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The History of Money | [Jack Weatherford]

The History of Money

From primitive man's cowrie shells to the electronic cash card, from the markets of Timbuktu to the New York Stock Exchange, The History of Money explores how money and the myriad forms of exchange have affected humanity, and how they will continue to shape all aspects of our lives--economic, political, and personal.
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Publisher's Summary

From primitive man's cowrie shells to the electronic cash card, from the markets of Timbuktu to the New York Stock Exchange, The History of Money explores how money and the myriad forms of exchange have affected humanity, and how they will continue to shape all aspects of our lives--economic, political, and personal.

Listen to An Interview with Author Jack Weatherford.

©1998 Jack Weatherford (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (279 )
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Story
4.1 (172 )
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  •  
    Ilinca Romania 07-30-12
    Ilinca Romania 07-30-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "interesting; could be made more interesting"

    I gave it 4 stars, but I have a distinct feeling this topic could have been made much more interesting. Somewhere between the Knights Templar's banking precedent and the airline miles industry, it all became less gripping. It also didn't help that some of the chapters ended with such an extensive summing-up that I kept thinking the book was ending. But no. So I don't know, it was maybe the dry writing style, maybe uneven interest, who knows. Still, this was interesting and comprehensive enough.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashanti Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States 04-15-15
    Ashanti Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States 04-15-15 Member Since 2012
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    "entertaining must read history book"

    listening to it over and over again. It is packed with lot's of good fundamental information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 09-08-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 09-08-14 Member Since 2014

    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.

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    "HISTORY OF MONEY"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Parkdale, Australia 06-26-14
    Matt Parkdale, Australia 06-26-14 Listener Since 2004
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    "Excellent Explanaition of Money—Very Easy Listen"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Rogers, AR 04-15-14
    Jane Rogers, AR 04-15-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Fascinating"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Gagg 09-21-13
    P. Gagg 09-21-13 Member Since 2015

    Mr. Sub

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    "Very interesting and thought provoking"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of Money the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    NA


    Did Victor Bevine do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes, this is a non-fiction book but his tone of voice made it clear when he was switching topics.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would want to, theoretically but that is not very realistic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 09-13-12
    Mark Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 09-13-12 Member Since 2008

    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;)

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    "Interesting and informative!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 09-06-12
    David 09-06-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "Fascinating and instructive"

    This book was like auditing a colourful lecture series. A great learning experience ... if only I had taken notes!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robaccione United States 08-20-12
    Robaccione United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Thorough History"
    Would you try another book from Jack Weatherford and/or Victor Bevine?

    Very thorough history of the evolution of money


    Would you recommend The History of Money to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes. It would be too detailed for some.


    Have you listened to any of Victor Bevine’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did The History of Money inspire you to do anything?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 05-05-12
    Daniel 05-05-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Not much history"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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