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The History of Money
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2011
To me the cover of this book makes it look rather dry and serious. But really, its a highly enjoyable romp through money's past. I appreciate that this sounds dismissive, but its not meant to. The book does lack the intellectual depth and rigour of say, fellow anthroplogist Greaber's 'Debt - the first 5000 years', or economic historian Davies' 'A History of Money'. Nevertheless, if what Weatherford set out to do was write an engaging and readable history in 250 odd pages, then he has succeeded.

The book is divided into three parts. The first 'Classic Cash' grips you with gory detail about exchange in the ancient and medieval world. The second 'Paper Money' gives a bird's eye view of money from around the time of the reformation and through the industrial revolution. The third is 'Electronic Cash' where Weatherford brings us up to date and even speculates on the future a little.

I can't see this book being quoted in academic works, or appearing in too many bibliographies. However, bringing the history of money to a wider public is hugely important, and this book is a noble effort. If you're going to do an economics 101, or any finance related course, it'll put things in perspective for you.

I enjoyed it. And I recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2012
I haven't completely finished this book, but here's what I think so far:

I have always been baffled by money and how it works in the world of finance. I wanted something that would explain to me in a straight forward way, how it arose and how it works. This book did that and more. It showed me how important the development of money has been to man kind - for instance, helping to bring about the Renaissance and helping humans to think in a quantified way to enable science to develop. This book has completely change the way I view money now. I used to think of money as a 'bad' thing, but I know realise that it has done much good for the world and how we have developed as human beings.

I would highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2013
I bought this having read some very positive reviews but I was not prepared for it to be quite such an interesting read! As someone with an interest in numismatics, I found this book to be an easily readable and informative text covering the human history of coinage and economics with some truly surprising discoveries for the reader along the way! If you are an economics student or an experienced numismatic researcher, there are more technical and detailed books out there. For the general public with an interest, this is perfectly pitched.
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on 15 November 2014
This is a good introduction to seeing the place of money in history, which could lead onto so much more in-depth reading. I learnt lots of facts, many of which I was amazed had never even occurred to me to wonder about, such as where and when money was invented, why we started using paper money, how the concept of money is unique to our species and is inextricable from everyday society. Once the author started to talk about the future, that's where the writing began to seem weaker, and had some of the clunkiness of science-fiction written too close to the time to which it applies.
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on 6 August 2014
Very interesting book. Easy to read, i.e. not technical. Covers a broad spectrum of the history of money in many different cultures and countries and makes you realise that the pound in your pocket is only really a virtual currency. If you are interested in how money came about, I would recommend this book as a good starting point.
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on 17 February 2015
Fascinating and full of good information. Engagingly written and not difficult to read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2014
This book now feels dated the narrative ends at the turn of the century. This means it is missing: the recent banking crisis and associated contraction of the money supply; the rise of alternate banking systems like Paypal; and most interestingly the appearance on non governmentally backed crypto currencies such as Bitcoin. Its also a bit light on details throughout. Not bad as a light read but lacking depth and in need of a new edition.
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