Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
The “History of Money” is an interesting historical journey, written by Jack Weatherford. However, at times, resource selection seems loosely based on the title’s inferred theme. One of Weatherford’s references is to Michel Montaigne. Montaigne’s reference to money in his book, “Essays”, is superfluous. Montaigne said little about the historical role of money, except as an inheritance and burden.
Weatherford explains that we have entered a new age of money. Early civilizations disclaimed the importance of money; the ruling class coveted money for power; the merchant class acquired money for trade; the industrial class sought money for production; and now the capitalist class has risen. Like the Romans, capitalists acquire money for power.
However, the medium of money has become unanchored by the physical world. Money lives in cyber space, untethered by physical relationship. Capitalists have become the new Caesars backed by money that never touches human hands. Though Weatherford does not address bitcoin, he infers a new form of money is being created out of nothing.
One might argue money has always been created out of nothing, except convenience. Money is certainly more conveniently handled today than in ancient times. The concern is that the speed of change, figuratively and physically, is less controllable in cyber space.
Couldn't put it down. It's a fascinating history of mankind and man's power struggles from the viewpoint of money and modes of trade. It gives an excellent insight into what money really is.
I'm a fairly avid consumer of history books. After reading it, I'd say any study of history is incomplete without a perspective like this.
It's written by an anthropologist and the content seems quite scholarly. Yet, as an anthropologist the writer is an outsider to the world of economics and so uses everyday terms that are easy for a layman to understand. There were only a few points in the book where I found it difficult to follow
I worked in the financial markets for years but have never come across an overview like this: I finished the book with a vastly improved understanding of the true nature of money and how inflation occurs. It's an excellent little book.
It is quite old - published in 1997, so could probably do with some updates. It predates the Euro and the General Financial Crisis which stemmed from the misuse of derivatives. These were big events on the money time line. For all that, the writer does have pretty clear forward vision - he was spot on in anticipating new electronic and non-state regulated currencies such as BitCoin
My only complaint was with the reader. He's clearly a professional so he was OK I guess, but I found his tone rather affected in parts. Especially towards the beginning.it often sounded as though he's providing commentary on a budget US real life murder mystery TV program. Every now and again he also reads a quote from an English person with an affected English accent. Why he didn't do the Roman, Greek, French , German and other foreign characters in their native accents I don't know. His style just seemed a bit inappropriate for this sort of book. It was definitely distracting at times. Either he dropped it as the book went on or I got used to it. Either way, I'd forgiven him by chapter 15.
That little niggle aside, there's no getting away from the quality of the book. It's easy enough to listen to that could I drive, or cook wit it or it on sleep and nod off in 15 minutes ( I always rewind the next day). But it's also rich with content and perspective that you will struggle to find anywhere else without reading 10 volumes.
If you're interested in history or economics and want something light, insightful, informative and entertaining, I'd strongly recommend it.
A bit dry and historical, but none the less a fascinating history. A good reflection as to the relationship of money, the world economy and our society.
It was highly enjoyable because it gave me a greater understanding of the way the world works. He gave a story of a certain eb and flow of history that makes the listener more knowledgeable than before.
Yes, this is a non-fiction book but his tone of voice made it clear when he was switching topics.
I would want to, theoretically but that is not very realistic.
I would not have thought of reading this book, but I read the author's book about Genghis Khan and enjoyed it so much that I thought I would give his other books a listen. Though the end of the book discussing the era of electronic money was a bit tedious to me, the rest of the book more than made up for that, and I'm sure I will read it again in a couple of years. The section about the decline of the Roman empire was downright scary in its similarity to the U.S.A. today.
I enjoy, epic and modern fantasy, science fiction, business, historical mystery, and technology books. Fav. series: Game of Thrones, Vampire Earth, Dresden, Iron Druid, Falco mysteries, Chris Anderson titles, Peaceful Warrior, and the Way of Kings (and more, of course;)
This book is provides an interesting history of the evolution of currency and the effects of money-use on the civilizations that used them. The beginning was a bit slow and felt like an extended historical introduction (I actually stopped listening for a while before coming back to the book), but once I got past the first section, the story was very engaging and produced many interesting facts, histories, and a new perspective on modern day finance. 4 out of 5 due to the slow start, but very good for someone curious to know more about the basics of money history and some economics.
Very thorough history of the evolution of money
Yes. It would be too detailed for some.
There was a little history, but not much that many of us don't already know. There were some illuminating history concerning slavery, the Aztecs in particular. The evolution from barter to binary bit exchange is of value to someone with no knowledge of the subject.
I anticipated that the book would be about how money has evolved into something new. And indeed the book brings you right up to the current evolutionary stage, says we're on the brink of something big, and stops. I had hoped for a little more insight into the new world order. Instead I got to read a cursory history of how we got here. Mixed in is a lot of soap boxing about how money is the driving force of civilization and all that is good.
An anthropologist's view on money was very refreshing. We always think of money from the economist's perspective which can at times be a little dry. The author gives just the right mix of interesting tid bits on money and a constant theme to tie the book together...that while money has greatly advanced society, history repeats over and over the folly of too much money creation.
The book was well read so that it is easy to follow even at 3 times speed.