One of the most interesting books I have read to date. This work is an entertaining overview of the evolution of financial systems and how the history of innovations in finance really parallels and in many cases drives the political history of the world civilizations.
entertaining, historical, and relevant...a excellent read
A lover of good music, good stories and intelligent non-fiction.
If you want to understand our current economic system, the world financial crisis of 2008 and what will cause the next economic crisis, then you need to understand the roots of the system which perpetuates these booms and busts. It just might help you save your own shirt when others are losing theirs.
After listening to this book I have a far better understanding of the mundane side of money: loans, credit, stocks, bonds, insurance, etc. and I finally understand the many, seemingly crazy, financial institutions and instruments which are making and losing billions today. Believe it or not, they started out as good ideas that solved real problems, but as the years went on and clever and greedy men saw how to manipulate them, they became "financial weapons of mass destruction," as Warren Buffet so accurately named them.
I don't think the book pushes any particular political agenda. It seems more interested in the facts of the ascent of money than in any ideology. I liked that because it meant that I could evaluate the data without having to strip out a bias to left or right.
The narration was excellent and the style of the book is entertaining. It never gets dry or academic.
I highly recommend it.
Non-Fiction, Science, Tech, History & Business
If you are looking for something in-depth or math heavy you should continue looking. This book is both approachable and easy to follow for anyone interested in a brief overview of the history of finance, so 5 stars.
While Niall Ferguson's book does present some interesting history on how a system of money and finance came into existence, it is probably something that could be better read in a condensed format somewhere else.
This book is peppered with self-aggrandizing comments, and "I-called-its", that makes it a bit tough to believe, and would probably work better in an informal personal blog than a formal history. It is true that no history is completely objective, but the author should at least have that intention.
As one final note the book lacks consistency. It jumps from one event to another with no set reason, and seems to accelerate to current times (1990-2008) and stay there for over half the book. Any explanations of financial products, like puts, options, swaps, bonds, etc...are not easy to understand, and might as well be left out.
In closing, save your credit and just google blogs on the financial crises, or finance history, you will find much the same material, and at least you will have visual aids.
This is really a book about human nature. The author takes us through historical and the recent history of risk-based decision-making. Though a little slow at times, the inclusion of colorful characters kept me listening. In the end you can gleam insights for today's economy and a multitude of macroeconomic variables.
The timing was terrible to write about finance just as the financial system was collapsing. But still an amazing account of finance. Tempered by a certain amount of conservative nievete
This is a non-fiction account of the history of money, from ancient times to the present. The author is a somewhat pedantic historian. The first half of the book or so is a somewhat overly detailed historical account of changes in how money was thought of and used a long time ago. Then the descriptions come to within a few hundred years of the present, the book becomes more interesting, and much of it deals with how large accumulations of money have been a powerful force in allowing significant advances in technology and have benefited society. Unfortunately, the style of the book is somewhat pompous and some of the key economic principles which underlie more modern events in financed are either not explained at all or explained so briefly that I could not grasp them. Finally, he ends up with a comparison of economic institutions with biological evolution, a kind of survival of the fittest theory of economics.
All, in all, a very good book. In some ways I feel that I should reread it, in other ways, I think I should round it out with other economics books. It is probably an excellent book for those who work in the field of economics who may be somewhat lacking in historical perspective.
No problems with the narrator.
I enjoyed this book because it offered a perspective of history that I can use to make better decisions in the future.
Excellent read. interesting analysis of the history of finance up until 2008. Some of the conclusions arrived at are interesting and a little off given the developments that have occurred since the publication of this book.