Book Review: The Age of Turbulence

Alan Greenspan is one of the greatest economists of our time. He was the US Federal Reserve chairman from 1987- 2006 during one of the longest bull markets in history and was a leading free-markets supporter. In this book he narrates his views, thoughts and experiences on the key economic events that shaped US & global economy for more than 6 decades!

The first half of the book talks about his learning as an economist and also about some of the key economic concepts. He starts off with his experience of 911 crisis and Federal Reserve's role in immediate aftermath. Subsequently he covers about his childhood, how he became an economist and his career progression first as an economist and then in the political world at Washington DC. He delves into some of the key economic events in the last 50 yrs like Recession in the early 80's, Black Monday - '87 stock market crash, End of Cold war/communism, Dot com boom and subsequent crash etc. In the first half he attempts to take the reader through his learning on how economy functions. In some places he gets little technical, it took me few re-reads to get some of the concepts and few were beyond me even after multiple reads :-)

The second half of the book talks about his views on the emerging global economy. What are the forces & factors shaping the new economic model of the world. He covers a wide range of topics like globalization and its impact, Energy and its relation to global economy, Rise of some of the developing economies - China, Russia, India etc, shifts in the world demographics and how it will affect the global power equation etc. He gives a fairly detailed assessment on the above topics. He finishes off the book with his predictions on where the world economy is headed in 2030 and beyond. Alan Greenspan's support for free markets and capitalism and his belief in the self-healing power of free markets has been the anchor for all policy decisions during his long career and it comes out pretty strongly across the entire book.

Overall this was a good read and very informative book. It provides an excellent overview on high level workings on the economy and some of the key economic events of the last century. I would recommend this book for folks that are interested in knowing about economy and how it functions. If economy, capitalism is the last thing in your mind this is not your book :-(

This book has spurred my interest in capitalism, economy and free markets. As a follow up from this I'm planning to read 'Wealth of Nations' by Adam smith!


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