• Money

  • The True Story of a Made-Up Thing
  • By: Jacob Goldstein
  • Narrated by: Jacob Goldstein
  • Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,705 ratings)

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Money

By: Jacob Goldstein
Narrated by: Jacob Goldstein
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Publisher's summary

The cohost of the popular NPR podcast Planet Money provides a well-researched, entertaining, somewhat irreverent look at how money is a made-up thing that has evolved over time to suit humanity's changing needs.

Money only works because we all agree to believe in it. In Money, Jacob Goldstein shows how money is a useful fiction that has shaped societies for thousands of years, from the rise of coins in ancient Greece to the first stock market in Amsterdam to the emergence of shadow banking in the 21st century.

At the heart of the story are the fringe thinkers and world leaders who reimagined money. Kublai Khan, the Mongol emperor, created paper money backed by nothing, centuries before it appeared in the West. John Law, a professional gambler and convicted murderer, brought modern money to France (and destroyed the country's economy). The cypherpunks, a group of radical libertarian computer programmers, paved the way for bitcoin.

One thing they all realized: What counts as money (and what doesn't) is the result of choices we make, and those choices have a profound effect on who gets more stuff and who gets less, who gets to take risks when times are good, and who gets screwed when things go bad.

Lively, accessible, and full of interesting details (like the 43-pound copper coins that 17th-century Swedes carried strapped to their backs), Money is the story of the choices that gave us money as we know it today.

©2020 AG Prospect, LLC (P)2020 Hachette Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Selection in Business & Economics

"Jacob Goldstein is a lucid, entertaining explainer of all things economic." —Ira Glass, host and executive producer of "This American Life"

"A sweeping new history....Money is fast-paced and chatty: We meet all the characters an academic book would include, their ideas and innovations blended with scandal and gossip to propel the story along. The effect is a history of currency full of astonishing tales you might tell a friend in the pub....This story gets to the heart of why money matters....Money should be required reading for every financial regulator....Money is great preparation for turbulent times: a vibrant and accessible grounding in how the evolution of cash -- organic, random, and social -- really works." —The New York Times

\"Jacob Goldstein of 'Planet Money' has a remarkable gift for making complicated economic issues beguilingly simple. He has written a wonderfully entertaining, freewheeling history of money, told with all the verve and wit and smart insights that have made his NPR show such a success."—Liaquat Ahamed, author of Pulitzer Prize winner Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

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