The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

Book review by Deane Barker tags: finance, history

An interesting book, but also not what the title would suggest – the subtitle anyway. This was not an all-encompassing history of money and finance.

The book starts with Jewish moneylenders in Venice, and then goes on to discuss the bond market, the stock market, real estate, etc. It’s basically a collection of vignettes/anecdotes, I think? It’s not boring, but I was having trouble putting it together and figure out the big picture from it.

I did come to understand the important of the bond market. I always thought these were just the boring cousins of stocks, but it turns out the bond market is critical because that’s where governments get their money. So, changes in the bond market very much drive public policy, and can even topple regimes.

So, an odd book. Again, not boring, but also not what I expected.

Book Info

Niall Ferguson

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