• 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 (1,435 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $20.90

Buy for $20.90

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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 

More from the same

Author

Narrator

What listeners say about Money

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,099
  • 4 Stars
    267
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    9
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,019
  • 4 Stars
    189
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    962
  • 4 Stars
    221
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

well researched and written but,

I could have done without the swearing. The author seems to be trying to get street cred, but that's not going to happen in an economics book . Would have recommended to my kids when they get to high school if it wasn't for the low brow language.

53 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Borrow and print your way into prosperity.

“ Give me control of a nation’s monetary system and I care not who writes their laws” - Mayer Rothschild.

This author strongly advocates for expansion of the money supply which by definition IS inflation and always results in the loss of purchasing power of the currency in rising prices. The low point of the book is when he refers to FDR as “genius”. Average unemployment rate from 1933-1940 was 18.58% is “genius”. Most people have never heard of the depression of 1920-1921. That’s because the government stayed out of it and allow the market to work it out quickly.

Expansion of the currency supply as advocated by the author has already happened many times throughout history always with the same result. Hyperinflation and eventually the death of that currency. Go and buy a sheet of plywood at Home Depot and you will see that it has tripled in price in the last 12 months ($75/sheet). This is only the beginning - buckle up.

The only reason I gave this book one star is because it does have some very interesting early history on money that I was not aware of. Everything else this author advocates foolishness.

52 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Historically accurate - flawed logic

This book was written by a journalist. It sounds like it was. He had historically accurate accounts but his conclusion are not based on any actual evidence and are logically flawed.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal!!

Instantly one of the best finance, econ, or history books of all time! He explains everything so clearly and effortlessly as a great teacher should. He explains with stories about people as any great nonfiction writer does. The tone is approachable but the research thorough. He covers every topic as he should, but doesn't waste the reader's time and attention with narratives they've heard countless times before. He doesn't make factual missteps or get pulled into the biases of most other authors on this topic. Many authors have tried this grand history of money book before, for centuries. They all come up short. This is the one! Better than Keynes, Friedman, Bagehot, Groseclose, Rothbard, or any of the rest. As a professor of monetary economics myself, I confess, I wish I had been clever enough to write it myself.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A deceptively lighthearted argument for MMT

After reading the much longer Ascent of Money, here is a refreshingly concise and coherent explanation of the evolution of money. But initially presented as an innocuous and objective history, the author progresses steadily towards a no holds barred argument for MMT and centrally planned economies.

Worth reading, but with a cautious mind.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Money as a fascinating human story

Who knew that the history of money could be so intriguing, and so full of weird and wonderful stories? This book educates while managing to be thoroughly entertaining. The author's narration is as enthusiastic and energetic as the text itself. Altogether a terrific listen. I didn't want it to end!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good

Was pleasant to listen to, gave brief overview on the history of money and also touched on Bitcoin. It was an interesting listen and prompted me to look for other books on the subject.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very educational and interesting!

I have been an avid listener for the Planet Money podcast, so maybe I am biased, but I really enjoyed this book! Jacob has made the history of money entertaining yet informative. I understand that each of the chapter of this book should probably have a book or 2 by itself, but I think that is for readers to dig in at their discretion. As far as a brief history of money goes, this book has been a good read. Keep it going!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If you like Planet Money, you will love this!

The Planet Money podcast (of which this author is a host) has long been a favorite of mine. This book delved into the same kind of fascinating financial stories as that podcast, and with Goldstein’s familiar voice.

My one complaint is all the woke disclaimers about conquering Europeans. Every single time a story involved a white man from history who (shockingly!) wasn’t up to speed on 21st century morality, it had to be pointed out that apparently he had no regard for the humanity of ______ (insert oppressed people). We get it. Turns out you can tell the story of someone who did some good without having to remind readers that the bad things he did were not ok. Interestingly, there were lots of these disclaimers for the white guys, but apparently we don’t need to editorialize when other cultures or races conquer each other (looking at Chinese conquests, for example.) Other than that though, great book!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Caused me to consider money in a new light.

I highly Recommend this book. Well done. Entertaining, challenging some assumptions I hold reinforcing others.

7 people found this helpful