Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of finance, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance. Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it's the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it's the chains of labor. Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress.
As a student of and a trader in the Futures and Equities Markets, I am surprised to see in this book, an accurate, insightful, and sane exposition of what the markets are, whence they came, how they interact, their beauties and pitfalls, and wither they might go from here. Almost everything else written on this subject is gruel for the masses. This book is a repast of intelligence and clear thinking. My only regret is the public could not have had this book a year earlier. Politicians and the press & media just obfuscate and blather about the economy, but this is an extraordinary book that will educate all. As we go into a very, very bad time economically, the author gives an excellent presentation of the history and meaning of money in its varied forms that will help and guide the reader in making choices and in voicing their concerns and needs to their elected representatives.
A thoroughly elucidating book that is timely and accurate.
70 of 74 people found this review helpful
Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome, chillingly ruthless, and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming's tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called "Le Chiffre" by ruining him at the Baccarat table, forcing his Soviet spymasters to "retire" him. It seems that lady luck has sided with 007 when Le Chiffre hits a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules.
Ian Fleming introduces us to a most remarkable world and character in this first book in the eventual series about 007. A very skillful character sketch of a man, a very unique man and one both men and women can identify inside themselves. While the recent movie was a faithful cinematic (albeit modernised) version of the novel, the listener will be enraptured by this most compelling story that is as fresh and exciting today as it would have been in the early 1950's when it was first published.
While the story is most excellent and well written, the listener will find the narrator, Mr. Simon Vance, to be almost perfect as the quintessential reader of Bond (and any other story). In fact, I became a fan of Mr. Vance as a reader while listening to this audiobook. I must say, the real world faded as I listened to Casino Royale.
Even though most of us have seen the movies first, and perhaps, think that is all there is to Mr. Bond, all will find that the novels themselves are a whole other world and just as intensely interesting and exciting. There is also something wonderful about stepping back into this romanticised fancy of the Cold War. Dear Mr. Bond is something of a knight.
Of all the Bond stories, this is my favorite; it sets the mark, the standard, and gives us _Bond_. All of the Bond stories on Audible are first rate, but this one, Casino Royale, is the first--and for several reasons.
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
During the early and most dangerous years of the cold war, a handful of Americans, led by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, revolutionized spying and warfare. In great secrecy and beyond the prying eyes of Congress and the press, they built exotic new machines that opened up the Soviet Union to surveillance and protected the United States from surprise nuclear attack. Secret Empire is the dramatic story of these men and their inventions, told in full for the first time.
As a student of pre-modern history (pre-Renaissance), I usually have little interest in this period or genre of history as it is usually tainted by politics and the shortsightedness of having been so recent. However, this history is one of the most fascinating histories I have read or listened to.
I was taught that the Eisenhower years were a kind of "Howdie Doodie", "Happy Days" world where Ike went golfing and the world was all rosey. Not true--Ike and his administration had to fight a very hard and dangerous world during the Cold War. It is remarkable that they of this time kept is so isolated to the average American.
Here is a story of how we brought technology to espionage in a very heightened way. This is a story of unsung heroes and geniuses and gutsy men who protected us from a very real threat, both real and apparent.
Normally, a history with so much sci-tech as its backbone would be rather specialized and boring; this one is not. The technical problems to be solved were significant and very difficult. There is a lot of spine in this book
This story needs to be told.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels, praises this hearty saga as "one of the great unrecognized novels of the 20th century." Doctor Peter Blood's quiet life is shattered when he is convicted of treason for helping a wounded nobleman in the 1685 rebellion against King James II.
Captain Blood is one of the all time best swashbuckles and historical fiction novels ever. Raphael Sabitini was an extraordinary writer with a fabulous and rich vocabulary, a rich sense of adventure (and the ability to covey it) , and a deep ability to fashion characters. In Captain Blood, he captures the not just the history of the times, but the thoughts, beliefs, and character of the 17th Century. A fabulously good novel.
And a fabulously good reading, in fact, the best read that I have ever heard from an audio book. It is not possible to be disappointed in this audio book. A good buy.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful