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.
This book is a must read. Understanding the rise of money is like understanding the effects of money in relation to human behavior. The creation evolved from simple pieces of marked clay to hedge funds. Political relationship to money would be a great addition. Regardless this is a great book.
A well worded, fair and objective explenation of the history of finance. i did note that due to how specific the subject is Niall's academic tone requires that he ignore some moral dilemmas, resulting in many observations and opinions sounding heartless.
regardless, any keen listener will understand by the end of this book that money is not the root of all evil. money is in fact a tool to be used in the exchange of good and services, the lending of trust, and to further humanity as a species; these among other topics are covered wonderfully in this book with fantastic narration by S. Prebble.