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The Age of Turbulence Paperback – Sep 9 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 9 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143114166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143114161
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 15 x 3.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #117,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By LJM on Nov. 18 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 By Stewart Kiff on Jan. 8 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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By Canuck2004 on Jan. 20 2014
Format: Paperback
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 By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 20 2008
Format: Hardcover
"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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