The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

Alan Greenspan

What does one gather from retired Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence? Nixon and Clinton were the smartest presidents he’s ever worked with; he dated Barbara Walters; Republicans in Congress, having traded doctrine for control, deserved to lose in ’06. While Greenspan’s critique of the Bush administration and the abandonment of fiscal responsibility garner eyebrow raises, his stories of debate and decision-making at the highest levels are most appealing. His behind-the-scenes descriptions of monetary policy discussions, presidents and advisers make the first half of the book worth reading. He shares stories of fondness for the self-awareness and security of Ford, discomfort when around Nixon, and affection for both Reagan and Clinton. The second half is tiring—primarily outlook-focused, with Chinese, Russian and South American economic synopses and their global financial impact. Taken as a whole, the book is almost entertaining, though readers will feel no closer to knowing the author, his real effect or competence.