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The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Ferguson examines the financial subplot behind some of the major historical powers such as the role of money in ancient Mesopotamia, the denarius in Roman society, and gold and silver in the civilization of the Incas. He is very good in his descriptions of financial families like the Medicis and the Rothchilds, and how they became banking dynasties. Another memorable episode was the rise of Amsterdam as the world's financial center and the center's subsequent shift to London.
History is also filled with financial disasters of which we are well aware today.Read more ›
The objective here is to illuminate the modern economic system by surveying its historical origins, and to a large extent, Ferguson succeeds. The book is targeted to a lay audience and such readers are certain to walk away from a reading with an enhanced understanding of modern economics. The author generally takes the time to explain even elementary concepts in an effective manner, but there are also several maddening instances throughout where he casually references somewhat arcane metrics and complex ideas (e.g., VaR) without any explanation as to their meaning and significance. In this respect, Ferguson can be at times simultaneously too basic for the advanced reader and too complex for the novice.
Never dry reading, the narrative flows freely over its 358 pages, with perhaps the most interesting and edifying chapters being those on the bond, equity, and real estate markets. I especially enjoyed Ferguson's exploration of the five stages of "bubble" (displacement, euphoria, mania, distress, and revulsion).Read more ›
Ferguson celebrates financiers as the source of modern wealth and prosperity. He backs up his claim by a historical examination of the last 500 years. This includes the Italians in the late Middle Ages, as well as the Dutch in the 17th century and Britain's empire success which he partially attributes to the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694.
After setting the historical context Ferguson becomes a pundit on the current global situation. Commenting on those who speculate in the financial markets today Ferguson writes, "When people have a run of luck, they very quickly impute this to their own brilliance. Once you start interpreting your good fortune as your skill, you're very quickly a master of the universe who can never fall. That, of course, is precisely when you fall." He likens financiers to gamblers, which may not be a completely fair connection. Of course there is risk involved in investing, but the primary concern in the financial world is how to limit that risk, react wisely, and be patient.
As Ferguson considers the financial crises his assessment is neither overly positive nor calamitous. "Before this crisis," Ferguson says, "there were people who thought there would never be another recession--that kind of crazy, myopic, unhistorical belief. That was followed in the last month or so by wild panic, as if it's the end of the world."
Ferguson states the obvious when he declares we will all be affected by the current financial mess, and that it will take a while for the market to correct itself.
In short, if you like history more than finance, this is going to be an enjoyable book for you. However, if it's the other way around the details might be suffocating.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book about the evolution of money from metals, to receipts for metal, to promises of metal to just plain promises. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Conrad Nadell
If you want to learn a bit about the history of money, mark my words spend a ducat or two. It will be cash well spent.Published 23 days ago by michael tuttle
For reasons already explained I enjoyed Niall Ferguson's writing very much. However, I had to dock the audio book one star. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rnzn
This book is heavy reading and very long, packed with information. The writing is somewhat dull.Published 1 month ago by David Arp
This book is very insightful if you wish to have a greater understanding of the financial world and the implications it has had in our history and society.Published 1 month ago by juan c bernal abad
This book can not be read fast enough .Understand the past is key to knowing what will happen in the days ahead. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Asa Ferguson
At first, I thought it would be a boring history of money starting with system barter. I was surprised by the research Mr. Ferguson had done. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Koh Kang Wee