Warning: session_start(): open(/var/lib/php/session/sess_n6c7ovojjl9uhm0iqearv624fb, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in /var/www/html/includes/config.php on line 34

Warning: session_start(): Failed to read session data: files (path: /var/lib/php/session) in /var/www/html/includes/config.php on line 34
addabook - The Ascent of Money
addabook home timeline gallery
signup or login
The Ascent of Money
A Financial History of the World
Niall Ferguson
read on March 1, 2010

I really don't know what I was expecting out of this book. I think Amazon recommended it to me, and it just seemed like a no-brainer. You know how the very first chapter of any intro econ or finance book (or whatever) is always the easiest assignment of the year, because those few pages are always just some interesting back story and not real meaty? That's pretty much what I figured this book would be. For a while, I was right. But pretty soon it really opened up and became a lot more comprehensive than I expected.

This was much more a history book than a finance one. (The author is a historical writer, not a finance guru). It explains, in surprising detail, the emergence of: cash, bonds, stocks, insurance, and then finance bubbles and housing markets in general. The book was written right before the 2008 disaster really hit the fan (post Bear, pre Lehman), so it offered an interesting perspective that's hard to come across, someone writing about the 2008 "credit crunch" without making reference to the armageddon of that September.

I'm getting off topic, and don't really know how much I even have to say- but the book was great and better than I really expected. There are some really slow parts (ug, is insurance ever exciting?) but for the most part Ferguson focuses on a narrative that kept me engaged and interested, and overall it served as a great general history of finance. There was very little in this book that I already knew going into it, so... great ROI?

Author Bio:

Niall Campbell Ferguson (born 18 April 1964) is a Scottish historian. He is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities. He writes and speaks about international history, economic and financial history, and British and American imperialism. He is known for his provocative, contrarian views. Ferguson's books include Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World and Civilization: The West and the Rest, all of which he has presented as Channel 4 television series. In 2004, he was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. In previous years, he has been a contributing editor for Bloomberg Television and a columnist for Newsweek. Ferguson was an advisor to John McCain's U.S. presidential campaign in 2008, supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and has been a vocal critic of Barack Obama. Ferguson received the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism in 2013.