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Millionaire: The Philanderer, Gambler, and Duelist Who Invented Modern Finance

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 10th 2001 by Simon & Schuster (first published May 1st 2000)
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This is completely the type of biography I wouldn't normally pick up. I bought it on a whim from Amazon, and was REALLY glad I did. Not only is Jon Law incredibly interesting in himself, but the people surrounding him were just as fascinating. The author does a superb job of telling the story without flourish, but keeping it constantly interesting. I absolutely abhor history/biography books that are 50% or more conjecture. It means that you never once can actually believe the author, and so you ...more
Jan 27, 2010 Shannon rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who are interested in money
France in 1700's tries an experiment under the direction of John Law (a Scotsman) with paper money backed by deposited coins (but not completely)...and it all falls apart due to over inflated stock prices and frenzy over making scads of money sounds like just yesterday.
George Cooper
The Moneymaker is a fantastic story, it really should be made into a movie. It will teach you more economics than most economics text books with much less effort. For anyone wanting to understand money and financial instability this is a good place to start.
Great reading the daily train commute I was taking at the time; eighteenth century history is not for everyone, but I found this book fascinating- a glimpse into the world of speculation.
Benedict Reid
It is interesting. But it's not really engaging. And I felt that the details overwhelmed the main thread of the story. To be honest, it read like a publish PhD.
This was a decent read but not the most exciting book.

The general view Gleeson takes of Law is quite positive. This seems to have been a result of gradually changing opinion of Law in various studies of his life over the time from when he lived to now. As far as I understand it, not having read any other sources except wikipedia, Law was basically seen as a villian, clever but thoroughly dishonest, for some time after his life. Then gradually the biographies and studies began to take a more posi
Frank Stein

John Law has to be one of the most fascinating men of the 18th century. The son of self-made goldsmith in Scotland, he rose to be one of the richest people in Europe, then the most powerful man in France, and finally a hated bankrupt chased across the continent for the remainder of his life.

The hidden secret of Law's success, as this book shows, is that after some early gambling losses, he took to studying the new science of probability created by Pascal and others. During this era of obsessive
I suspect that this story loses something if the raeder does not have a grasp on banking and trading. Absent the time frame, one could deduce that nothing has changed. Financial systems still collapse and maverick financiers can still rock governments. One of the author's observations rings true today, and that is:

....people's desire to make as much money for as little effort as possible,their instinct to follow the heard, to hoard when threatened, to panic if confidence is shaken.
This book was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. It covered some very complex topics (finance, politics, etc) with interesting prose, and with the feel of an actual story. It managed to stay away from being dry or boring, and yet is very well researched, true to the facts, and does a good job of staying away from supposition or falsehood.
Londonmabel Mabel
Just wasn't doing it for me--stopped reading.
Lindsay Goto
Well written and interesting to read, this book gives us not only a look into the life of John Law, but also paints a vivid picture of the world that he lived in. I never realized there could be complex economic states in the past that were comparable to the economic ecosystem of today. It seems fitting that the stock market was the brain child of a gambler. Even though some of the economics are beyond me, Gleeson makes Law's world easily accessible.
Bill Churchill
A biography of John Law, founder of the Louisiana Company--France's answer to the England's East India Company. I would hardly call him the father of modern Finance as modern finance had many fathers, (and mothers), over a long period of time. Nevertheless, this is a fine biography of a most interesting charlatan.
La solita bolla speculativa che torna costantemente nel corso del tempo in varie forme ma sempre con le stesse modalità.
Oltre alla solita storia, racconta naturalmente il protagonista John Law, l'inventore dell'economia moderna in tutti i suoi lati positivi e negativi.
Un uomo e il suo sogno e la passione con cui l'ha perseguito e un affresco dell'epoca che concede poco alla fantasia.
Occasionally you find a character from history, that is larger than any fictional character. John Law was such a man. Enjoyed this book, it was easy to follow and gave an engaging account of his life and impact he had on France.

This book is all there is to know about John Law, a Scotsman who came to rule French finances for a brief period under the regency during Louis XV’s minority. And boy did he fuck it up. He takes France through a great financial boom (the first, the author asserts but this can’t be true) and then the rapidly following spectacular, and for Law, fatal, bust.

The author leaves detailed explanations aside and sticks with the historical record and some sweeping assertions. There’s quite a bit about La
Started out fine, then just went downhill.

Did not appreciate the fancy, archaic terms probably intended to enhance the text by alleging authenticity of the era. Served more to detract than enhance--like bumps in the road.
Fascinating story, well told.
Alex K.
Apr 07, 2007 Alex K. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in the study of economics.
Shelves: finished
Millionaire is a historical sketch on an individual who pretty much swindled his life away; but still managed to stay in high ranking society. It is a very fun read, and it does not manage to dive to deep into the actual economics behind what the individual featured founded. (Some charts or equations would of been very useful.) Worth a read if you want to look at economics and get a specific look at one obscure individual out of the trillions of history.
An informative, well written and well researched story of a grand con artist. This chap persuades the French government to allow him to set up a national bank, and he proceeds to swindle everyone else while enriching himself. This is against a background of extreme poverty by the majority of the French population. An insight into the inherent indifference the banking and financial system have towards people. 2008 et al.
A fascinating and eloquently told true story of John Law, a naive Scottish murderer-gambler and economic genius who virtually invented modern money in 18th Century France. First millionaires, financial bubble and hectic stock trading debauchery.
An interesting story of the historical beginnings of international finance. Found this at a really interesting libertarian bookstore in Riverside, CA which has a wide variety of interesting books on history and current events.
Allison O
Really entertaining look at a normally dry (and pretty boring for most) subject - the story of the origin of paper money and idea of the modern stock exchange. The guy was crazy!
Susan Samuel
Excellent book full of fact's I had not come across presented as an entertaining & compelling tale. History pertaining to finance is rarely so entertaining.
There's too much 'Law would have seen...' and 'Katherine Law would have felt...' in this for my liking. I prefer to do the imagination myself.
Knox Bodenstein
Very insightful. It is amazing to see that people have always been acting like sheep!
Mariam Hamzatoof
Aug 15, 2010 Mariam Hamzatoof added it
Shelves: 2010
لوعة جبد هالقصة، كملت شهرين وانا أحاول اخلصهااا
أنصحكم لا تقرونهاا ><
Not bad, but nothing special either. Thankfully a cheapie purchase.
Amazing story in there, just poorly told by Gleeson.
read SOMETHNIG about John Law ... one of the great adventures of human history. This full-sized book doesn't add much to the hundreds of things you can find on the internet for free.
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