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The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World Hardcover – Unabridged, September 17, 2007
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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.
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Press (September 17, 2007)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1594201315
- ISBN-13 : 978-1594201318
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 2.12 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.42 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,673,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In his epilogue he seems at a loss as far as preventing another 2007 economic disaster. Summarized ‘these things only happen once or twice in a century and that does not justify central control’. I agree with the latter inclination but suggest that we adopt a play from the medical malpractice handbook. CEO’s and governing boards SHOULD NOT be immune for deviating from ‘best practices’ and therefore liable for taking excessive risk. I would go further and force the biggest investors in a default to take on the lion’s share of the losses (if indeed it is not a total loss). Such institutions would likely find it necessary to secondarily insure for liability. Perhaps the equivalent of Lloyd’s of London for conceptual purposes. Regardless, that company would find it in their interest to keep close tabs in order to assure ‘best practices’. A privatized solution that avoids centralized ‘one size fits all’ and puts decision makers (as well as those who have the greatest influence on them) at risk.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
His theories are well presented but they did not work the way there were supposed to be.
This shows, with hindsight, how difficult it is to read the world economy.
Not sure lessons have been learned as we seem to be near another dot.com bubble with internet companies being hugely overvalued.