The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World
By Alan Greenspan
Penguin Group, 2007
Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, is both an autobiography and a collection of essays that highlight the famous and former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman’s thoughts on and predictions of the economic outlook of the world. Greenspan’s book is well-written, informative, and insightful; its significance rests on the substance of the man his life, intellect, and public service. It is an important work for the practitioner and student of management as well as the academic of and management sciences.
At 505 pages, The Age of Turbulence requires an investment of time and reflection. The first half of the book is the story of Greenspan’s life he comments on the influence of the Great Depression, the energy of his hometown of New York City, his love of music coupled with his skill at solving social and financial problems, and the impact of the numerous historical events that shaped the United States.
His story is told with extraordinary detail and ease, bringing his audience through his 60-year career as student, economist, consultant, political appointee, advisor, and finally his 19 years as the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. The reader sees America through Greenspan’s eyes its resilience to economic depression, World War II, and the politics that created the economics of the second half of the 20th century.
Age not only offers a view into Greenspan’s life, but also into the countless dignitaries he studied under, such as the intellectual circle of Ayn Rand; the 17 corporate boards he advised; and the six U.S. presidents he served. Equally fascinating are Greenspan’s numerous meetings with his counterparts around the world all with unique personalities and tasked with meeting the demands of managing the global economy.
Greenspan completes his book with a collection of essays each on his general philosophies concerning capitalism, economic development, China, Latin America, corporate governance, wealth distribution, education, and the aging society. Greenspan’s outlook remains cautiously optimistic, citing 2030 as the time when much of his work, policies, and predictions can be judged and measured.
Rarely does the opportunity come for both young and seasoned students of business, government, and society to participate in the life and contribution of a practicing economist whose decisions have shaped elections, administrations, economies, and, in many respects, society at large. Greenspan’s book is essential reading for all concerned about social well-being. His insight brings clarity to a complex world and his wisdom helps plan for the future.