Tony's Reviews > The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
by Niall Ferguson
by Niall Ferguson
Ferguson, Niall. THE ASCENT OF MONEY: A Financial History of the World. (2008). ****. Ferguson is a Professor History at Harvard, a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has written other popular histories dealing with money and finance, including a history of the House of Rothschild. In this book he offers us a reasoned history of trade, money and the financial institutions and processes which have grown up around them. His introduction gives us a lucid glimpse of the work to come, and he has written a special Afterword just for this paperback edition that sums up his conclusions. Although written as a popular history, and, in most part, simply understood, he managed to lose me in a couple of areas that dealt with modern twists in our world financial systems that involved new types of trading instruments. No matter. I came away with a greater understanding about money and finance than I went in with. There is a compelling desire to quote large sections from the book, but I won’t. I will say that he has made some striking observations about the relationships between war and finance, outlined a series of cognative traps that the average (and not so average) investor falls into, and shares some of the common expressions used by economists to lighten their frustrations. I particularly liked, “Macroeconomists have successfully predicted nine of the last five recessions.” The implications of history are clear, even in our present-day financial situation. He tries to provide some understanding about what is going on today in our world based on what has happened in the past. Some of his forecasts predict a significant change in the role of our English speaking world. Recommended.
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