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.
A good history of finance. The author does a good job of using unique stories to demonstrate his overarching theme of how financial cycles have played out across history. The book starts slow and is a bit technical for an audio book. However the pace picks up as he approaches 2008. The book is only improved by hindsight and I wish he could add another chapter to cover the last 7years.
Informative and provocative exploration of money, banks and lending, bonds, stocks, hedge funds, and other ways of transferring, holding, and managing wealth and risk.
I am a bilingual high school teacher. I mostly read non-fiction, especially history, but I am also a sucker for science-fiction and fantasy novels.
This is an accessible yet detailed history of finance. The historical content was engaging and was the sort of thing that you've probably never heard about, even if you are a history buff (as I am). Even with extremely limited background knowledge, I had no trouble following along and yet it was in-depth enough to hold my attention. Despite the subject matter, it doesn't get wrapped up in numbers so that it gets tedious to hear in audio format, unlike many other books about financial matters.
The narration was truly excellent. Easy to understand and I can't remember even a single pronunciation error, which I cannot say about almost any other audiobook I've listened to.
Overall, I would highly recommend it - the historical aspect is interesting regardless of the level of interest a person may have in financial systems and the details about stocks, bonds, currency, etc. are there for those who are already knowledgeable about the subject.
A small note is that the writing on the book was completed in May 2008, so the parts about the late 2007/early 2008 subprime mortgage problems are sort of strange and feel incomplete, seeing as he didn't know that the crisis would escalate just a few months later. He doesn't make any predictions, but it is still a bit strange to read an assessment of the situation just before the worst of it really hit. If you know more about that crisis than I do (I am admittedly not very knowledgeable about it), you may find those discussions particularly interesting.
This is a well researched history of banking, currency, finance and the politics surrounding international monetary decisions. It explained many historical events from a scholarly perspective.
The sequence of developing financial systems to solve historical problems. Tying the various strings together.
No, but this performance was excellent.
Beware of the guys with the green eyeshades.