- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (4 Jun. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014103548X
- ISBN-13: 978-0141035482
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World Paperback – 4 Jun 2009
|New from||Used from|
Audio Download, Unabridged
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The hardback publication of Niall Ferguson's book was prophetic, but this edition - topped and tailed with a passionate, closely argued call for us to educate ourselves about financial markets - could not be more timely (Tony Clements Telegraph )
Dazzling ... extraordinarily timely (Martin Vander Weyer Spectator )
A whistle-stop tour of the historical events that gave us the financial system we have today ... To Niall Ferguson's list of talents we can now add great timing (Stephanie Flanders Mail on Sunday )
Ferguson is the most brilliant British historian of his generation ... he writes with splendid panache (Times )
Ferguson's powers are on formidable display (Tristram Hunt Observer )
Wonderfully accessible ... Ferguson is spot on (Allister Heath Literary Review )
A fine history ... told with verve and insight (Daily Telegraph )
One of the world's leading historians (Hamish McRae Independent )
`Niall Ferguson has written a fascinating, accessible, and important book that lives up to its rather grandiose title ... It goes from cowrie shells to mortgage-backed securities, and everything in between ... this is an exceptional book.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
As it turned out, some of the ground covered was familiar territory to me, bringing together strands of other books I've read recently, including Findlay and O'Rourke's Power And Plenty, Bentley's A Book Of Numbers, Schama's The American Future and even Lonely Planet Andalucia.
But some of it was new. He gives the origins of ghetto (a geto was a casting, and the original ghetto was in Venice's foundry district); explains that a consol gets its name from "consolidated fund"; and confirms that "dollar" comes from the German "thaler", on which the Spanish based the piece of eight, the world's first truly global currency.
Ferguson is also adept at telling stories: his account of the First Opium War, for example, is probably the clearest I've come across, and in the chapter on housing there is an excellent explanation of how the development of securitisation by Salomons ultimately led to the sub-prime meltdown.
He's not always right.Read more ›
The accounts of various bubbles and crashes are interesting and somewhat comforting - the finance world seems to be phoenix-like in its ability to collapse and re-generate so maybe we are not without hope, however in his description of 'Chimerica' you do wonder if we are at the beginning of a new age, the transfer of power to a new owner...too early to say perhaps?
What is less comforting are the parallels he draws with pre-WW1 complacency that there could never be a global war because countries were too interdependent financially for this to be in anyone's interests, it's a chilling thought as he describes how future historians could look back and see the root causes today, just as current historians do today for WW1.
Overall I'd say this is a great introduction to some complex topics, and even where the explanations were a bit mind-boggling (still don't get interest rate swaps!) this doesn't detract from the flow of the story. Two things would be a great addition to this book - a glossary of some of the financial terms and a selected bibliography for further reading.
Given the lightning blitz which has rocked all corners, streets and avenues of the globe's financial institutions, this is perhaps understandable and even forgivable, almost. Recent news bulletins have featured housing crises, bank runs and a possible recession looming forbiddingly. Given that he presumably had only human resources at his disposal, the author may well have reached for a crystal ball as a source of greater predictability than the global market indicators have been able to offer any of us, himself included, of late.
Returning to our initial point, viz. the sheer scope this work claims to encompass, this reviewer particularly appreciated Ferguson's sweep through the civilisations of the past in this Financial History of the World; thus the Inca's spurning of gold and silver as money, the pre-Christian Mesopotamian/Babylonian credit notes in the form of clay tablets and many more indicators of the development of, and various civilisations' attitudes towards, money and finance in general.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very basic but gives and idea about the development of money. I like though Niall Ferguson's writing style.Published 21 days ago by Zvi Feler
Whether you like Niall fergusson or not, his explanation of how money works, and is used and abused, is fascinating, informative and well-written.Published 8 months ago by Captain Kephart