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Publisher's Summary

"This book is in part a detective story. After 9/11 I knew, if I needed further reinforcement, that we are living in a new world - the world of a global capitalist economy that is vastly more flexible, resilient, open, self-correcting, and fast-changing than it was even a quarter century earlier. It's a world that presents us with enormous new possibilities but also enormous new challenges. The Age of Turbulence is my attempt to understand 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. Where possible, I convey my understanding in the context of my own experiences. I do this out of a sense of responsibility to the historical record, and so that listeners will know where I'm coming from.

"The book is therefore divided in halves: the first half is my effort to retrace the arc of my learning curve, and the second half is a more objective effort to use this as the foundation on which to erect a conceptual framework for understanding the new global economy. Along the way I explore critical elements of this emerging global environment: the principles governing it; the vast energy infrastructure that powers it; the global financial imbalances and dramatic shifts in world demographics that threaten it; and, despite its unquestioned success, the chronic concern over the justice of the distribution of its rewards. Finally, I bring together what we can reasonably conjecture about the makeup of the world economy in 2030.

"I don't pretend to know all the answers. But from my vantage point at the Federal Reserve, I had privileged access to the best that had been thought and said on a wide range of subjects. I have not been inhibited in reaching for some fairly sweeping hypotheses."
-Alan Greenspan

©2007 Alan Greenspan; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Terry
  • Sherman Oaks, CA, USA
  • 04-01-08

Tripled my understanding of our economy

Never even took economics in school, but Greenspan talks about the economic history of America since he began his career after World War II. Fascinating even if you don't understand it all. Explains how capitalism really works, why it's the best system in the world so far, and what it is that keeps thirdworld countries so destitute (hint: unenforced property rights). The last chapter explains how gross domestic product is increasingly based on intellectual property rights, and what that means for our future.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dmitriy
  • Manhattan Beach, CA, United States
  • 10-12-07

Basics for wide audience

If you are not very familiar with macroeconomics and would like to know Alan Greenspan's take on economic forces, principals and issues of modern times, this is a great book. You will find plenty of historical examples, future projections as well as eloquently explained economic and political relationships and trends that shape our world as we know today. Just as interesting is the authors' opinion of many prominent public figures he met during his career.
The book is intended to be an "easy read" for an average reader, so do not expect it to be of much academic value or any in-depth research/analysis that can be used for, say, investment purposes.
The narration is excellent, arguments are persuasive and easy to follow, the amount of material covered is also quite substantial.
Ideally, I would suggest this book to an average voter who wants to understand the economic impact of various public policies. Policies like "more taxes for the rich", "more power to the unions", "deport immigrants", "erect a trade barrier with China", "freeze gasoline prices" not only have a profound economic impact (mostly negative) on everybody, but also have a long history of prior attempts that we can learn a lot from.
Lastly, as much as Greenspan tried not to come across this way, but he surely seems to be riding a rather high horse. His opinion of self-importance and self-righteousness could use a trim..

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • 06-05-08

Not worth the time

I like Greenspan, but unfortunately this book is not worth the time. It's really two books in one, the first being a banal but amusing autobiography and the second an eye-lid dropping overview of the current economic state of the world. As is typical of former public figures with friends still in high places, the book treads very carefully - even in ripping Bush AG takes no great risks. This book is liking watching a team with a 20 point lead play out the fourth quarter - we're all good, let's not do anything to lose our place in history. Boring and safe. The last part of the book is so stuffed full of econ-speak that it will make your eyes glaze over - I started to understand why they call it the dismal science, even though I enjoy the subject. Geez, I even made it through the Wealth of Nations but AoT makes WoN look like a bastion of clarity at times. I'm going to take my nominal rate of time return and invest it in another information growth vehicle since this one exceeded the net present value of my current patience balance.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


OK, I do not have an economics background, so the level of this discussion was perfect for me. I thought this was one of the most interesting and gripping books I have listened to. The narrator has a great voice which actually sounds a little like Greenspan.

but on to the content. Having been a casual, but not formal, student of economics since the Reagan years, it was great to relook at the last 25 years through the eyes of someone who played a key role in decisions made through the years. Furthermore, the economic insights were the insightful, considered, logical, and unemotional thoughts you might expect from Greenspan. As a non-economist but who has a great interest in human psychology and sociology, the level this book was written at was perfect. The interplay between psychology, economics, social structures, and politics is great great reading. i do not think this was targetted at people who are economics professors, and the book should not be criticized for this: it's targetted at the general readership.

sometimes you listen to books and you find that your mind has wandered for a few minutes and you have lost the train of thought. That never happened to me during this read. I found it rivetting.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 04-26-08

Wish He Was Still Fed Chair

This book gives great background on a man whose interests and talents are much more diverse that I'd ever realized. Contemporary issues and the evolution of our current financial markets are lucidly explained. To have the inside story from such an important character in our modern world is fascinating. Folks who don't follow the markets or the fed may find that this book gives them more information than they want and prefer the written version. I found the reader's voice a perfect match for the author and the material.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An inspiring and eye opening experience

I can't say enough positive things about this book. In the beginning I was immediately drawn in by the description of the 9-11 crisis from an global and domestic economic standpoint.

I was inspired by the life, and humility of Greenspan. It was a true pleasure to learn more about him, where he came from, and how he lived such an incredible life.

I was truly educated on the macro economics of the world (I don't have an economics background). He presented history, present, and future predictions with a tremendous amount of background detail and supporting evidence.

Coming away from reading this book I feel inspired by the work Greenspan has accomplished; I have a better understanding of the workings of our government on economic matters; and I have a tremendously better understanding of globalization, free markets, and the future of the global marketplaces in our society.

I found it a pleasure to listen the the book from end to end and strongly recommend the unabridged version of this book, I can't imagine leaving out a single word.

If you pass on this book you will be missing out on one of the most insightful and educational works available today.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 02-12-08

An excellent listen with a unique point of view

I really enjoyed this book. While Mr. Greenspan is not really a great author, his insight and perspective are unique and clarifying. Mr. Greenspan has strong libertarian tendencies, but demonstrates realism and practicality in his positions. He blasts tax-break and spend republicans just as strongly as tax and spend democrats (if not more so). He provides glimpses into how several recent presidents and their staffs have approached economics and the politics of taxation, interest rates, and spending. Even the personal vignettes were interesting enough. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the politics of US economic policies.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Who would've thought...

Who would have thought I'd find economics so fascinating? This book can get a little dense in spots for those of us who aren't economics experts, so I may have to give it a second listen. However, it was a fascinating slant on history, from the point of view of an expert who has lived through so many of the big economic events of the past century. Definitely worth the effort required to grasp the complicated issues. Highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I'm not an economist, but...

Remember the TV commercials in which a brain surgeon would reveal he wasn't really a brain surgeon, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night? That was my reaction to "The Age of Turbulence". So no, I'm not an economist, but I did read Alan Greenspan's book last night.
Robertson Dean's narration was outstanding as he wove through a deeply detailed insider's history of the economy over the last 30 years. Not surprisingly, Greenspan shares his world view of macroeconomics by connecting many disparate dots to form a coherent view of the modern global economy. For me the book was filled with many "Ah-Ha" moments in which I finally understood the roots of some of the economic issues which shaped my own life. Many of the topics, particularly his predictions on the fate of disinflation were simply fascinating.
By the end of the book, I found almost all of my lay person-level macroeconomic questions answered. As I write this review, in the midst of the September 2008 Wall Street meltdown, I find myself compeltely at ease. Greenspan innoculates the reader with a long-range vision which puts the current irrational fears into perspective. After sitting through Greenspan's tutorial in "Age of Turbulence", you will see events like these for what they are: opportunities.
I was sad to come to the end of this story. I could have listened for twice as long and I hope the maestro thinks about doing another book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting Book

I would give this 4.5 stars if it were an option. It would be hard to read without some understanding of economics, but he explains much of the complex data really well. He comes off as a much more interesting and well rounded person than the super geek I expected. I was very interested in the behind the scenes action involved in keeping the economy rolling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful