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.
This is an historical account of money/econonmics in all of its shapes and forms. The book is arranged in chapters that discuss:
1. The rise of money in society, credit and debt and how hard currency was replaced with paper.
2. The rise of the bond market and the Rothschild family
3. The stock market and the bubbles that it has produced (e.g., Enron)
4. The start of insurance and the management of risk
5. Housing an mortgages
6. The effects of globalization (e.g., China's economic development)
I found this book enjoyable to listen too, but there were times when I wish it had gone into more depth with the explanation of certain economic topics. Still the scope was large enough to give a layman like myself a good survey of topics. I especially liked chapters 1, 3, and 4 but I felt that some of the parts in the (chap5) housing discussion were a little preachy about social inequalities. Also I found the discussion on globalization a little dated - this book was written in 2008.
The afterward of this book was also interesting but raced through the topic of behavior economics (the irrationality of economics due to human nature) way too fast for me.
I would recommend this book to those of you that have like popular economic books (e.g., freakonomics, predictably irrational) AND also like history. You must like listening to history books to enjoy this.
I am a 30 year old over-the-road truck driver. I listen to A LOT of audiobooks!
I didn't know if I would enjoy this book, but I found it held my attention quite well. It was entertaining and informative without being overly technical. Definitely worth my time and money.
I would only recommend this book to people who had an interest in money.
Things I especially liked about it were Otto von Bismarck advice to Germany's post WWI politicians, the discussion of the Bond Market and its beginning which were an after math of Waterloo, and the comparison of socialism in Japan and England. This was a very interesting and informative read/listen. I loved the book so much that I bought it in hard back afterword to have better access to the information.
The convenience of this medium is exceptional. I've been traveling a lot lately and am really glad I found audible.
None right now as this was my first financial history book.
Creating the double-edged sword: The wonders and perils of financial systems
Overall, this was an excellent book. It was heavily weighted toward the last few centuries but did an excellent job providing an overview of the important financial developments and interrelationships that made the western world the dominant society within the modern world.
No, because I found the reader unsatisfactory. However, with a different reader, I might prefer the audio edition.
It covers a large number of subjects, many vital and interesting. Unlike certain reviewers, I enjoyed hearing even about events that are familiar, such as the Enron fraud, because my memory is far from perfect and I always find new information I had ignored.
Could have been much better. I have trouble with Prebble's voice that lacks resonance and sounds muffled (at least on my Bose Soundlink), and also with his clip but too matter of fact way of reading. His British accent (something I don't mind in other readers) adds to rendering certain words hard to understand.
One constant frustration is that this book was written shortly before the 2008 financial debacle and I am always wanting to know what the author would say today. This is one book that I think would benefit much from a second edition.On the other hand, just on the basis of what Ferguson wrote, the 2008 collapse could have been anticipated (at least with hindsight). I actually believe that if I had read this book say in June of 2008, I would have been sufficiently alarmed to take some steps to cut losses (at the time I took no interest in financial matters and had never heard of subprime mortgages, a topic Ferguson covers well considering that he was writing in 2007). It makes it even more incomprehensible that not more people (I mean those involved in finances) were aware of the danger. Though Ferguson takes a largely objective and politically unbiased view, the information he gives does seem to support in part something like 'The Trillion Dollar Conspiracy' (I have little affinity for conspiracy theories, yet cannot deny some of the evidence marshaled by Marrs and others).A book that provides a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of money is Divid Graebber's Debt: The First 5000 Years. A truly great book.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
I enjoyed Ferguson's Civilization more but this was still a good read on the history of money and money policy up to the depths of the financial crash of 2008.
Simon Prebble does a great job communicating the ideas that Niall put forth within the work, thus, the engagement the listener feels may help them to retain the information presented.
The story seems factual, devoid of ego and agenda, it was very refreshing and I enjoyed the work highly. Unfortunately, I later listened to / read Niall's "Civilization," which came across as filled with ego and agenda perhaps to the detriment of facts. This has worried me in regard to the credibility of the information presented in "Money" (thus the four-star story rating). In any case, this work's content is very entertaining, and in spite of my worry, I recommend it.
Perhaps, I thought so.
I felt really engaged while listening to this book, but it isn't the type that tries to make readers / listeners laugh or cry.
This book could be named How Money Impacts History or Money is the root of Everything. Niall does a good job of taking the reader through history using many smaller sub stories. There are so many great insights on what money actually is, how it can be used, and how its invention is tied directly to the advancement of the human race.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the study of finances, history, or culture.