- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (October 27, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143116177
- ISBN-13: 978-0143116172
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 405 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World 1st Edition
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"Before regulators throw block trades, bond swaps, bridge financing, butterfly spreads and Black-Scholes out with the bathwater, they should find time to read Niall Ferguson's The Ascent of Money." --The Wall Street Journal
"[An] excellent, just in time guide to the history of finance and financial crisis." --The Washington Post
"Shrewdly anticipates many aspects of the current financial crisis, which has toppled banks, precipitated gigantic government bailouts and upended global markets." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Fascinating." --Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
"Good old-fashioned narrative history, complete with heroes and villains, visionaries and scoundrels." --James Pressley, Bloomberg
About the Author
Niall Ferguson is one of the world's most renowned historians. He is the author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, High Financier, Civilization, The Great Degeneration, Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, and The Square and the Tower. He is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).
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Top customer reviews
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After recently reading This Time It's Different, I found Mr. Ferguson's style of writing rather engaging, as if I were seeing the threads of a novel come together to a logical conclusion. Carmen and Rogoff's work would be an excellent follow-up to this book if you're actually interested in seeing what happens during and after each type of financial crisis (external default, domestic default, banking crises, currency crashes, and inflation outbursts), but this book gives the reader a push in the right direction.
While readers who want a quick overview of the subject matter will probably leave feeling satisfied, I'm betting a good many others will find their appetite for the subject matter whetted. And that, in my opinion, is what a good author does - they encourage you to keep thinking, long after you put the book down.
In THE ASCENT OF MONEY Niall Ferguson illuminates a universal truth: Everybody is familiar with money but very few truly "know" anything about it. This is interesting and, viewed from the appropriate perspective--frightening.
If you don't believe that, think about the recent global financial collapse.
Adoption of and adaptation to the innovation of credit and debt was as important to civilization as any technological innovation and, even though that's as true today as it was when the ideas first germinated, money, for all its power and majesty is a myth.
The only reason money or its legal representation in the form of stocks and bonds has any value at all is because we choose to believe that's true.
Ferguson paints a vivid historical perspective of what money is, why it's so important and how it has come to define civilization.
More than anything else money is an idea writ large; as transformative as the renaissance and the industrial revolution and more dangerous than the atomic bomb.
It is and always has been representational. In ancient Babylon, money was represented with clay tablets. Today it exists primarily as ones and zeros residing on disk drives scattered around the globe.
Large financial transactions be they personal, national, international or global rarely involve the exchange of anything physical. Certainly pieces of paper come into play but, more often than not, they simply serve as a receipt which represents ones and zeroes writ small on the iron oxide substrate of a hard disk drive.
The power and fragility of the money myth are what enable civilizations to prosper and to go horribly wrong through the creation of bubbles that create enormous wealth when they inflate and dystopian devastation when they burst.
In this book Ferguson helps us to understand why this is so. The key benefit of reading it is, after you have, you truly will "know" a lot more about money than you did before you read it. Read this book and dare to know.
Overall it is more than well worth reading to get some perspective on the role, and value of finance in all economies, ancient and modern. The author pulls no punches when it comes to the pitfalls of laissez-faire finance.
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Now off to review one of His older books to show support for Mr.Read more