucial position from 1987, when he was appointed by President Reagan, until last year, when he retired. In that position, he oversaw the American financial system as it completed one of the longest and most successful economic expansions in recent memory.

So successful was his service as Chairman and so significant was his gravitas, that there grew an entire mini-industry of Greenspan-watching. This was carried to the extreme where CNBC regularly broadcast live feed of Greenspan and his briefcase as he arrived at meetings of the Federal Reserve Board. The premise was that a full briefcase meant a rate hike. Greenspan responds in this book that it usually meant he packed his lunch.

It is difficult for those of us who have come of age in our era of balanced budgets and low interest rates to understand that the current situation is the exception, not the rule. Much of the financial history of the 20th Century is the story of how central bankers and governments struggled with inflation and deficits since abandoning the gold standard in the 1930s. For Greenspan, however, this struggle was the story of his career.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasure to read.... Jan. 20 2014
Pleasure to read, although at times quite dense, so to be savoured in small doses. Not a page turner for the beach. At times, funny, at other times serious, but always entertaining. This part biography and part economic discourse takes us from the Nixon years to recent times. Very interesting for those of us who lived, worked and invested during these years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life, Love, Biography, History, Economics Jan. 20 2008
By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER
"The Age of Turbulence" is part biography and part economic treatise. In the first part, Greenspan tells the saga of his youth, education and gradual professional development. The narrative of his relationships with Ayn Rand, Arthur Burns and others introduces the reader to the concept of how a familiarity with innovative thinkers can direct a life and career. As a business major in college, I find the story of the life work of an economist to be fascinating. A reader with less interest in business may find it to be boring. Greenspan then progresses into the memoirs of his service on the Council of Economic Advisors and as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. As an amateur historian, I became engrossed in his memories of service with presidents from Nixon to George W. Bush. His intimate analysis of them, including his characterization of Nixon and Clinton as the smartest with whom he worked, is instructive. His narratives on recent history from an economic viewpoint present the issues with which we have lived in a unique perspective. His discrete stories about his relationships with his mother and wife, Andrea Mitchell, keep the work grounded in real life.

The latter parts of the book consist of Greenspan's views on the economic conditions and prospects in nations and regions of the world followed by his analyses of anticipated opportunities and challenges expected to confront the U.S. economy in the foreseeable future.

This book is well written. The biographical portions will be fascinating to anyone with an interest in recent national and economic history. This section may justify the purchase in itself. Elements of the later sections dealing with economics will require a greater than common understanding of economic theory and methods to keep the eyes from glazing over. Even if you do not finish the book, the early portions will make the effort worthwhile.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Greenspan the intellectual
Greenspan's story is far more interesting than ever I thought it would be. In a word: FASCINATING.

An extremely well written book, by an extremely intelligent... Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2011 by Steve Pozgaj
4.0 out of 5 stars Half biography, half policy recommendation, all Greenspan
A must-read for anyone who followed the markets under the Greenspan Fed.

Although he isn't very tough on himself, and never mentions "Greenspeak" (instead referring to... Read more
Published on April 10 2010 by Trevor G. Stack
5.0 out of 5 stars Chalk full of interesting revelations.
Although there seems to be much controversy aimed at Mr. Greenspan, due to the current state of the US financial crisis, I found this book quite fascinating. Read more
Published on March 10 2009 by James DiCenzo
4.0 out of 5 stars A Broad View on the Economy
When I started listening to the CD version of "Age of Turbulence" I expected to learn some incredible things from one of the legendary great economic minds of all times. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2008 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
4.0 out of 5 stars A Generalized Whitewash of Monetary Policy in the Modern Era
While I started to read "Age of Turbulence" with the expectation of learning what makes Greenspan tick as one of the great economic minds of the times, I came away with a less... Read more
Published on July 27 2008 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
2.0 out of 5 stars It is an old fashioned view on the economy
This book is a mixture of economic and political history of the past in the United States of America. The political view begins with his beginning in the Ford Administration. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2008 by Bernd Kotz
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is a great read even if you are not a student of economics. Greenspan writes in a manner that is easy to follow, while allowing the reader to learn about economic policy... Read more
Published on Dec 26 2007 by Burgess K. Dastur
5.0 out of 5 stars An Economic Masterpiece!
"Creative destruction" for other economic writers... in general terms a friendly book that goes from Greenspan's early years to a bold forecast of how the economic world will look... Read more
Published on Dec 4 2007 by Othon Leon
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