Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review: Alan Grenspan-The Age of Turbulence

Alan Greenspan's book The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World reached no.1 on the New York Times best seller list in 2007. The book appears to be one part autobiography and economic theory. His philosophical and economic approaches are spelled out between the pages. Through the work a reader should understand the nature and life of an important intellectual theorist within American culture.

The New York Times states, "For a memoir from such a high-profile figure, it is surprisingly frank. Large parts of the book are downright entertaining. Its biggest failing — the reason it isn’t a great memoir — is Mr. Greenspan’s reluctance to be as forthright and penetrating about himself as he is about others" (Leonhardt, 2007).

The first part of the book outlines his life from high school clarinet player, professional service, philosophical discussions, and through various employment positions leading to the Federal Reserve Chairman. He provides some wisdom for how markets act and interact with each and touch upon the various economic principles used to important make decisions. "There are no moral absolutes: values and ethics and the way people behave are reflections of culture and are not subject to logic (Greenspan, 2007).

To him culture and values are relative and the markets can be chaotic. Through analyzing data within his industry work he was able to expand his concepts to a larger society. This gives the readers some indication of how his self-perception and method of learning eventually led him to setting global financial policy. "My early training was to immerse myself in extensive detail in the workings of some small part of the world and to infer from that detail the way that segment of the world behaves. That is the process I have applied throughout my career." Greenspan, 2007).

Throughout the work he discussed various politicians and social elites he has met. Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, George Bush, and other important figures. The book provides some understanding on how he saw each person and the approaches they used to make important decisions. At the very least, it provides some level of insight on how Washington works and the decisions that make up policy.

It is suggested that anyone who has some interest in politics, economic theory, or government administration should pick up a copy. The book provides insight into the nature of the Federal Reserve Chairman and the policies he enacted. Furthermore, it moves into the basic economic principles that are used as the vantage point in understanding and managing a larger societal economic structure.

Price: $12

Blog Ranking: 4.5

 Greenspan, A. (2007). The age of turbulence: adventures in a new world. NY: Penguin Books. ISB 978-0-14-311416-1

 Leonhardt, D. (Sept. 18th, 2007). Economist's life, scored with jazz theme. The New York Times. Retrieved January 5th, 2013.

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