Filled with colorful characters and history, Double Entry takes us from the ancient origins of accounting in Mesopotamia to the frontiers of modern finance. At the heart of the story is double-entry bookkeeping: the first system that allowed merchants to actually measure the worth of their businesses. Luca Pacioli - monk, mathematician, alchemist, and friend of Leonardo da Vinci - incorporated Arabic mathematics to formulate a system that could work across all trades and nations. As Jane Gleeson-White reveals, double-entry accounting was nothing short of revolutionary: it fueled the Renaissance, enabled capitalism to flourish, and created the global economy. John Maynard Keynes would use it to calculate GDP, the measure of a nation’s wealth. Yet double-entry accounting has had its failures. With the costs of sudden corporate collapses such as Enron and Lehman Brothers, and its disregard of environmental and human costs, the time may have come to re-create it for the future.
©2011 Jane Gleeson-White (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
“A timely, topical, readable, and thought-provoking look at the history and legacy of double-entry bookkeeping.” (Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed)
Niall Ferguson seemed to break new popularizing ground with "The Ascent of Money," which in some ways resembled Kenneth Clarke's fantastic popularization "Civilization" and Jacob Bronowski's "Ascent of Man" of the 1970s. I enjoyed and was very inspired by all these works. Now, to my delight, many authors are exploring in more depth some themes also found in "Ascent of Money," particularly the transmission across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy of the business math and accounting in late medieval times that would transform the modern world. Here are also bits of art history, as math master and main character Luca Pacioli crossed paths with many important figures of the early Renaissance. Some readers may differ on the author's choices of topics in the later part of this book (and amazon book reviews will show this), but the Italian history alone for me is worth the price of admission.
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