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The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created | [William Bernstein]

The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created

In the breakthrough spirit of Against the Gods, William Bernstein's The Birth of Plenty has the topical uniqueness and storytelling panache to literally create its own category and reader. Based upon the premise that mankind experienced virtually zero economic growth from the dawn of time until 1820, this provocative, big-picture book identifies the four conditions necessary for sustained economic progress.
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Publisher's Summary

In the breakthrough spirit of Against the Gods, William Bernstein's The Birth of Plenty has the topical uniqueness and storytelling panache to literally create its own category and listener. Based upon the premise that mankind experienced virtually zero economic growth from the dawn of time until 1820, this provocative, big-picture book identifies the four conditions necessary for sustained economic progress: property rights, scientific rationalism, capital markets, and communications and transportation technology; and then analyzes their gradual appearance and impact throughout every corner of the globe. Filled with best-selling author William Bernstein's trademark meticulous research and page-turning writing style, The Birth of Plenty explores:

  • Where the world economy could be headed next
  • Implications of the book's thesis for today's society
  • How the absence of one or more of the conditions continues to threaten beleaguered regions

Rare is the book that proposes an entirely new premise, validates that premise with inarguable research and analysis, and then explains beyond question both the relevance and the implications of its premise to the listener and the world at large. The Birth of Plenty is just such a book. From its unique, topical subject matter to its tremendous review potential, this insightful book will be one of the most talked-about volumes of the publishing season.

©2004 McGraw-Hill; (P)2004 AMI

What the Critics Say

"An authoritative economic history, accessible and thoroughly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (83 )
5 star
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3.8 (20 )
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4.1 (19 )
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  •  
    JOSHUA HELMAN, M.D. LAKE FOREST, FL USA 03-13-06
    JOSHUA HELMAN, M.D. LAKE FOREST, FL USA 03-13-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "Entertaining and Educational"

    Dr. Bernstein uses expert historical analysis to explain what accounts for economic growth or lack thereof in different societies at different times. His analysis is readily applicable to emerging markets today and to future biomedical technologies of tomorrow. His storytelling is compelling. Well worth a listen for students of history, economics or science!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitch Buena Park, CA, United States 05-01-06
    Mitch Buena Park, CA, United States 05-01-06

    I am a documentary film producer from Los Angeles.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    320
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    36
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    "Brilliant and accesible"

    The book that every politician and head of state should read. It should also be required reading for the third world countries dictators that bring their people to misery and poverty.
    This book is the story of how the west came across this magic formula that brought wealth, freedoms and human rights even to the most disadvantaged members of our society.
    The logic and arguments is irrefutable. The author’s genius is not in really uncovering new historical facts, but putting together a long sequence of causes and effects that seem to answer the million dollar question: How to run a society? (Or why the western model has prevailed)
    The book is full of concepts, filled with answers that I looked for, for a very long time. I wonder if anyone else tried such comprehensive explanation of the success of modern capitalism.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Al San Francisco, CA 06-19-11
    Al San Francisco, CA 06-19-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
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    79
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    5
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    "Excellent book, Very Poor Narration"

    The book and its contents are excellent, the narration is too fast, it seems the narrator is in a hurry to finish the book as soon as possible. The book itself is excellent and deserves a 5 stars, however with author in a hurry , lots of things remained unclear and difficul to follow.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 11-13-10
    Richard 11-13-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Should be a Must Read in School"

    This book explains - in plain English - why some societies prosper and others stagnate in poverty. It should be a must read in all schools in America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry North Potomac, MD, USA 01-31-10
    Terry North Potomac, MD, USA 01-31-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
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    Overall
    "Interesting and worth a listen, but not terrific"

    This book was quite interesting, but in the end, was not great. It just seemed like it left the subject a bit flat and could have provided more examples and proof of the theory. I also thought some of the stories could have been developed a bit more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Fayetteville, Argentina 08-16-07
    Jeff Fayetteville, Argentina 08-16-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Rich title...poor book"

    The author presented a lot of information that was interesting but the title leads one to belief there will be more depth than is actually there. In the end we get too much information, go down too many rabbit trails, and fail to really hit the point of what we were hoping to find in the book. Well done, but it all seemed like an introduction.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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