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The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World Hardcover – Unabridged, September 17, 2007
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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 crisis as Federal Reserve Chairman, coming just weeks after he assumed control, had come much closer than is even today generally known to freezing the financial system and triggering a genuine financial panic. But the most remarkable thing that happened to the economy after 9/11 was...nothing. What in an earlier day would have meant a crippling shock to the system was absorbed astonishingly quickly.
After 9/11 Alan Greenspan knew, if he needed any further reinforcement, that we're living in a new world - the world of a global capitalist economy that is vastly more flexible, resilient, open, self-directing, and fast-changing than it was even 20 years ago. It's a world that presents us with enormous new possibilities but also enormous new challenges. The Age of Turbulence is Alan Greenspan's incomparable reckoning with the nature of this new world - how we got here, what we're living through, and what lies over the horizon, for good and for ill-channeled through his own experiences working in the command room of the global economy for longer and with greater effect than any other single living figure. He begins his account on that September 11th morning, but then leaps back to his childhood, and follows the arc of his remarkable life's journey through to his more than 18-year tenure as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, from 1987 to 2006, during a time of transforming change.
Alan Greenspan shares the story of his life first simply with an eye toward doing justice to the extraordinary amount of history he has experienced and shaped. But his other goal is to draw readers along the same learning curve he followed, so they accrue a grasp of his own understanding of the underlying dynamics that drive world events. In the second half of the book, having brought us to the present and armed us with the conceptual tools to follow him forward, Dr. Greenspan embarks on a magnificent tour de horizon of the global economy. He reveals the universals of economic growth, delves into the specific facts on the ground in each of the major countries and regions of the world, and explains what the trend-lines of globalization are from here. 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.
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 an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
As someone who was a titan in the business and consulting world and then held the post of the federal reserve chairman, (one of the top five most powerful positions in the world) for over two decades, he has a tremendous story to tell. The first half of the book which talks about his professional life, largely provides a historical glance into 20th century America, from the great depression till date. The second (part), delves into his take on issues such as world economics, corporate governance, inequality, globalization, capitalism, market forces, deregulation etc. In most, if not all instances, he offers a convincing argument and explanation for his stances.
At times his language is a little difficult to grasp but overall it is a fantastic read.
I recommend heartily.
The first several CDs cover Mr. Greenspan's early life and give a great deal of insight into how his views developed. They are very light, laced with dry (but quite amusing) humor and move along very quickly. Upon learning of his close friendship with Ayn Rand, much of his manner and opinion comes into clear focus.
Namely, Mr. Greenspan is a unapologetic Free Market Capitalist. His arena is Global Macroeconomics and he embraces "Creative Destruction" wholeheartedly. While he does address the hardships of this, it is in a purely pragmatic approach. I get the feeling he does care about the socioeconomic fallout but this is not the purpose of these CDs.
The middle CDs are sometimes difficult for a lay person to follow but are worth repeating to gain a better understanding. His explanations of Developing Markets, Populism, and the demise of Central Planning are very detailed and interesting.
I found I enjoyed the last CDs the most as they address current global uncertainties. The spike in oil prices, the fall of the dollar, accounting scandals, changing labor markets, and need to address energy consumption. You may not agree with him on principal but he presents solid arguments in his favor.
I recommend this collection to lay people interested in gaining a better understanding of Global macroeconomics and, oddly, those opposed to Globalization. While the latter may sound odd Mr. Greenspan presents his argument clearly and concisely. There are no vaguaries in his points and this allows reasoned response to to these issues.
Most recent customer reviews
Originally the book went to press in June 2007, this updated edition went to press in June 2008,...Read more